It’s comical how I used to think 30 was the ultimate “grown” age.
I thought 30-year-olds were parents, they owned houses, and they had their careers figured out. I thought worldly stability arrived just like that, as the clock hands turned and the calendars changed.
It’s funny now, honestly. The people who managed to get all those things jammed into their 20’s were pretty much winging it half the time. Heck, we’re all still winging it. I find myself thankful for the experiences I gained while I didn’t have all my roots in place, and while my world was in my own brand of chaos. Don’t we all have our own chaos? Yeah, pretty much.
I turned 20 with a very broken heart, and my 20’s started on a downhill tumble/vortex of poor decisions. I felt lonely, even with good friends, and I felt a void that God would later show me was for Him.
I turned 21 in downtown Denton, and I had an orange spray tan and a dress I’d never, ever wear out now. My hair was super blonde and if I named the places I went I’d give my age away (ha) because they don’t even exist anymore. Everything changed. If you can remember the way high school shut its doors and booted you out, it’s the same with college. I was about to figure that out, and I was about to make decisions from that pain. Goodness, if I could teleport to this birthday, I’d change history, but they say ‘no pain, no gain’ right? God, I lived that.
I turned 22 in downtown Austin, and my goodness, was I sad! I was pretty devastated. I had way too much to drink, and there were parts of that night that I do not remember. The scary part: I think there was something put in my first drink. I can’t go back and warn myself and spare myself the confusion and the awful sickness I felt, but let it be a lesson someone might learn in this blog. Be careful. There are people in these places who will try to take advantage of someone, and it doesn’t even matter that it’s their birthday.
I turned 23 in Temple, Texas. I was trying to be happy but my nightmares were bad, and I needed counseling! I was bottling up my feelings, and I felt like a failure. Little did I know that 23 would be a huge year of breakthrough! God was about to start working in my life in supernatural ways, or rather, I started to notice Him. He’s done it all along, I just didn’t have the eyes to see. Heads up: if you’re struggling emotionally, GO TO COUNSELING. There is zero shame in that. Life gets complicated sometimes. Mistakes build up. You gotta do what you gotta do, and you know what you gotta do? You gotta be free, and you gotta grieve your grief, and you must not let anything or anyone mute you in your pain. For me, that meant weeping in my car in the public library parking lot, and writing down my sad prayers. God moved in a way I didn’t expect, and changed everything.
I turned 24 also in Temple, Texas, but oh honey… I knew. I knew it’d be my last birthday there. I was still figuring out how to be brave and walk in my story. I was discerning where God wanted me to go. I was still trying to hold on to things I knew would never work. I should have been single this ENTIRE year but hahaha good luck telling me that. Needless to say, I didn’t know what I wanted. I should have also been more careful with my finances this year, and not trusted people quite so easily. I let people take advantage of my finances, and I paid for it, literally, for the rest of my 20’s! Up until 29, actually. The minute you feel like you’re financially secure, you have this tendency to purchase things for yourself or for people that you couldn’t and wouldn’t ever before. DUMB. Don’t do that. Learn from 24-year-old me, for Pete’s sake. Save your money. Pay your debts while they’re itty bitty baby school debts, if you can help it. I could have done that but I didn’t have the discipline or the wisdom. Something good about 24 is that I was super brave. I was brave enough to sell all my things and give up my lifestyle and go on a trip around the world for Jesus. Talk about a comeback story.
I turned 25 in Thailand, and it was glorious. My first truly happy birthday of my 20’s took 5 years to arrive. I was surrounded and loved. I was deep in the Word. I was a little bit confused already and 25 confused me quite a bit. My heart was a hot mess, trying to discern between what my peers were saying and what God was saying. Turns out they were not in unison, surprise! It took years to unwind all the soul ties I made that year. It was by far the most spiritual growth I ever had, and God taught me that I had a story to tell for His Kingdom. I came home and realized I was gonna move to Georgia, and that’s where I turned all my next years.
My 26th birthday was kind of sad. I felt like people didn’t love me, and I felt rejected. It took a sweet friend’s gesture to calm me down and give me space to process. I wasn’t used to feeling rejected with 25 roommates but I somehow managed. God made it rain and we had a dance party, and all of a sudden everything was okay. 26 was a good year of growth. I made roots and then I unmade them. I started working in healthcare again and paying off debt. 26 was hard work.
If 26 was hard work, 27 was like a steamroller. I put in a lot of hours, I did ministry school, and I moved to Atlanta. And God blessed me oh so much that year, with bravery to make bold decisions. There was blessing, and forgiveness, and grace. There was rage, also, mad rage. The kind of rage where your tears are so hot they scald your cheeks on the way down, rage. From that rage, I went back to my happy place, Thailand, and then I went red. I dyed my hair red, and I did not look back. I’d like to think that from then on, when I worship, I look like a flame in the wind.
28 was grand. I turned this age serving in a prophetic team for Leif Hetland. It was a sweet surprise and honor to have my birthday weekend collide with the mission trip to Alabama. I met people there that I still keep up with and greatly love. Oh and Buddy made cookies that spelled out happy birthday, and got me the hugest monkey card and a Braves shirt, along with all kinds of sweet little gifts. His family celebrated me, and gave me cards and food. It was the first birthday in a long time where I felt surrounded again. 28 was a powerful year.
29 didn’t disappoint me haha. It’s been a year of quietly growing in wisdom and trying to believe my eyes. I got debt-free! God’s harvest is right in front of me, and I can see the fruit for the first time. Not as much faith required when you can see everything, but so much praise is due. I bring that today. Praise on praise on praise.
May 30 be a year that ushers in a decade of JOY. A decade of promise fulfilled. I pray I continue to lift UP my soon-to-be husband, and fill my home with prayer and praise. I pray as our family grows in this decade, that I remember to be thankful and to put the Prince of Peace on His throne in my heart.
God is good and kind, and He remembers my sin no more. Forward is a good direction with Him. Forward sounds good.