Everyday Faithfulness

I turned 29 last week (for the first time).  Future birthdays will now be termed, "My Second 29th Birthday", "My Third 29th Birthday", etc., depending on my age.  

For years, I became mildly depressed when I considered turning 30.  It just seemed so ... old.  In my mind, people figured out their life in their twenties and then raised kids and worked like crazy and did "boring adult stuff" after that.  Though it seems silly now, I dreaded my 30th birthday because it signified that life as I knew it would be over and the slow march to a retirement facility would begin.

Piper and Mom Hold Hands

So, on my 25th birthday, I cried because 30 was, at last, closer than 20.  Then, I dried my tears and made my "30 Before 30 List", an agenda of all that I believed I needed to accomplish before my life would theoretically end on May 18, 2018.

I somehow managed to achieve a good chunk of the goals.  I had another kid, saw Blake Shelton in concert, visited three new states, grew an herb garden, got a tattoo, took a cake decorating class, baked an apple pie from scratch, started a college fund for my kids, read 25 new books, and bought a gun (I know how to shoot it, too, so watch out).  

A few of the items got scratched off the list.  I don't really care about getting my master's degree anymore, and I probably will never donate my hair to Locks for Love again.  At one point, I wanted to learn to drive a car with a stick shift, but if we're being honest, I'll probably never have a reason to know how to do that.  Goodbye, Items 1, 15, and 18.

The next category of ambitions are the ones that I could potentially accomplish within the next year before I turn 30.  These include camping for real (not "glamping" in a cabin), fly fishing, and skydiving.  

For the last few goals, I have resigned myself to the fact that they will likely not happen in the next 350ish days, and they might not happen in the next 10,000 days, either.  I won't be finished with school by the time I turn 30, and I may or may not ever write a book and/or qualify for the Boston Marathon.  These three ambitions were particularly tough to release.

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One of my favorite podcasts is called "The Happy Hour," hosted by Jamie Ivey.  In this podcast, women are invited to chat with Jamie about "the big things in life, the little things in life, and everything in between."  These "girlfriends" usually discuss the big things, though- things like starting their own businesses, publishing books, and adopting babies.  I'm always simultaneously inspired and defeated as I listen to them.  When each podcast ends, I find myself thinking, "Wow, these ladies are amazing!  Also, I don't do anything cool with my life."

A couple of weeks ago, Jamie had a friend on her show who discussed the problem with "comparing the beginning of your journey with someone else's middle or end."  I do this ALL. THE. TIME.  {Please tell me I'm not the only one.}  There is no actual rule which states that I'm a failure if I haven't done certain things by a certain age.  Foolishly, I have created such rules for myself where no timeline even exists. 

Perhaps life is simply a constant flow of ordinary, everyday moments that eventually add up to something great.  

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Nana and Piper

My grandmother is dying.  She has lived a long, generally healthy life and is deeply loved by four children, eight grandchildren, and a steadily growing number of great-grandchildren.  When I look back on her 85 years, I'm not sure that there is anything in them which the world might define as "success".  She wasn't a great athlete or novelist, and she and my papa weren't wealthy or famous.  

But, for decades, Nana chose to be faithful in the mundane, to follow the plan that God had for her in the small moments, and to serve her family.  Now, as she is dying, she is leaving behind a legacy of kindness and generosity for the world to memorialize.

This is what I want my life to be.

At the end of my days, I hope that people say of me, "She was a devoted wife, a loving mom, a gracious friend, and a hard worker."  I long to arrive at the gates of heaven and hear Jesus affirm, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

For a moment among specific circles, I might be remembered for qualifying for the Boston Marathon, for graduating at the top of my class, or for publishing a book- these things that people (including myself) often consider "big" and "important".  But ultimately, I pray that I am known as a woman who walked the road of everyday faithfulness, choosing joy in the thousands of little and equally important moments that fall between items on a bucket list.