why 35 is going to be the BEST year ever!

Today I turn 35.  I've been more excited about this birthday than any other.  For me, in many ways, it's the beginning of the end AND the beginning of the beginning.

If you haven't been here long, you can catch up on my past, HERE, and HERE, it's been a long road of recovery.

The first eighteen years of my life were extremely hard.  A challenge in many ways but nothing compared to what I would face in the years following.  For the past seventeen years or so, I've been in a battle for my best self.  I've been at work dispelling lies and undoing damage.  I've dug deep and exposed things I've been told I should be ashamed of (based on societal lies).  I've shined a light in the dark and cleared out figurative attics.  I've worked hard to follow God's lead and leave the enemy behind.

The carrot dangled in front of me?  A promise God has whispered to me for as long as I can remember: it will take me 18 years to undo the damage done the first 18 years of life.  I've said it and thought it more times than I can count.  

And I feel closer to having that promise fulfilled than ever.  You see, 36 marks the 18 year mark!  Turning 35 turns the corner on the last year before I see that promise come to fruition.  I'm excited (and a little terrified) to see what this next year holds for me!

Over the last 17 years there have been times of struggle and growing.  Times where I have felt so pruned and cut back that I was certain I would never grow again,  only to see a bud not only appear, but bloom where I thought only dead wood was.

God has been good to me.  He has held me in His hand at every turn.  Has pushed me in the right direction, at times with heels dug in deeply.  He has been faithful.  He has taken the mud and the muck and flung it to the far ends of the Earth. He has seen me in my deepest hurting and reached out His hand to me.  He has been there when I needed Him most.

And as a result...layer upon layer of hurt and pain have been shed.  Where I have been willing to let go of "ok" He has replaced it with "wow!!!".  Where I have been able to forgive myself and others, He has poured one thousand times upon me.

Where I have gone through the desert, alone and feeling isolated, He had, even then, set people off in my direction, to meet me at the exact right point.

I approach this birthday like no other: confident.  With a life FULL of His Grace and Love and surrounded by people who love me.  He has filled my life with people who not only seek my best but believe I have something good to offer.  He has, painfully at times, removed relationships that did nothing but drain me, even when I didn't get it (or want it at time) and replaced them with people who love me right where I am.

He has taught me that Spirit is thicker than blood. 

As I sit here this morning, my faithful husband and best friend, hard at work and my wonderful healthy boys watching PBS and giggling nearby, I can't help but want to grab a shovel.  The blessings in my life form mountains and I just want to use that shovel and spread them out among those around me.  I can't keep quiet about all God has done for me.  There's no way.  It would be more possible to NOT scream if I were covered in spiders than it would be to hush up about the miracles God has performed in my life.

Can I just encourage you this morning?  He is working.  Even when we don't feel it, see it, hear it or know it.  He is working.  He will not begin a work in us and give up.  He will not leave us alone in the dark.  He will do what He says he will.  I'm excited to see Him put the finishing touches on His promise to me this year.  And then step off into the beyond, where I believe my past will stay my past and become more of a tool for helping others, than a hindrance to my success. 

I can't wait to share that progress with you!

P.S.  While you're here don't forget to hop over and read my post on making family memories! :)  

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