Today I turn 30. Am I sad? Not really (okay, maybe a little), but no, I’m not sad. Everybody tries to make you think you should be sad at growing older. But, I’m welcoming thirty because I like who God is growing me to be.photo by laura
When talking about getting older, one of my friends told me, “Elisabeth, it just gets better and better.” Why is she the first one to say that out loud? With age comes experience, knowledge, wisdom, a depth of understanding about life, empathy for others, a mellowing. Do I have all those things? Of course not! But I’m a teeny bit closer than I was ten years ago.
I began this decade as a child and am ending it as an adult. The first time I remember feeling like an adult was after Silas was born. There’s something about having a helpless human being totally dependent on you for survival that grows up a person. While lots of people begin their twenties as a child, I was much more so. I never had a job until my freshman year of college, and that was a part-time job in the university’s on-campus daycare center. I didn’t take driver’s education or get my license until I was a twenty-two-year-old high school teacher. Mostly though, I was childish in my thinking. My sophomore year of college–the year I turned 20–I felt like my brain was being stretched. The only way I could describe it at the time was that it seemed I had always looked only at everyone’s shoes, and for the first time, I discovered what it was like to lift my head and look at the faces around me. Since then, I’ve had many more moments of “lifting my head” to see society and life from an adult’s perspective.
I began this decade single and am ending it married. Stephen and I were just beginning our life-long relationship together back when I was twenty. (You can read a corny version of our love story here.) I still don’t understand why he chose to marry me, and I don’t say that with false modesty. I don’t understand what he loved about me since there was/is so much unloveliness in me. Stephen’s love instructs me as I seek to know God’s love for me. Why does God love me when there is so much ugliness inside me? Each year, I find more reasons why Stephen is God’s perfect match for me, and I fall more deeply in love with him. Stephen disciples me, gently leading me toward a fuller knowledge of my God. This year on Valentine’s Day, Stephen’s unintended gift to me were his words, “I just want to be like Jesus.”
I began this decade with dreams and am ending it with dreams come true. Becoming a mother was my girlhood dream, and now motherhood is my daily reality. I’m having the time of my life! Silas and Cooper are my treasures from God wrapped in the cutest packaging. I think one reason God places babies in families to teach us, as parents, more about God’s infinite, unconditional, compassionate, selfless love. I’ve written about how motherhood teaches me about God’s relationship to me here and here. Being a mommy has enlarged my heart to love more freely, deeply, and compassionately.
I began this decade as a Bible know-it-all and am ending it as a Bible beginner. The more I learn, the more I discover how much I have to learn. I’ve been learning much of grace and the gospel. While I used to compartmentalize the gospel as solely for the start of my spiritual life–salvation–I’m finding gospel implications for the everyday of my life. It is the gospel that frees me from trying to be good enough to please God. God is already pleased with me. When He looks at me, He sees righteousness; not mine, but Christ’s. Nothing I do will diminish His love for me. I am liberated to embrace my standing before God and to thank Him for giving me this grace. The weight of keeping the law to attain sanctification has been lifted, and finally, I’m understanding what Jesus meant when He said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
My childhood babysitter used to say that she was willing to tell her age because she was thankful for each year God had given her. I choose to live like that.photo by laura