Age 10: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” For me, the answer was always the same: “A wife and a mom.”
Age 20: “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” I’d say, “Married and raising my at-least-3 kids.”
From early on, we’re conditioned to believe that we have control over the outcomes in our lives. We’re told that if we do A and B, we WILL get C. But by the time we reach 30, most of us have experienced enough to know that this notion is far from guaranteed. In our 20s, we’re full of expectations and plans about what life will be, and we really believe that if we do all the right things, and try hard enough, those things will happen. And I believe one of the greatest sources of discontentment in life is unmet expectations.
Ten years ago, the idea of turning 30 was really no big deal to me. I thought, I’ll be raising my beautiful children with my handsome husband, and I’ll hardly notice the passing of another decade. But the reality of 30 for me has meant the beginnings of fine lines and a few gray hairs before holding a sweet son or daughter in my arms. And it has caused a bit of an identity crisis for me.
One by one, my friends started having beautiful babies. Then some, a second. Others, a third. Several, already done. And me? Still waiting. Still praying. Still hoping.
My heart is a constant battle ground of two opposing forces, each determined to tell me who I am. The evil one tries relentlessly to make me believe I am of less value because I don’t belong to the proud, exclusive group called “mothers.” But God gently whispers that I am His daughter (2 Cor. 6:18). He tells me that He takes delight in me and rejoices over me with singing (Zeph. 3:17). He tells me that He fearfully and wonderfully made me (Ps. 139:14). He tells me that I am radiant as I look to Him (Ps. 34:5). Radiant!!! How easy it is to believe these things about others, yet so hard to believe that He feels these things about ME.
It’s true – my life looks different than I planned. Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” So, what is this purpose God has for my life? Why has He allowed me to walk this painful journey of waiting? I may never fully understand, but this I do know: God is using my circumstances to unlock my heart – to draw me nearer to Himself. God is inviting me to sit at His feet and pour out my deepest desires and hurts to Him.
As I turn 30 next year, my desire is to live out Romans 12:12 which says, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” We’re told in scripture that Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. I want to bless God’s heart with the hope, belief, and trust I have in Him. Now, for patience. Oh, patience. And not just patience in waiting, but patience in affliction! For the last few years, Mother’s Day has been a particularly difficult day for me as the reminder of what I am without is plastered everywhere I turn. This year, I will experience my first Mother’s Day after the loss of our twin boys. Friends, the affliction is real. This year, I will cling to the Giver of every good thing, including patience, during the pain that this life brings. And to be faithful in prayer. What a gift – God’s faithfulness to us. It’s a true honor to offer Him our faithfulness in return. Prayer is our direct line to God – how we communicate to Him and where He speaks to us – a time of giving from our hearts, and receiving for our souls.
Maybe you’re like me – life seems to be getting away from you and it just doesn’t look quite like you had planned. Maybe you thought you’d be further in your career, or have more money or a bigger, nicer house. Maybe you thought your children or husband would fulfill you. I pray that you would join me in finding our worth, identity, and purpose in Christ alone, and that we would embrace who HE says we are. I pray that our eyes would be opened to see the beauty in the journey to which He has called us and that we would fully trust in HIS good and perfect plan.