Today I'm 27.
And as I sit here now, looking back at this last year, I can honestly say that 26 has aged me.
This year was hard on me. Yet this year was good for me.
26 was my ying yang year.
And today, I'm 27.
Digging entirely into the pit of who I am and reflecting on this year has been difficult for me. When the kids told me that they were taking my birthday away for putting them to bed last night, I truly thought, "great!"
And then something sprung up in me and reminded me of a great something I read recently.
I'm going to embrace aging because far too many people don't get the privilege.
Until this year, I thought I had it all figured out.
Ideas that were air tight in my spirit have suddenly shifted. There has been a freedom in that.
Control that I once longed for has been loosened. And although hard, it has been rejuvenating to my spirit.
People that I stored closely have been released and people who I had distanced myself from have been invited in...to a place that is sacred.
A place that was unlocked in the year of 26 and will be resealed there today.
This year I have experienced fear that I never knew existed, triumph that I couldn't have hoped for, youthfulness lost, frustration beyond words, indescribable sadness and worry, friendship that I believe doesn't exist elsewhere, prayer that is exquisite and true, growth that is life changing, grace redefined and I have loved from a place that is so far inside of myself I can't even begin to put words to the touch.
This year I have learned that older truly does mean wiser. I have learned that life is hard and very unfair but our God is the same. I have learned that we should try loving people in the way that they so desperately love in return. I have learned that our ideas of life can be altered quickly, so judgement is harsh and unnecessary.
I have walked a road this year that I never dreamed I would walk and yet I have found myself at the end of that winding road looking behind me to see a wide range of troops standing with me and fighting for me and my little girl.
Every one of them has cried with me, prayed with me, listened to me, supported me and carried me.
And a few of them--a seldom few have seen the most wicked cries, and the ugliest moments.
But these few have also witnessed remarkable triumphs--not only in Mabel, or this journey but I believe, most importantly...in me.
And they stood in my kitchen many nights and danced with me to music that was loud and allowed themselves to be captivated by a journey that could have easily been debilitating but has, in fact, been victorious!
This year I was introduced to a Jesus that I never knew. One that I thought was living in me in all the right ways but was actually just what I had made Him. This year, the 26, was the year I was truly re-born--and I'm saying that now for you all to see because I'm hopeful that you will see that this life is ever changing. And if you are so blessed to come to know Him and experience Him in the way that I have this year, I want you to tell the world and then never look back to what you thought you knew of Him before.
Because this is not a cookie cutter God that we serve, friends.
This is a God who is personal. A God who has met me where I am.
A God who is not afraid of religion but will step around it to meet you as well.
Even if you aren't ready. Even if you don't expect it.
He will do whatever it takes to reach you.
He has pursued me this year and my lustful heart fell for the charm of a God who is undeniably the creator of every good and perfect thing.
I thought I knew Him for 13 beautiful years before now, but the God of year 26 is much greater. Much stronger. Much more God.
This year as I have watched Mabel struggle physically and externally, there has been a deep struggle in me spiritually and internally. As she has battled her way through tests, therapy and surgeries I have battled my way through questions that have no answers. This has been evident to everyone as I laid myself bare, naked and vulnerable for all to see. I thought that I was an open book before, but once again I have been surprised by the tremendous change that has occurred in every aspect of my life.
Year 26 has been life altering.
And if I had to sum it all up, that's what I would say.
I know that I am better for it so although I am thankful to be saying goodbye to my friend, 26--
I do so gently and with a bit of a heavy heart. In some odd way, I imagine clinging to the edge of her red cloak, begging her to keep me in the place that is now safe. I can picture year 26 nudging me onward to a new year but I cannot turn my head from what has been in this time. She whispers softly in my ear that it was her job simply to equip me.
"Do not be afraid..." she says calmly.
I want to settle here in all that 26 has done for me and hunker down in her comfort, but I know that just like with any change, it is best to embrace year 27. It is terrifying to think of what he has in store so instead of allowing myself to think about it while tip toeing in...I am jumping upon his back and letting year 27 carry me into the first day of what may just be the next greatest year of my entire life.
Cheers 27. I'm all yours.