So I turn forty next week, and that is causing a bit of nostalgia for me. Not so much because this is the statistical “half way” mark for the average human (although, yes, some of that) but because I am suddenly realizing how momentous the last decade of our lives has been. My twenties were all about dreams coming true – or at least most of them. We got married. Jonathan graduated from college and found his dream job. We moved across the continent. We traveled. We bought a house. We bought a low profile sports car. And then, right when the only thing we thought we needed was children, Jonathan left his position as a youth pastor, and I felt all of my dreams slipping away.
I was supposed to celebrate my thirtieth birthday with a cruise to take my mind off of being 30 and childless. Instead, I celebrated it by signing up as a real estate sales agent with my dear friend Donna. Jonathan took a part time job as a church secretary. We had a fire in our home with thousands of dollars in smoke damage. One new church was sued. It was a really low year.
But that year was a threshold for us. God did so much work in us over the last ten years that I almost don’t believe it myself, and I lived it. I discovered not one, but two rewarding careers (Real Estate and teaching). And Jonathan spent three years working in fast food after four years of teaching. We were a part of three different types of churches before finding our home in the Presbyterian branch of Christendom. We dramatically renovated a house, and then lost it. We moved to St. Louis and survived seminary. I learned to cook. I started a blog (and then abandoned it somewhere along the way). Jonathan took five weeks to preach at a church with an empty pulpit. We moved across the northeast in a snow storm in December.
And while I entered my thirties childless, and disillusioned and confused, I am looking at forty with three children, with a husband returning to pastoral ministry and with such growing clarity and trust in the things of God. It has been such a momentous decade of The Lord proving himself faithful over and over and over, so often and with such intense regularity.
This Sunday Jonathan preached on Mark 6:30-56. When the disciples see Jesus coming on the water they are afraid, “because they did not understand about the loaves.” Jonathan said,”if we don’t understand his provision, we will doubt his protection.” I feel as if the last ten years has been miracles and storms until we could trust in both The Lord’s provision and protection.
I am looking back so that I can look forward at the next half (or so) of my life in confidence that the One who brought me through that, will be completely faithful not to abandon me in the future unknown.