In just nine days I will turn 40. Forty!
Even though I have been mentally preparing for this monumental birthday, there is still something about this particular age that I am having trouble wrapping my mind around. There have been so many times in my life when I have realized that I don’t feel a particular age, but rather I just feel “Lindsey”. I feel this sense of who I am and who I was created to be, and I see the purpose that has been assigned to me, but this year is different.
I have been trying to figure out why that is. It is not the number. It is not the fact that I have reached an age that I remember my parents being. It is this: the last half of thirty-eight and all of thirty-nine have been some of the hardest, loneliest months of my life.
I have felt uprooted, unknown, unseen, and that has made me question who I am and what I am doing.
Sometimes people refer to this as a funk. I’ll admit that at times in the last eighteen months, I have wanted to fight my way out of it.
“It” was not my choice.
“It” was not part of the plan.
“It” interrupted me.
That is exactly what I have been living: a life interrupted. Nothing about work, church, friendship, marriage, parenting, teaching, or following Jesus has been the way I expected it to be, and yet as hard as this season has been, I can see a messy beauty that is surprising.
This year, I was given a group of students that I could have never understood, if God had not first given me a child that doesn’t fit in the box.
And if I had not been blessed with my sweet fourth graders this year, I would not be so determined to fight for and help my own children to grow and thrive with the gifts and DNA that God gave them.
If I had not had my students and my own children, I would have never begun to question the how or why of what I am teaching, nor explore what is most developmentally valuable — reading, playing, and quality time with family; not homework.
If I had not had the precious students I had, I would have never been blessed with friendships that developed out of the most amazing assistant and incredible behavioral interventionist. The best friendships are always designed by Him.
If family life had not been so busy, I would never have rediscovered my love of reading, writing, quilting, or quality time with my favorite people.
If I had not felt so lonely, I would not have been driven into the arms of my heavenly Father the way that I have. I would not have spent so much time worshiping, and when we worship we emphasize His greatness — His glory. We magnify and our problems are diminished in light of His greatness, even as He holds our broken pieces.
This funk hasn’t been fun, but it has been a part of God’s plan … to draw me closer to His side … to remind me that He is in the peaceful moments as well as in the storms of life. Every little and not so little thing, He is using to bring me closer to the person He created me to be. I can rest knowing that He always takes care of the big things, and He is still in the business of working all things together for my good — for your good — and for His glory.
So forty is unnerving, but it is a gift. I know myself better and trust my Jesus in a way I never have before. I know the things that make me happy and what is most valuable, and I am trying to live in such a way that if today were my last day on this earth, it would end with no regrets.
“To love God, love people — that’s the center of the mark.”