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This is 40

I recently had a big birthday…40. However, it wasn’t “big” in the traditional ways we think of celebrating a 40th. I didn’t go on a fancy vacation. I didn’t ring in forty with a big "Instagram" worthy bash or a surprise party planned for me. I rang in forty quiet, low key, and with the people who have known me best and most in the peaks and valleys of life. My family and my kids.

Forty finds me humbly reminding myself God is not done refining, and using and our tender heart journeys for a greater purpose. After all, there is great significance in the number 40 in preparing for God working and moving. Jesus fasted 40 days and 40 nights. Moses stayed on Mount Sinai for 40 days. The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years, God flooded the earth for 40 days. Goliath was mocked for 40 days. In fact, doing some research I found in the Bible 40 is mentioned 146 (or 149) times depending on the translation. In the Bible and in faith 40 has symbolism of representing testing, trials and triumph.

For me 40 certainly has brought trials and triumphs of rebuilding, full time single motherhood, opening up to love, healing and advocacy after divorce, fighting for your worth, not letting the enemy win in pain, recalibrating continually on being unrelenting and uncompromising on not allowing toxic to gain a foothold, and a continued work in progress of recognizing what it means to love and live worthy of purpose. 40 finds me realizing I love big, wholeheartedly, and with vulnerability, and that will leave opportunity to be hurt, but it also leaves room for so much real depth, empathy and connection. 40 is blessing in advocating for my kids. 40 brings resolve, fighting for peace, and continuing on my humble journey of healing and embracing the fight to flourish even in the hard, bent and sharp edges life can bring. 40 is honoring and recognizing what was, staring face to face with compromises that can’t keep being made, having no time to waste for what is to come, and being reminded where the Lord has brought me and been alongside side me and fighting before me, to not lose ground and hope now. 40 is knowing through hard earned experience, no matter how much hurt, disappointment, and others' choices feel they will never stop inflicting pain, you get to choose what you do with it and what choices you make. That a good life doesn’t mean void of hard. 40 is still knowing you have gained hard earned wisdom but still have so much growth and learning to do. 40 is setting boundaries. 40 is saying painful but necessary goodbyes and pivoting. 40 is new opportunities in career. 40 is never growing stagnant. 40 is knowing no matter what happens, where this goes, God has good for me. 40 is finding my way back but never looking back. 40 is letting go of where you thought you would be and looking for the testimony and richness in where you are. 40 is knowing there is no shame in light. 40 is single but knowing myself and my worth better than I ever have, even when it means taking hard deep looks at what I need to let go and what I need to be better at embracing. 40 means promising myself not to erode myself in giving to others. 40 means selflessly loving from a place of health. 40 is solid friendships of depth, real and at times long distance. 40 means knowing love should be steady, assured and find its lifeline in trust always. 40 is knowing love abounds in discernment and depth of insight. 40 is allowing your passion to be unbridled, but use your head, and test your feelings with a steady strong backbone. 40 is trusting your gut. 40 is understanding that discerning the holy spirit versus the enemy takes daily commitment to narrow in and drown out noise. 40 is choosing to love the renewed you that you are becoming. 40 ushers in the continued flourish anyway. 40 is authentically walking the walk as a mom always, and owning your flails in a way that teaches your kids not in shame but in the power of His grace and forgiveness. 40 is knowing you now have to stretch after workouts, take is slower at times and knowing your limits is not weak but brings contentment. 40 is holding the dichotomy of life; that you can still be hurting, learning, imperfect and growing while healing, leading, pausing, breathing in stillness, and overcoming and thriving. 40 is knowing the test, trial and storm does not leave us fragile it leaves us stronger if we choose patience, humility, obedience and trusting the Lord in the process. 40 is knowing true peace and love are possible. 40 is knowing the rich beauty in the bittersweet. 40 as my brother says, “ is the story not nearly being done yet.”

I’m not sure what all is leading you up to your 40, or what has been on the other side of 40 for you. But I know our God, your Lord, my Savior doesn’t waste a thing in your journey. I pray that he fills me and you with insight to expand our faith, strengthen our perseverance to live for something greater than ourselves, and deepen our hearts for Jesus, to love with more discernment and steward our hearts and the hearts around us well, to ultimately point to Him and his beautiful mosaic of a plan. I have been studying Philippians and it has been so timely for me in this chapter, and I long for a Paul’s perception in life. His steadfast, selfless, uncompromising belief that suffering is a gift, if it brings us closer to knowing Christ. His ability to have vision past his current circumstance. I leave you with Paul’s words as a prayer over your heart and life today…”There is far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There’s also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting.” Philippians 1:28-30 MSG.

Paul writes to the believers in Phillipi while imprisoned “ So this is my prayer; that Your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately…Live a lover’s life of circumspect and exemplar, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians1: 9-11, MSG)

I don’t know what your heart is struggling with or the strength of it's beat today, or what it may need to rest in, but keep giving it to Him to mold, soothe, refine and use for a much greater purpose than you could strive for or accomplish on your own. For a work in you that will long outlive any milestone birthday, and not only heal your heart, but reach others for Him. Paul reminds us He started a good work in us and will carry it to completion. So at 40, I believe He is just getting started and I choose to look outward. Out from my own wrestling heart to yours. We are not done.


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