Life Chronicles

Saying Good-Bye to My Twenties

In twelve short days, my 20s will be a thing of the past. I will officially have lived for three decades. And as I approach this milestone of being granted the gift of 30 years, I have to stop and take a look at what has happened in my life over the last ten years.

Being a pro “reflector,” I knew I would find my hopes for my twenties penned in my journal from ten  years ago – and I was right. The other night, I took my journal from 2007 off the shelf, and read this entry from November 24th, 2007:

“No longer am I like that scared twelve-year old balking at jumping in the adults’ pool – I think I’m ready to take on the persona of someone ‘mature’ and ‘put-together’ – someone bold and daring, yet somewhat reserved and tactful … someone eloquent and confident … someone with charisma and charm. I’m going to set out to become my dream persona […] I just pray that the Lord will make me into a worthwhile woman – someone who touches lives wherever she goes and brings the light of Christ to the hearts of all.”

I laughed a little at my rather dramatic “ideals,” for really the only ideal I should have been desiring to attain was that of becoming like Christ. But it is true that God brings maturity (thankfully!) over the years, and there was so much that would happen in my twenties to mature me that I couldn’t even imagine at the time I wrote that journal entry.

As I reflected on the last ten years, I started pulling pictures from each one of those years, and was actually a little shocked at how evident the change was in me from age 20 to [almost] age 30. Not just in the physical looks, but mostly in the joy and confidence [or lack thereof] in my whole demeanor. To be sure, I was smiling in all the pictures, but there was a difference in my eyes and in my smile that slowly took place as each year passed.

In the first couple years of my 20s – 20 & 21 – I saw a girl who was eager for adventure, but so timid and unsure of herself and what she wanted in life. I saw the fear lurking behind her eyes, the tentative curve of her smile, the search for her purpose.

From ages 22 to 24, I saw a girl who began bubbling over with dreams for her future. Some of those dreams were realistic, and some were not. Some she was working toward in school, and some she made up, pinned far too much expectation to them, and then had her heart broken when they proved not to be true.

And in ages 25 & 26, I saw the toll of one who had wanted something far more than she should have, the breaking of that want, and the slow recovery as God taught her about treasuring Himself far more than earthly desires. When I look at pictures from that time, I see a girl who was quite unhappy, yet tried so hard to keep the happy face on for all to see. I see a pain glazed in eyes that were being taught hard lessons, and the ache for restoration.

It wasn’t until 2015 – when I was 27, turning 28 – that I saw the change, especially in the picture of my 28th birthday. There I saw so much joy overflowing. I saw a girl who had discovered her purpose in Christ, who had uncovered living an intentional life, and who was excited for the future again.

And the picture from the following year, after I turned 29, I saw a confidence and purpose in my eyes like never before. I saw a mouth that had just a hint of a smile – that spoke of deep joys being discovered daily – eyes that held the depth of being matured through 2 ½ difficult years of teaching – and a gleam that looked expectantly to God’s promises in the year to come. It spoke of a heart that had been healed, no matter how deep that girl thought the wound went. And it spoke of a story more beautiful than young 20 could have dreamed up on her own.

I also see in these pictures all the people that God brought into my life throughout my 20s – some friends that I’d had for years before, but so very many friends who were made through the adventures I went on in that decade. They were people that I needed – people who helped me draw closer to God, people who held me when I cried, celebrated with me when exciting news came, and who shared daily bits of life with me. They are some of my dearest friends now, and I feel it is such a blessing and privilege to share life with them [caveat: not all of my dearest friends are featured below – please don’t feel slighted if you are not … I only picked two pictures from each year!].

My next post will be on my hopes and dreams for my thirties … a little “manifesto” if you will, of what I desire life to look like in the next decade. But for tonight, I just want to pause and offer so much thanks up to a God who has always proved Himself faithful, and who has continued to draw me closer to His side over the last ten years. Only He can take what is unworthy and call it worthy because of the work of the cross. And for that, I will forever praise His name.

20a
March 2008, shortly after turning 20 – playing dress-up with my niece.
20b
May 2008, age 20 – One of the best choices of my life – going to Capernwray Bible School in England for two months – and meeting my dear Karli Rae.
21a
December 2008 – Turning 21
21b
September 2009, age 21 – Got to stand by my dear childhood friend, Kimi, on her wedding day.
21c
September 2009, age 21 – Being bridesmaids together was just one more of the “Adventures of Lydia & Kelsey” that we have now written for 20 years!
22a
December 2009, shortly after turning 22.
22b
July 2010, age 22 – Became their HYPE Adviser at the end of 2009, and I had no idea how my life would change because of it. That summer when we went to San Diego for the CYT Expo – and Disneyland – was one of the best summers I’d ever had.
23a
December 2010 – Right around turning 23.
23b
August 2011, age 23 – Went to Russia to teach English with my church, and had my heart absolutely captivated by these dear Russians. Also made a very dear friend in Emily.
24a
December 1, 2011 – Turned 24, and did a photoshoot with these hilarious & silly friends. That was the fall that I started going to Eastern, and the four of us started every day by walking as a “herd” to the Theater class we were all in.
24b
August 2012, age 24 – Dream come true – I got to play Tzeitel in CCT’s “Fiddler on the Roof” with girls who already felt like sisters, Amy & Maggie.
25a
December 1, 2012 – Turned 25 on a HYPE Retreat … couldn’t have asked for a better way to feel blessed and full with these amazing teenagers.
25b
June 2013, age 25 – Finished out a year lived on campus, and I couldn’t have done it without this dear friend, Danika. Our adventures shared together were exactly what I always hoped for in living on campus.
26a
December 2013 – Turned 26 surrounded by these dear ladies who supported me so much in my 20s.
26c
July 2014, age 26 – Got to stand by my dear Maggie’s side on her wedding day.
26b
September 2014, age 26 – Tired eyes, but a happy heart from getting hired as a first-year teacher the day before school started. Fifth grade was about to steal my heart.
27a
December 2014 – Shortly after turning 27, spent New Year’s Eve with lovely friends from church.
27b
May 2015, age 27 – Traveled to Washington, D.C. for the first time to see my sister, Vicki, graduate from law school! So incredibly proud of her.
28a
December 1, 2015 – Turned 28. And my heart spilled over with such joy for this gift of life.
28b
June 2016, age 28 – CYT Expo 2016 – “Believe in You” – Spent some beautiful time with my dear CYT friends, Sarah and Jessica, who always, always believe in me & encourage me.
29a
January 1, 2017, shortly after turning 29.

 

29b
May 2017, age 29 – Another dream came true – that of directing my very own CYT show. Got to direct CYT North Idaho’s “Snow White & the Prince” with this sweet girl, Charlsie, as choreographer. What a beautiful gift it was to share in that journey.

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