The first half of my twenties were filled with adventure, memories, laughter, and a good share of angst that culminated in a devastating heartbreak right before my 25th birthday.
The second half of my twenties saw healing, growth, and an embracing of who God had made me to be. My 30th birthday was a beautiful celebration of all that God had done in my life and a looking forward with hope to the next decade of my life.
And then came the early thirties—bringing the hardest years of my life to date. There were sweet moments in those years, too, and accomplishments that I was proud of, but the challenges were achingly more difficult than I’d ever expected.
So now I come to my mid-thirties. Smack-dab in the middle of this decade, and I’m praying to start re-building again like I did in my late twenties. Specifically, I hope I can start building with courage again—that which I feel like I lost a lot of in the past year.
I pray that I would be able to define my life according to God’s values and live boldly into those convictions.
I pray that I would be able to face my fears and trust the Lord to walk me through them.
I pray that I would seek the face of my God more deeply every day so that his opinion is the most important to me.
I pray that I would value truth over being liked.
I pray that I would have the discipline to accomplish my goals.
I pray that I would allow myself to dream again and take risks to accomplish those dreams.
I pray that discouragement would not defeat me, but that it would lead to a quiet building of resilience deep within me.
I pray that I would not rely on my own strength or wisdom, but that I would rely on God’s instead.
I pray that I would understand more deeply how to use my gifts to accomplish Kingdom purposes.
I pray that I would be willing to make sacrifices to pursue those purposes.
Recently, I read 2 Samuel 7 where God makes a covenant with David after he becomes king. And David responds with, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?” (2 Samuel 7:18)
I felt the same way when I read this. Who am I, Lord, that you have brought me thus far in my life? I have a myriad of blessings, and I don’t deserve a single one. Too often I can look at my life with discontent as I focus on all the things I don’t have. But when I shift my perspective to an attitude of wonder, I am left awestruck at all the Lord has given me.
I felt this most clearly when I was in Venice, amazed at the beauty around every corner we turned. I was almost moved to tears as I sat in the boat moving down the Grand Canal, in awe that God would give me this gift—of seeing things I’d always dreamed of seeing, of feeling his love lavished on me, of knowing I was right where he wanted me to be.
And this quiet contentment and security in the love of God will give me the strength to start rebuilding in the next year. It anchors me in a hope and stability outside of myself. I know I’m not strong enough on my own, but I know that I serve a God who is the most powerful. He will always provide the strength for that which he calls his children to do.
So dear 35, whatever you bring my way, may I be ready to face it with courage. May I lay down my expectations and merely be faithful and obedient each new day. And may I build with this meager life of mine a sweet, sweet offering to the King of Kings.