I reached a chronological milestone this past September when I turned 40. Oddly enough, I feel nothing like what I expected to feel like as a 40 year old woman. In fact, on most days, I seem to think I am merely in my 20's going along, shall I say "holding on", for the ride of my life. Not that anything about me is still like it was when I was in my 20's, but my heart and my head just cannot seem to fathom that I am entering what some refer to as
Perhaps the denial about my age comes from the ever present sense that I do not have within me the wisdom and knowledge that I would suspect one should have at 40 years of age. Tied directly to that sense is the keen awareness and true hope that God is not finished with me yet. By that, I mean He is not finished with growing me, shaping me, directing me, teaching me, or using me. I am not who I was, nor am I yet who I am fully meant to be. With that deep thought sinking in, who am I currently? How do I describe the 40 year old me?
The first thing that pops into my mind, because it consumes most of my waking time, energy and thought, is that I am a mommy to three amazing children. I never realized, prior to having my own children, just how different three little ones from the same family could be. I also never realized what immense stretching would be required in order to parent in a way that was anything close to the way I hoped to parent. I am sure that not nearly as much stretching would be required if I didn't care how they turned out...wait, actually, the stretching would come - just in a very different way than it comes to me now. At any rate, I have two boys and a girl - Zachary (12), Benjamin (8), and Eliana (5). My first inclination is to start spilling all the details about these three loves right here and now, but I am going to purposely hold back...at least, I will try.
In addition to being a mom, I am a wife. I married an amazing man, Ken, who has made my life anything but dull. Ken is a passionate crazy man who seems to do well at almost anything he tries. He has a heart for Jesus and for bringing others closer to and further in on their walks with Him. He has the heart of a pastor and the mind of a professor, melding the two together to be a fabulous teacher and preacher. He values relationship with others more than being right or proving a point, but will not shy away from truth in the midst of relationship. Wow! He sounds like a neat guy! And he's handsome, as well!!
As for my career, I am a part time Speech Language Pathologist. I have worked in a variety of settings and have learned much along the way. I currently work with high school and middle school students, but have spent most of my career working with younger children within hospital settings. While there are many many days that I think it would be nice to be with my kids and doing my home jobs full time, I realize that God has gifted me well to do the work that I do. It's given me opportunity to meet people I normally wouldn't and, hopefully, make a lasting impact in the lives of others. I have been fortunate, up until this year, to require very little outside help for the kids. This year, with transition, I have my youngest in all day preschool / childcare more than I really want her to be. I kind of hate that part of what I am doing right now, but Eliana loves her school days and I will have summer off - something I haven't had before in my other part time jobs. Someday I will write some of the lessons I have learned in my career life, but for now I will leave it at this: the more people I work with, the more I understand that God wants me to see my clients and those I work with through God's lens, not my own. My vision is far too limited to understand the greatness in one individual, especially when, on the surface, that one individual is so limited.
So what are the things that make me tick? There are so many that I will only start with a few (in no specific order):
- lying on (or sitting in) the "sun spot" that streams through the window on a sunny day
- watching babies smile
- hearing stories of God's faithfulness in the lives of others
- watching my children make really good choices to care for one another
- water - oceans, rivers, lakes
- seeing my husband in action, especially in regard to ministry and encouraging others
- seeing someone grow in ways they didn't realize they could
- hanging out with my family
- beaches, especially the hot tropical kind
- feeling like God has used me well to be a benefit to another
- good music
- ignorance that leads to hateful or arrogant nastiness....not ignorance alone, because a lack of knowledge in and of itself is not a bad thing, we just shouldn't let ignorance be an excuse for nastiness
- the battles that wage inside me at times when I lose sight of who I am and who's I am