And Then I Turned 40 {Part 2, Words of Wisdom}

{This is Part 2. If you missed yesterday’s post, read it here.}

and then I turned 40 part 2

What else have I learned? I don’t have words to express it, but the following words from others reflect my heart – what I know to be true and who I know I am.  I hope you benefit from their wisdom.  

From Jen Hatmaker, For the Love, On Turning 40: You get a decent handle on who you are, what you are good at, what you love, what you value, and how you want to live. These questions used to keep me up at night.  Young one, if you worry endlessly about purposes and trajectory, identity and worth, forty brings security you can’t imagine.  I know what I am good at now and how to do it.  I’m not apologetic and aw-shucks and uncertain about running my race.  I no longer tiptoe through my own life, doubting my gifts and my place, too scared to go for it, seize it, pray for it, dream it. When you’re forty, you no longer wait for permission to live…I lost much time in jealousy, judgment, and imitation.  I just couldn’t find my own song…{now} I am free to be me…

These words cause me to exhale with thankfulness, as if I’ve been holding my breath for 40 years.   For so long I doubted my gifts, waiting on others to give me permission to live and dream.  Now, it’s just me and God – as it should have been all along.  Friend, if I could give you one piece of advice, I’d simply tell you to stop looking around and look up.

That thing you know you can do and do well?  Do it.  God planted it there for a reason- a purpose.  Run your race.  Don’t apologize for who you are.  Don’t grasp on to someone else’s theology just to be “in the crowd.”  Pray, learn, explore, ask, and grow in Him. Find your own song and sing, sister.

From my friend, Marilyn:  One year is not the same as another, not unless we insist it be. A sadness that was once all-consuming is now fleeting. Give it another year and it will be a distance speck, there but not dominating.  

I am sure you’ve heard time heals all wounds.  It probably does.  But, how much time? Months? Years? Decades? I can’t give you a timetable for healing, but Marilyn is right: one year is not the same as another.  A new year is coming and pain that kept me on the couch and stuck is fleeting.  Thank you, Lord.

From my friend, Abby, about Advent:  Because I need it, this waiting, this grieving, this longing. Because the only way to not let the darkness over take you is to sit with it. Listen to it. I need the silence because the shouting I have tried isn’t working. I need to grieve so that I can make room for the joy.  I need to light the candle in the darkness, so I can see for myself how much real hope can really fill up a room if I let it.

I can hear myself saying it…I don’t like to be alone!  I like to stay busy…I am an extrovert…I thrive on people.  All true. And, I’d never really been alone.  I grew up with my family, went to college, got married, and had babies.  Not much alone time in any of that.  But, divorce brought a quiet house, no one around, alone time.  I despised it until I gave into it.  As Abby says, I sat in the darkness – my own darkness.  I listened. My life had been “shouting” for many years, and I hadn’t even known it – known what I was missing.  Then, I lit the candle.  I truly let Him in.

From best-selling author, Brene Brown (My words, her idea): I will look at each person and believe that he or she is doing the BEST they can – all things considered.  Am I sure they are?  No.  But can I and should I live believing that everyone with whom I come into contact – the waitress who messes up my order, the students who doesn’t “understand” the directions I’ve given 20 times, my ex-husband, those who tossed me out when I failed, those who criticize – all of them.  I will look them in the eye and believe: They did the best they could.  They’re doing the best they can.

THIS has changed my life. Grudges and bitterness gone. Self-righteousness – gone.  THIS idea levels the playing field as not one of us is doing  better than another.  We are ALL doing our best.

From my perpetual calendar, December 6 (my birthday): You don’t have to be hope for the whole world.  But you can bring Hope to your world.  You are alive so that you can live.  You are loved so that you can love. You are seen so that you can see.  What are you waiting for? Emily Freeman

Friend, what are you waiting for? YOU CAN BRING HOPE RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE.  In your home, office, neighborhood.  He is Hope.  He is the ONLY hope.  Bring Him.

From my Momma on my 40th birthday:  You were created to make somebody else’s life better.  Somebody needs what you have  -your smile, you love, your words, and your encouragement.

My Momma truly believes this about me – and about most people.  And this exactly how I see her  – her smile, her love, her words, and her encouragement – someone needs her to make life better. It’s true of you, too, friend.  You’re needed.

From Paul David Tripp, New Morning Mercies, December 6: It is humbling, but it is important to remember that it is only ever the sin inside us that hooks us to the sin outside of us.  So what we need most is not a change of location or relationship, but a fundamental rescue of heart, and that is exactly what God’s grace in the person of the Holy Spirit provided for us.

Sister, it begins with heart change. Work only He can do. You can create a big plan and lead a big movement.  But, without a change of heart, that too will pass.

From Scotty Smith, Everyday Prayers, December 6: We invest so much of our lives looking for favor – wanting to be wanted, longing to be celebrated, and seeking to be acceptable…And what a freeing paradox, Father: the more we come alive to the riches of the gospel, the less we obsess about our own lives.  We don’t end up thinking more of ourselves or less of ourselves.

From Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, December 6: When I have transacted business with God on His covenant and have let go entirely, there is no sense of merit, no human ingredient, in it at all, but a complete overwhelming sense of being brought into union with God, and the whole thing is transfigured with peace and joy.

From my best friend, Jen, on my birthday: I pray God does far beyond anything you could ask or imagine between now and this same day a year from now when we celebrate the gift of you all over again.

And that’s my prayer for you, friend.  That God does far beyond what you ask – or even know to ask for – in 2016.  And that we link arms in the coming year  to COME and SEE all that He has, all that He has done, and all that He will do.   I promise…you’ll stand in awe. 

I’d love to hear what he’s been teaching you…that ONE thing you hold tightly – the one thing that carries you (regardless of age:)

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