So Let it Grow…Nov 22, 2018
My oldest sister, Darya, is 11 years older than me. She likes to tell people I’m adopted so I’m taking this opportunity to let the world know our age difference. You’re welcome sis. There is a point for me saying it though. I remember vividly when she turned 30. I was only 19. I thought she was dinosaur. 30 was ancient. I laugh now thinking back at how perspectives change.
This weekend, I overheard my daughter and niece having a conversation about someone being “so old.” I interrupted to ask the age of said person. The answer? 50. I shook my head. These young bucks just don’t know. They say that youth is wasted on the young and now I know why.
Today is my birthday. I’m 38 years young. I’m in better shape mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally than I’ve ever been. I’ve found my purpose this year in helping people get healthy so they can do their best kingdom work. I’m a better woman, mother, friend, sister and wife. At 38 (an age I once thought was not too far from the retirement home), I’m just getting started. None of it has anything to do with me. It’s all God.
By becoming a mom at 21, motherhood became my identity. I put myself on the backburner to work and provide for my daughter. At 30 I got married and my identity expanded to include being a wife. I had my youngest daughter as I was turning 33 and fell even deeper into mom and wife mode. Don’t get me wrong, these roles and the people that define me as them have been my greatest blessings. I don’t take them for granted. But I lost myself along the way. Or maybe I never discovered the woman outside of those definitions.
Then I went through a series of trials in the last two years that completely broke me down. The loss of two jobs in less than two years. I had never lost one job in my entire career, let alone two in 13 months. Year seven of marriage which is notoriously rough. The beginning of the high school years for my oldest with all its bumps and bruises. A 3-year old who challenged me EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. (Don’t believe what they say, the terrible twos ain’t got nothing on the trying threes).
I was completely overwhelmed. Anxiety had me in a chokehold. It wasn’t until I didn’t know how I was going to make it through another day that I realized I had no choice but to put my complete trust in God. It was either that or go crazy. And crazy wasn’t an option because I had two girls I needed to raise. God already had it worked out when he placed them in my life. He knew they would be what kept me from giving up before I got my breakthrough (I could shout right there).
At my lowest point of despair, I realized that He was the only one that could save me. As I started to completely lean on Him, I became surrounded by his perfect peace. My perspective shifted. I started to look at my problems as opportunities for God to show up big. I began to realize that in him I could have joy despite my circumstances. Any issues or challenges I had, I didn’t need to solve on my own. I could depend on him. All I had to do was trust and walk in faith that it was done.
In that process, I discovered my true identity. Through Jesus I was:
- Chosen (John 15:16)
- Handpicked (Ephesians 1:3-4)
- Irreplaceable (1 Thessalonians 1:4)
- Loved beyond compare (Romans 5:8)
- Forgiven (Ephesians 1:7)
- Secure for all eternity (John 10:28-29)
- Free (Galatians 5:1)
- Precious (Isaiah 43:4)
The value in that valley was that I found myself. My life didn’t suddenly become perfect. God didn’t change the challenges that I had in my life, He changed me. And that, my friends, is the entire point of having a relationship with Jesus – to transform us into more.
For anyone reading this that is going through rough times. Don’t give up because…
When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. – James:1:2-4
This birthday is extra special because I get to share that message with you. This is 38.
In celebration of my birthday I’m sharing one of my all-time favorite vegan recipes, This Can’t Be Vegan Red Beans and Rice. I hope ya’ll enjoy it!
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