Thirty

I turn 30 in a week.

I hate conforming to stereotypes but I’ll own this one:

I’ve cried about turning 30. A lot.

There’s something in me that believes I missed out. There’s something in me that believes I’m passed my prime and everything is downhill from here.

Every time I move I manage to uncover a “Bucket List” I wrote back in high school. I laugh at some of them (dance in the rain…when did I start writing for Hallmark?!). Some of them are checked off (half marathon: one and done). Some I know will be checked off at a later time (I’m comin for ya, Israel!).

And there are others that remain untouched. Still deserving of a hopeful space, but causing a deep ache with every mid-move list review.

God, will I ever get married?

Will I ever have kids?

I have few memories prior to when I turned 18, but I remember writing that bucket list. Curled up on my bed next to my window, hot pink pen in hand, bright stripey paper pad at the ready. I remember thinking, “what do I want for my life?” and instantly jotted down marriage + kids first, because duh, I was going to go to A&M, meet a cute Aggie boy who could country western dance with the best of them, and we were going to fall madly in love, get married the year after graduation, and raise future God-fearing Aggies. (What theme? I don’t see a theme.)

If you had told 15 year-old Bucket List me that I’d be single and child-less at 30, I would have passed out.

Upon regaining consciousness, I would have asked what decent-looking, God-honoring woman would still be single at THIRTY. Did she commit a felony after hiding under a rock for ten years, making her own clothes out of sticks?! Did she get in a bar fight and loose all her teeth and now spits out her dentures at everyone who looked her direction?! Or maybe she is such a staunch feminist she refuses to look at men as anything more than peasants.

But alas. I have done none of those things. And to borrow my college neighbor’s excellent verbiage, am still “single as a Pringle.”

It is easy for me to look at this birthday as a landmark of failure. I am no where closer to being a wife and a mom than where I was ten years ago.

But this is where it can get fun…I’ve done a bunch of things that were NOT on my bucket list…

  • Lived in a foreign country…for two years
  • Traveled to 18 countries
  • Got a master’s in seminary
  • Started a second master’s in counseling
  • Had 21 roommates (some ~cRaZy~ and others forever friends)
  • Traveled solo
  • See broken relationships restored
  • Memorize chapters of the Bible
  • Read through the Bible 11 times
  • 10 years (and counting) of discipling high school students
  • Written Bible studies
  • Coordinated over 40 weddings
  • Owned & operated a small business
  • Got foster care babysitter certified
  • Gone on a tooooon of first dates. And a handful of second dates.
  • Can tell killer bad date stories
  • Organized & ran several large-scale community outreach events
  • Battled depression. Won.
  • Written over 800 pages of academic papers
  • Bought a car
  • Invested in the stock market
  • Created my dream job and get paid to do it

I’m surprised by that list. The truth of the matter is that none of that was on my own. I did none of that by myself. Yes I had friends and family cheering me on, but the reality is that God made it possible.

I had to keep showing up. He kept showing me the way.

One thing I want to point out before wrapping up whatever you want to call this…I might not be any closer to being married, but I sure do have a lot of incredible children. Spiritual children. Some girls I’ve discipled are now married and have an actual child themselves, others are still learning how to tie their shoes and make it through the day after spilling their Paw Patrol milk.

I love them all more than they will ever know. I have prayed for them more than they will ever know. I believe in them more than they will ever know.

While I remember how I purposefully started my Bucket List, I can’t remember if I meant to end it the way that I did, or if it just happened.

The last item on my high school bucket list is short: fall more in love with Jesus every day.

Sure I still want to get married and have biological kids and get scuba certified and learn to play the guitar and sing like an angel. But those aren’t the true marks of a life well-lived.

So I will spend the last week of my 20s celebrating all that God has done.

And celebrating that I truly do fall more in love with Jesus, every single day.

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