February 17, 2014

On turning 40...

I always wondered how I would feel when it was my turn to put a "4" at the front of my age. This picture about sums it up.

I had a weird silent crisis of fear about three years ago, which I told no one about because it seemed so silly. For about four months I was constantly thinking about getting old. I was brooding over the fact that my body would keep aging no matter how I felt about that fact, and that there would come a day when younger people wouldn't consider me to be someone they could relate to. It coincided with the arrival of some definitely noticeable lines on my face (kids, wear your sunscreen!), a few persistent grey hairs which did not (and still don't) have my permission to reside on my head, and an undeniable sag to my under eye area that somehow seems to fill with fluid every night while I sleep. (I've finally decided it must be fluid from the part of my brain that is responsible for remembering things. If not then that goes somewhere every day!) Some mornings I would wake up and the first glance in the mirror would give me a start. WHO is THAT?

These things are vanity, but all the same they are visible reminders of an inescapable future. My brain will still feel young, but my body won't. I will still think I can shop in the juniors' department, but I can't.

The Bible had a lot of helpful tidbits during this time of inward despondency. James 4:14 reminded me, "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." I KNOW!! And who could forget Ecclesiastes 12:1? "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, 'I find no pleasure in them.'"

Don't get me wrong, as a believer I know my future is secure beyond the mortal realm. I've never doubted for a second where I will go when I die, or that I will get the new body I have been promised. It was how my life would be gradually changing here in the physical world, without my consent, that had me introspective and gloomy.

Then slowly, I began to move past it. I believe the Lord "lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." (Psalm 40:2) This verse generally seems to apply to sin, but I think it can also work for times when we get in a funk and He's the only one who can hoist us out of it. The enemy is always looking for ways to bring us down.

So, here on the eve of my 40th birthday, I'm happy to report that I am jubilant about being halfway to officially old. (80 is the new 70!) Man, I am BLESSED! Just look at these if you don't believe it:

The absolute LOVES of my life!

The place where people- those whom God made in His image, loves with a love we can only hope and pray to emulate, and died for- gather to draw close to Him and have some serious FUN!

My happy place!!

The beautiful backdrop I get to live my earthly existence against. (Delightful with or without snow.)

These are the pictures I had readily available since I took them this past week, but I could easily fill up 100 blog posts with pictures of blessings.

There are still mornings I lament a bit over the changes age and gravity are making in me, dismissing it as vanity even as I reach for the third product in my growing "bag of tricks" to attempt to diminish the under eye bags or minimize the appearance of wrinkles. But my heart is peaceful, happy, and full. Bring on decade number four!

Oh, and Mom and Dad- Happy 40th anniversary of the day you guys became parents!