I turned 40 today.
Know what I’m doing for my birthday? Laundry. I’m doing laundry.
I woke up like every other morning, thanked God for the day, gave our almost 1 year old son a bottle and snuggles, changed a dirty diaper and then stumbled into the kitchen to start breakfast.
After my breakfast of eggs and bacon and my son’s of egg and waffle, I put a load of towels in the washer and finished off the store bought banana pudding in the fridge. I have no plans to do anything special today. I don’t even plan to take a shower and get dressed. I have plans to finish laundry and get some cleaning done today. That’s my 40.
I remember turning 30 and thinking, “Well, this isn’t so bad,” and then a few days later my body started aching and hurting in ways it never had. The good thing about 40 is I feel the same today as I did yesterday.
I set a goal when I turned 37 to be in the best possible physical health by the time I was 40. I’m not exactly where I want to be, but at 37, that plan did not involve becoming pregnant at 38, giving birth at 39 and spending the past year not sleeping taking care of our son. He turns one in a couple weeks on the 24th. Me, my husband and our son all have February birthdays so this is, and will always be going forward, a celebratory month.
As a little girl, I had this dream that when I grow up I was going to be married, live in a 3 story house (blue with white shutters), white picket fenced in yard, the greenest grass one has ever seen, a white dog house with shingle roof and a big happy dog, two kids – twins – a boy and a girl named Alexander and Alexandria, the sun would always shine and a light breeze constantly blowing across the yard moving the tire swing ever so gently that hung from the single giant shade tree in the yard. I may be living in alternate universe now but some of those things came true in their own way…
In my teens, 40 seemed really old to me. For that matter, 21 seemed YEARS away. In my late teens and early 20’s however, the way my life was going, I never thought much of 40 because I honestly didn’t know if I would make it that far. My life was a mess and I had a hard time seeing past the end of my nose let alone what was in my future.
I was 28 when I rededicated my life to Christ and then later that year got married. There’s been a lot of work put in these past 12 years to get where I am mentally and spiritually. I have two college degrees (Bachelors in Science and Associates in Theology) and I’m a licensed insurance agent. I had accomplished things in my professional career by the time I was 35 that most aim to accomplish by retirement.
I was told in my early 20’s that I could, more than likely, never have kids. Well, ha! At 38, fresh out of work because the company I was Vice President of closed unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant. I did the math. Pregnant while I’m 38, give birth at 39 and have an almost 1 year old at 40.
I see how God carefully orchestrated all of this now. He knows me so well. At age 38 I had already had my career and accomplished much. I knew a big change was coming and could feel it in my spirit, but no clue just how much and what kind of change. I never thought I would switch gears to stay at home and take care of our son. My husband never thought he would be the sole provider financially in our household. The last three years have turned our lives upside down and inside out.
I was leaning towards switching careers at the time. I was wanting to pursue my life long dream of becoming a published author but I had no clue how to do that. Bills loomed and time was short. We thought I would go back to work once our son was born but one look at his face and I knew I could not entrust his care and the majority of his raising to a daycare facility. So, we put our faith in God.
This past year has been extremely financially difficult. Three different times they were coming to take our cars. But God. Many bills have gone unpaid and to debt collectors, but we are still believing God. We live in the same small (like 700 square feet), 2 bedroom house (where one bedroom is storage because there is no room for the stuff any where else) we were hoping to be out of years ago and have had to get very creative as to how to raise a baby, now almost a toddler, in such tight spaces. But God. There were days I had two notches of gas in the tank and no income soon enough to put any more gas in there. But God. Our son had digestive issues and required formula that costs $40 a can and going thru 2 to 2.5 cans a week. But God. There were days I opened the refrigerator door and there were pretty much just condiments hanging out in there. But God. Somehow, even without me working, we owed on taxes last year. But God. We used up every bit of savings and retirement to our name to survive the past year and a half. But God. Every day it has taken faith. Every day it has taken trusting God. Every day. Every minute. Every second.
Health wise it’s been difficult. Two different times for long lengths of time, my lower back went out to the point I found myself stuck in the floor, one time unable to move, with a 5 month old to care for (my husband was out of town at the time). I was dealing with bronchitis for a couple of months after an upper respiratory infection, healing from another one right now. Sleeping patterns have been all over the place with a colicky newborn with reflux issues. Almost a year and we finally get full nights of sleep on most nights.
We still aren’t completely back on our feet but getting there. God always provides. He always makes a way. Although, I did have many dark moments over the past year. I had many candid conversations with God because I had a hard time understanding how he could send a child into our lives and everything else seemed to fall apart. I was tired and pushed further than I ever thought I could be pushed. There were days the only thing that got me out of bed was my responsibilities as a new mother. I had no idea what I was doing other than putting one foot in front of the other. Some days are still just that.
We never shared openly, specifically, how difficult things had become and I’m debating right now as I type this if it’s too soon to be sharing now. I don’t believe so though. I believe someone needs some encouragement. I look back over the past two years and see how God provided and how our situation actually strengthened our faith and trust in Him. It has by no means been an easy road to walk but there is a purpose in it.
We are in the beginning stages of establishing a ministry God put on our hearts years ago. In this, we MUST rely on Him 100%, no wavering. These past couple of years have conditioned us to do just that. What satan meant for harm, God made good on. Those times when the refrigerator was empty, someone would buy us groceries not knowing how empty it was. The times the gas gauge was bouncing on “E” when we hit the church parking lot, someone would put a gas gift card in our hand after service. It was what got us home from church on more than one occasion. Our son has never went without his formula, or clothes that fit, or wipes to clean him or diapers to keep him dry, or toys to help him learn. We haven’t gone without. Because God.
This is nothing like I imagined my life at 40 to be like but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I am nothing without God. I am nothing without Jesus. I don’t know if I have cried more this year in frustration at our situation or in the times when God showed up and showed out.
He put a Word in my heart at the end of 2018 that the best is yet to come. I don’t doubt. We have a lot of kingdom work ahead of us to care for the ministry that He has entrusted to us. I don’t believe I will ever go back to my previous career or a regular 9-5 job. I know I’m called to be the best mother I can to our son and raise him in the way he should go. We plan to homeschool as well. The ministry is a big undertaking and I am still whittling away on my first full book and pursuing that dream which will come to pass.
I’ve heard it said by a believer I respect that you should always be talking about 3 things, not necessarily with these exact words: what you’ve accomplished, what you are working on accomplishing, what you are going to accomplish.
I’ve accomplished quite a bit in my short 40 years here on earth. I’ve overcome sexual abuse and addictions, I’ve obtained two degrees, landed the best husband I could ever ask for, I’ve won design awards, survived losing my dad, worked my way up to Vice-President of a company, I’ve published four Bible workbooks and a poetry collection, I’ve birthed the most beautiful baby boy. I’ve kept my faith.
I’m working on finishing a 365 day devotional as well as my first book based on my life testimony and we are working on establishing our Unreachables ministry to reach a niche of people who are overlooked and let them know they are loved too.
Finally, what do I hope to accomplish? I have a new short term goal of being in the best possible health by my next birthday. I plan to finish up the book and start on the next along with publishing the devotional. We hope to be traveling for ministry with speaking engagements in a few years. We are believing to be in a spacious house for our son to grow up in and a fenced in yard so he can get a dog, soon. We plan to be debt free and financially able to sow into more ministries that we are in agreement with to help further the kingdom of God. Those are just a few things.
So, 40. Let’s do this. The best is yet to come.
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.