I turn 31 today.
In all honesty I still have mini-freak out moments when I can't believe I am even old enough to drive...let alone be married and the mother of four kids.
I am excited about my 30's.
I am entering an entire new stage of parenting as the kids get older, an entire new stage in our marriage as we approach the 10 year mark, and an entire new stage of ministry in a new church in a new role...
I've been getting quite reflective in my old age and have been thinking on my life. Specifically, the moments, decisions, and people that have impacted, shaped, and defined me.
And no, I really won't list out 31 of them...as that really would be too lengthy.
Just a few.
Ok, maybe more than a few.
1. Grandad's House, early 1980's
I was sitting on his lap, close to tears, all because I didn't have any sunglasses. I told him this and he took me straight to Toys-R-Us and let me pick out a pair. I picked out a wire royal blue pair that folded up into a little case. They pinched my nose but I didn't care. I knew I was ridiculously loved by my Grandad. He thought I was pretty and smart and funny, and so...I was pretty and smart and funny. I think it was his love that gave me my confidence.
2. Easter Sunday, 1988
This was the day I gave over my life to Jesus. I was 7 years old and knew exactly what I was doing. The best and most important decision of my life that impacted every other decision of my life.
3. The Summer of 1991
I was 10 years old and played endless hours in "groundhog hollow" with my built in best friend (aka: big sister Laura Jeane). I was given the tremendous blessing (unrealized to me as a child) of being able to just be a child in those days...exploring, making up games, finding creeks, picking flowers, and dreaming dreams.
4. Singing School, 1994
As a gangly awkward 13 year old sporting oversized sweatshirts and stonewashed jeans I nervously approached another gangly awkward 13 year old in an equally oversized sweatshirt and asked for her orthodontists phone number in an attempt to jump start a friendship that has spanned two decades and numerous bad hair cuts. A true best friend who has created and shared in your history is one of the best gifts in the world. Even if that history includes rap renditions of The Power of your Love.
5. My House in Roanoke, VA, 1997
The day I fell in love. I was 16 and standing in our upstairs bathroom as I watched Jeremiah rinsed throw up from a blanket soiled by Anthony, a severly handicapped foster child we cared for. What 18 year old captain of the wrestling team, prom king, leader of the ever popular youth band formerly known as Goodfriday, would do something like that? I knew then he was for real. And I've never looked back. Being loved the way he loves me is a priceless treasure.
6. Sophmore year, Shepherd College, Comm 101 Class
A terrible teacher. Terrible. A terrible class. Terrible. But it was in this class that I think that I really owned my faith. I was forced to flesh it out and be able to communicate it. It wasn't my parents faith anymore...it was mine.
7. Dulles Airport, Washington DC, 2001
I will never ever forget watching my new adopted siblings, Isaac, Jacob, and Lily, step off the plane with my parents and enter their new life with our family. I loved them instantly. I think it was at that moment that my own desire to adopt one day was born.
8. May 23, 2003
My wedding day. A rainy cold overcast day that was the best day of my life. I walked down the aisle to Amazing Grace and greeted my handsome groom with such excitement and anticipation to be his wife. Almost nine years later and it hasn't disappointed.
9. November 23, 2005
Our tiny peanut, Ella McKay, rocked our entire world by surprising us 5 weeks early. She was my first, the child that made me a mommy. I will never forget the amazing overwhelming sense of responsibility I felt for her immediately. I would fight to the death for this little one. I would love her without limits.
10. September 15, 2007
Ezra James was born looking like a wizened old man sporting one heck of a dimple. I still remember the way the top of his head smelled as I nursed him on the hospital bed. I had a son. A son!
11. January 2, 2009
Myla died. My heart broke. I didn't know I could feel such depths of guilt and sadness. I didn't know how overwhelming the peace and comfort of Christ could be until this moment.
12. Wilmington, NC, February 2009
I was angry. Not at God. Just angry for losing Myla. I escaped with Jeremiah and raged my feelings to the ocean and realized for the first time that God was enough. I truly realized that if I lost everything...He was enough for me. I didn't love Him because of the good stuff He blessed me with, I loved Him because He is good. His presence in my life was my blessing.
13. Haiti, August 2009
I fell in love again. His name was Aaron and he filled the ache in my arms to hold another baby. He also showed me that God could equip me with enough love for another child during this trip. The time was now for us to start our own adoption journey.
14. June 29th, 2010
I met our Eli Cade for the first time. I had another son! He didn't feel like my son at that moment, but he would. Learning to mother him has shown me more of God's provision and character than any other experience in my life.
15. August 11, 2011
Zoe Elizabeth was born. The joy in my heart could not be contained with I first saw her sweet chubby face and I burst into tears at the beauty of her. Her life is such a gift to me. To get to be a mommy to a sweet baby one more time is an unfathomable blessing.
That was really sort of therapeutic.
And humbling and overwhelming to see God's hand all over the course of my life.
I am a blessed woman.