Today is my 30th birthday.
Ironic that it falls on Black Friday, so I couldn't resist the title of this post.
Actually, having been feeling a little black lately with the lack of sunlight and Primary pressures, I'm feeling pretty good about today.
If you asked me 10, 15 years ago where I wanted to be when I was 30, the picture I would have painted for you is now true to life. My goals were simple yet challenging: I wanted to get a University degree, I wanted to travel and see the world, I wanted to be married to a fun and honourable man, and I wanted children. I've done all that, minus the travel. I met and fell in love with the honourable man as I was finishing up the degree; discussed the children and the travel, and we decided to have children while we were still young and save the travel for our retirement years. (ha--the children decided, we could feel their spirits pushing, pushing, pushing--they were impatient!)
At 30, I have a great deal to be grateful for. Most of all, I'm grateful that I let the Lord lead (and push) me onto all the paths of my life. There were times I would have made different choices. There were times I wanted something desperately and believed it would help me reach one of my goals; but the Lord said loudly and clearly "No. That's not for you.". I fought it, I ignored it, I avoided listening, but in the end faith and trust won and I would do what I knew HE wanted me to. I am so thankful that I did, because I certainly wouldn't have gotten to where I am today if I hadn't obeyed His direction. I have few regrets in life, and the few I have are from times when I did what I wanted even though I knew the Lord wanted something else from me.
Now, at 30, I can be grateful to be where I wanted to be and know that it is good. I'm not exactly WHO I wanted to be at 30 though, and as I look ahead to 40 I know that I care less about WHAT I do and more about WHO I become in the process. It's funny really, the paths life takes you on. I was quite goal oriented in my teens and twenties. I had these THINGS! Things I wanted to do and see and have and be. Concrete plans to put into action! That golden time when I was single and solving the puzzle that was myself and the world.
I loved those days of inner focus, of time to feast on the word of God, to share the banquet with friends, to stay up late into the night analyzing just what went into each dish before us and how it all went together. I rejoiced in learning; academically and spiritually. I gorged myself on the fields of information presented to me until I knew how to sift the chaff from the wheat (and even make bread with it!). I became familiar with the voice of God in my heart and mind and comfortable following Him. I learned to recognize my strengths and weaknesses and even, for the first time in my life, learned to love, accept, and even forgive myself. And that's when I met my husband. I don't think I was ready before that. I certainly wasn't the type of person he would have married.
The fairy-tale doesn't really end there though. I thought I understood that. I knew that when they said "and they all lived happily ever after" that didn't mean the story stopped, it just meant they didn't want to tell you about all the WORK that went into happily ever after. As with everything though, you can't really know until you're there. We had children and as each day passed I had less and less energy to drag myself to that great table of learning. I had to force feed myself the basics and nothing tasted good. After awhile it seemed easier to just stop coming to the table and to tell that voice to just "Be quiet and give me two minutes of peace!". I lived off my testimony for years, but the stores have been sadly depleted. I found myself slipping back into old habits and old behaviours that I thought I had overcome. My brain feels dull and my scriptures grow dusty. I'm not sure if my husband met me today if he'd be interested. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't (be interested in me that is. I'm still interested in him.).
So. I face down my 30's. I've had a taste of the goodness of God. I've had a glimpse at that godliness within me. I am filled with humility at the constant ebb and flow of trust and testimony in my life. I have a man I love more every day and children that look to me for guidance as they guide me with their own light. I look forward to this decade of life as an opportunity to return to the table of His goodness and mercy. Older, wiser, more aware, I hope to savour the dishes before me this time and give thanks for each one. I hope that when he shows me a path I am quicker to walk down it instead of wasting time arguing that my own choice is better. I plan to listen more carefully to that voice that I once trusted so fiercely. There have been times when I ignored it to listen to my husband's (or someone else's) logic over the years, and it's never turned out well. Logic can't always be trusted and I let us both down by not recognizing that. I've learned many lessons like this over the past few years and see the next few as the opportunity to put what I know in my heart and my head into action in my life. I still have goals, but they're more nebulous, more about "these areas of my life need attention" and we'll see what the Lord suggests. And I'm cool with that.
To sum up: 30 is good. God is great. The future is bright.
Now my self-improvement is about to start with a great deal of laundry. I see a great deal of both in my future.... ;-]
I'll be back later today with a page for 30-minute Thursday. If Lain can make a page and post a challenge on Thanksgiving, I can accept the challenge and make some time for scrapbooking on my birthday.
Have a happy Black Friday. And if you're one of those crazy shoppers, good luck and remember who you are :)