I turned 38 this week.

According to Facebook, I'm only 18, and it won't let me change my settings, so 20 years younger I shall forever be in my little virtual world online.  I think I would take 38 over 18 any day, though. These past twenty years - they have been rich...  Marriage and moves...and babies and ministry..

20 years of living and of Life...
Journey and Joy...and heartache and growth.
Lessons learning...and growing into the woman, wife, and Mama who I'm supposed to be....

It's good.  All of it.
And I wouldn't change a thing.
One of my new favorite quotes...
I have this mental bucket list of things I'd like to do or see - things I'd like to live and experience before I die.  I'll add to them or check them off as I see fit.  It's not written down anywhere, and it's not on record.  It's just a fun little list in my brain.  Things like: see a baby be born - one other than my own so that I can be fully present in the moment and fully experience that miracle of life without being distracted by all of the work that you have to do whilst having your own!  My friend Kara Pawson allowed me into her sacred holy almost two years ago, and I bawled like a baby the entire time.
Brain food.  Soul food.
This Spring, I also got this crazy idea to run my own personal half marathon - having never in my life run more than four miles at a time -  and I wanted to do it sometime before my body hit 40.  I wanted to use what I have - stretch marks, sagging, scars and all - and instead of focusing on what I wanted to "implant" or "tuck".. to "fix" or get rid of - I wanted to use what I had... and I wanted to intentionally be grateful.  I wanted to see what my body was still capable of and do something that I could still be very proud of....all the while focusing on who I am - here and now.  Not who I used to be, not who I wish I could be, just who I am now...and what I have now with which to work.

My friend calls it a "Midlife Marathon."
Whatever it is, I want to age well.
And I want to age gracefully.
Gratefully, and mindfully...fully aware of four little sets of eyes that are looking on...
3,000....4,000....5,000 gifts of Joy.
This has been a year of mindfulness for me.
A year of fully realizing my weaknesses and my limitations -- and a year of letting go.
Preach it.
Chicken scratch...listing my daily Joy Journey.
This has been a year of craving.

Pretty much since Wee Little Missy Miss made her arrival, my world has been rocked in every way possible.  Good, bad,'s been rocked.  I owe my new found love for running and my new found early morning routine to this little Gem.  It's because of this Little Love that I ran my first personal half marathon a week ago.

And it's because of this Little Love that I'm back in love with Jesus.
Cracks in my life...that only He can fill...
I sort of lost that love along the way somewhere.
Maybe it was the several moves all close together that shook this Root Digger's core.
Maybe it was Homeschooling 3 kids and feeling completely out of my element with a toddler running wild.
Maybe it was a year of Crazy where the only time I spent with Jesus were intermittent "potty reads" with multiple interruptions for crisis intervention with four kids running wild.
Whatever it was, I found myself one day waking up to a version of Me that I didn't like, to a Mama who was perpetually grumpy, and to a woman who hit the floor angry and overwhelmed every morning of every day....and I decided that it was time for a pretty drastic change.
Perpetually complaining to Jesus day after day about having zero time to call my own - and about this female child He had blessed me with who enjoyed waking at 5:00 every blasted day of life, He one day called me out.

"You have the time," He whispered.  "But are you willing to make the sacrifice to take it?"
What is it worth to you?
Is it worth your love of sleep?
Is it worth an earlier bedtime each night so that I can wake up with the dawn?

And thus began my 5:00 a.m. coffee dates with Jesus.
And morning runs of solitude and silence.
Him and I.  Alone and still.
And thus began the growth of a heart that had withered....slowly opening once more...and once again falling in love.
Journaling.  Heart to paper.  For my kids one day.
In love with my Life.
In love with my Savior.
In love with these days of Crazy....these days of Insanity...
......In love with these Sacred days of Holy.
And it was during this season of being honest and vulnerable with whoever wanted to listen to me, that I realized a whole many more of my Mama friends felt the same way.  There were a whole slew of sweet Mamas feeling like everyone else had everything all together, and they were the only ones who were failing.  They were the only ones who didn't seem to be able to keep their children clothed and clean....who never knew what to make for supper...and who's house looked like a cyclone ripped through it 3.5 seconds after they just made their rounds of cleaning.  They felt like losers, but their faces smiled pretty....and their eyes screamed sadness while their lips said:  "I'm Fine."
This book.  Buy it.  Buy it now.
And I'm over it.
I'm beyond done with facades of perfection.

This has been the year of letting go...of realizing that it blesses no-one when I pretend I have things all together...of realizing that I need Jesus every moment of every day...and it's been a year of coming to the place where I crave time with Him.  I crave that solitude.  I crave the mornings where it's just me, and cup of coffee...and darkness still outside.

I need this.
As much as the air I breathe....I need Him.
Maybe Motherhood is finally growing me up.
Maybe I'm finally starting to learn to slow down and to do less.
I'm starting to see that "being" is so much more important than a bucket list of "doing."
I'm learning that in order to see the Holy here....I need to be "wholly here."  I need to be present.
And I'm learning that truly living life with others....truly sharing this thing called Life in the first place...involves stripping off the mask and laying bare the vulnerable belly parts of the soul.  This is what I've been learning in my 38th year of doing this thing called Living....

I'm still a baby grown-up.
I still don't have a clue what I'm doing in this ministry of Motherhood.
On a daily basis, I'm still pretty sure that I'm wrecking my children in some unfix-able way.

But, His mercies are new every morning.
And His grace is so sufficient.
He restores my soul.

I've learned that "man in his pomp will not endure." ~ Psalm 49:12
I've seen that "He daily bears our burden." ~ Psalm 68:19
And I am living proof that "those who seek the Lord....their hearts will revive." ~ Psalm 69:32

The greatest of birthday gifts, indeed.
This man.  My greatest gift.
"With my mouth I will give thanks abundantly to the Lord.  And in the midst of many I will praise Him." ~ Psalms 109:30

He reigns with healing in His wings...the King of Kings....Light of the World reaching out for us...
There is no other name.

This is my broken Hallelujah.....


Esther said...

Thank you, dear friend, for your honest words.

Rachel K. said...

Thanks Amy, I appreciate your sharing of your life and struggles with all of us.

Elizabeth said...

This is the type of thing that makes all us mama's say Yes! and Me too! Beautifully written. I love your writing, every time I re-stumble upon your blog. :)