But by the grace of God I am what I am... 1 Corinthians 15:10
It was my birthday this week. 31. Wow. It looks funny to see that in print. I'm 31. This last year has been kind of amazing. Scratch that. It's been REALLY amazing. It's been really hard too. I know me better. I have made real, substantial noticeable progress in my attitude and my temper. I like me. I like me and all my flaws. I know I'm a work in progress. I know God is so at work in my life. I know I can be better by His grace.
31 years. This birthday was much easier than last year. Thirty hurt. I never saw it coming. I never thought I'd be someone who cared about a number. It wasn't just the number though. My clock is ticking. I can hear it. It's quite loud. 30 meant now or never for planning more children (especially since, for us, it would mean a surgical procedure to reverse the first surgical procedure). 30 meant I was no longer in my 20's. I've been the youngest in everything I've done for the last 10 years or more. I married a man 9 years older than me. All his siblings are older, his friends too. I got married at 20. I started as a nurse the same year. Now all of a sudden waiters are kiddingly asking me if I'm 26 (Yeah I say. Is that supposed to be funny?). I have had a year to process all these little doubts and worries that crept in while I wasn't paying attention. I'm better now. Not great about all of it but I'm getting there by His grace.
As I look back over the last 31 years I see pain and healing, times I struggled and times I thrived, and lots of lessons learned. My parents' divorce at age 2. Cancer at age 9. My mother's divorce from my step father at 10. Remission at age 12. Drug abuse at age 13. Hospitalized for depression at 14. Meeting my future husband (and step child) at 16. Graduated high school and began college at 17. Married and started my nursing career at 20. Gave birth at 23 (and 25). Homeschooling ever since. As I look back I remember feeling Him with me when I took the time to notice. He brought me over, around and through some really big things. Thanks to my mother there isn't a time when I don't remember knowing my God. He's always been there. Guiding me. Holding me. Catching me when I wiggle out of His grip. This isn't the end. I don't even think it's the middle. There is more, much more, of my story to tell. He is the one constant in ALL of this: I'm here, right where I am today by His grace alone.