Today is my 40th Birthday. We all approach these milestones in our own way. For some strange reason, I’m excited! I remember when my sweet sister-in-law Missy turned 30. She approached it with the attitude of happiness at the place she was in life, having achieved her goals of college graduation, teaching, marriage and children. Her contentment still comes to mind as I celebrate another milestone.
As I look ahead to the next ten years, I’m excited about parts of my life that have yet to unfold. It is possible that I could see our daughters graduate high school, begin college, pursue their dreams, and maybe even meet the men who will one day be our sons-in-law in the next ten years. I vow that I will spend great times doing life with some wonderful friends. I feel hopeful that I will see a book published. I’m excited to see what adventures my husband pursues.
I’m reminded as I look to the future of what God has done in my past. When I turned 30, we had just come through our first military deployment as a family when Brett served in Bosnia. Meredith was three and Emma was one, and I was a working mother. Brett was a sergeant at the BGPD and still serving in the Kentucky National Guard. We were living in the home we built for forever.
Since then, most of those circumstances have changed. I have been free to “retire” to become the homemaker I always wanted to be. We experienced our second military deployment to Afghanistan where Brett was critically injured. Brett has retired from the BGPD and the military. We have relocated to Louisville for him to work in a fulfilling job in law enforcement. We have made new friends. We have lost people who were precious to us and seen lives joined in marriage and new lives born. And to beat it all, our children will celebrate new chapters this year as they begin high school and middle school.
As I look back on all the good, all the scary, all the excitement, and all the sadness, it reminds me of what God has done in my life. Today, I got to the part in Kelly Minter’s study of Nehemiah where the people of Jerusalem brought back their custom of the Festival of Shelters. They were supposed to build tents in their yards or on their rooftops and live in them for a week while they celebrated their ancestors’ deliverance from Egypt. It was a tangible reminder of the fact that the Israelites had lived in those tents for 40 years as they fled Egypt and made their way to the Promised Land.
During this time, God delivered their ancestors literally out of Egypt, from their Egyptian pursuers at the Red Sea, from hunger in the wilderness with the provision of manna, and in countless other ways, but they were quick to forget just like me. Continually, they picked back up their worries and their what-ifs and their desperation.
As I reflect back over the course of my first 40 years, I see the evidence of great blessings that I had very little to do with. I realize that many of these were the result of other people’s prayers for me. I know that this husband who respects my opinions, these healthy children, this life of plenty, this fellowship of believers, this country of opportunity, are all the answers to the prayers of my mother, my grandmothers, my aunts, and all who came before.
It should come as no surprise that this festival brought great joy to the people when they were caused to remember what God had done for generations past. Looking back at the last ten years reminds me that God has my life all figured out. His ways are better than mine. I can’t begin to imagine what is in store for my future but I’m excited to live the chapter He writes next!
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!” Ephesians 3:20-21