Use My Voice

Speaking up about the issues I can't get out of my head or heart.

My 30’s are almost over…What????

Tomorrow I start the last year of my 30’s. How is that even possible? Surely it is 29 right? No, it’s not. I will in fact be 39 years old tomorrow. Maybe this kind of blog would be better saved for next year when I turn 40 but I can’t help but find myself thinking back over how much my life has changed since I turned 29.

When I turned 29 I had one child, I had just started serving in my second ministry position and I thought nothing would ever be harder than working full time with a toddler and a husband who was working full time and going to school full time. Oh, and I had a plan. A plan, well you know the old saying if you want to hear God laugh tell him your plans. Yeah, I’m pretty sure God had a pretty good chuckle at 29 year old me. The plan? Scott would finish school get a better job, we would have another baby, I would eventually go to seminary. I would change the face of children’s ministry forever.I would do big important things for God.

I am glad that 29 year old me didn’t know what was coming because she would have probably never left her bed again. But it all came and as I enter the last year of my 30’s these are the things I am thinking about.

Marriage- I will forever be grateful for the fact that I fell head over heels madly in love with a person that I had known for a matter of weeks because it is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I could not imagine getting through this life without him. Is he my soul mate? Is he my best friend? I don’t know all I know is that he knows me in a way that nobody else does and loves me in a way that nobody else is capable of. There were times in the last decade that things could have torn us apart  but somehow they just kept shoving us closer together. I don’t know why we have this kind of grace in our relationship we just do. All I know is every time things started to crumble he and I were left standing. At 29 I thought he owed me so much because of how much time his school took. At 39 I know that we both owe each other far more than we could ever repay.

Friendship- One of the best things to come out of my 30’s are my friendships. All through high school, college and even my 20’s I wanted to be part of “the group”. I wanted to be liked and be a part of what everyone was doing. Here’s the problem with that. I’m not a very good follower and I am not good at keeping my thoughts to myself. That doesn’t work well when you want to be part of a group. In my 30’s I finally accepted the fact that a few friends that you could count on are far more important than being part of a group. I have some amazing friends. Outside of my husband I have a handful of people I know that I can count on at anytime. These  women bring different things into my life and my life would not be complete without any of them.

Parenting- At 29 with one child I knew a lot at 39 with three children I know far less. Here’s what I know, parenting is hard but it’s not hard because you are doing it wrong. It is hard because you are doing it right. I also know it is without a doubt the most amazing thing that I have done with my life, and it is the big important thing that I am suppose to be doing for God.

Faith- Much like parenting I thought I knew everything I needed to know about my faith at 29. There is noting in my life that has been challenged and stretched as much in the last 10 years as my faith has. More than once in the last 10 years I have told God that I was done with him. I have told him that he was cruel and that his people were even more cruel. Fortunately, God isn’t cruel and I have learned how to separate what some of his followers do from who he is. I have learned to embrace my questions and sit in my doubt. I have also learned that I am not alone in my beliefs and views. The internet age has been great for introducing me to people like Rachel Held Evans, Sarah Bessey, Glennon Melton, and Jen Hatmaker. Church is still hard for me and I think I am learning it might always be. Much like Paul’s thorn in the flesh church being hard helps me from being to comfortable. It helps me to always be aware of those who are outside of the circle.

Myself- Let me say this,my 39 year old self is a lot better off than my 29 year old self. Not financially necessarily (Hello three kids) but as a person I am so much better off. I think, we spend our teen years learning who we are, then we spend our 20’s learning who the world wants us to be. Then in our 30’s we get to combine those two things. In my 30’s I have come to accept parts of myself that I had pushed away for most of my 20’s but I have also learned that there are better ways to show those parts of myself to the world. I have learned that listening before speaking is almost always best. I have learned to use my voice to speak up for the passions God has put inside of me.

To those of you who have been on this crazy ride of my 30’s thank you! Thank you for standing beside me in hard times and partying with me in the good times. Thank you for loving me enough to allow me to grow and change.

I have no doubt that at 49 I will look back on this post and have a good laugh. I hope that I learn more in the next 10 years than I did in the last. I hope that I am still crazy in love with my husband and that my friendships are even stronger.I will be watching my children turn into adults and praying we did it right. I hope that 10 years from now God still allows me to see and care for those who are being left out. For now I’m going to embrace this last year of my 30’s and be grateful for this crazy bruitful  (as Glennon Melton would say) life that i have. epcot

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A Thank You to My Daughter’s Preschool

My Baby Girl graduated from Pre K tonight. She has two days left and then she is no longer a preschooler. There is a mix of emotions that I am feeling tonight. Sure there is some sadness that she is growing up so quickly. I feel so much excitement for her as I think about the life that is ahead of her. There is some fear as I think about her leaving a place that has been so safe for a place that is so big and unknown. The biggest thing that I feel though is gratitude.

I trusted my girl to you when she was not even two and a half years old. I knew nothing of your school other than it just felt right.I didn’t know what teacher to ask for or even how many days I should put her in. Shannon,the assistant director suggested three days and I decided that sounded good. I thank God I made that decision because just like the next two years would be it was the perfect place for her. She met friends that year that she would travel though the next three years with. Her teachers that year were more than I could have ever asked for. That was the worst of the asthma years. She missed school more than she was there. Eventually we made the heartbreaking decision to pull her out in order to try and keep her healthy.So what did her teachers do? They still included her in Valentines exchanges, Easter egg hunts, and end of the year baskets, They didn’t have to do that but they did because that’s just who they are,

In her three year old class Maggie learned that Jesus loved her and that she was suppose to love other people. I could have asked nothing more. She was allowed to dance, twirl, and sing her way through that year. The atmosphere in that class was  magical as each child’s personality was allowed to shine through.

This year was the big time PreK. Suddenly the stakes seemed higher. You hear so much talk about “getting kids ready for kindergarten” that I was nervous. But guess what, I never heard those words once this year, No, instead my daughter’s teachers taught her to try her best. They pushed her to do better but never discouraged her. The thought and creativity that they put into every single day completely amazes me.

So to Grayson United Methodist Preschool (GUMP), I say thank you. Thank you for still believing that preschoolers should sing and play and create instead of working on worksheets. Thank helping to teach my little girl that Jesus loves her. Thank you for teaching her how to be a good friend.Thank you for hiring the best teachers on the planet. Most of all thank you for letting Maggie be Maggie and the other 200+ children you have be themselves too. We have loved every day of the last three years and are so very grateful to you.

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