The Middle

Hey, friends! Thanks for checking in today.

I didn’t exactly know how to start this post out today, because I’m nothing if not awkward and mildly inappropriate so it’s hard to say if my introductions are really the right approach.

But.

BUT. I’ve been thinking (and talking) a lot about these weird middle aged years and feeling like it’s time to have a little chat. With me, but since you’re here, you can join in.

I’m squarely middle aged (and also a little squarely around my middle), so introspection feels and looks a lot different than in the past. You know, that high-in-the-sky-apple-pie viewpoint works really well when you’re 22 and have ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD. So I set some pretty hard-and-fast deadlines for myself as a young person. Maybe you relate? For me, the list was pretty lengthy:

  • I was going to be married by 25. I made that goal with time to spare, but I was divorced at 30, so I don’t think I can call this one done and dusted.
  • I was going to be done having children by 30. I had my daughter at 31 – and I’m 35 and still not sure if I’m ‘done’.
  • I was going to earn my doctorate by 30. Because obviously a newlywed mom of multiple young children has all the time in the world to juggle doctoral classes, so, you know, it was gonna be a PIECE OF CAKE. Spoiler alert: I’m still not a doctor, and I’m 35.
  • I was going to own my own home by 35. I’m 35, and, well, at this point, I’m not even sure where to LOOK for a house because we’re teetering hard on the edge of ‘maybe we’re going to move’ and ‘we should put down roots in this community’.

And those are just the life points, y’all. I had a whole other list for ministry goals and things I wanted to take part in.

I was – and am – an opinionated young [STILL YOUNG, Y’ALL] person. I was used to setting my mind to something and getting it done. I finished high school early and jumped into community college as a young teen. I was elbow deep in ministry from an early age and knew in my heart that I was called to walk that path. I felt pretty confident that I knew my purpose in life.

And then life was like, ‘wanna bet?’

The best laid plans are usually derailed, and my life plan was absolutely no different than those best laid plans.

Except for being, well, probably not the best laid plan.

Ministry positions shifted. Jobs came and went. Opportunities fell through. Paths diverted. And I chafed as I hit those age milestones, especially 30. That was a triple whammy for me – divorced, no kids, and no doctoral degree, I was a three time failure and I did NOT handle it well.

I was also still carting around a whole load of pain and anger from the circumstances I’d faced in my 20s, so that emotional roller coaster ride was intense.

35 is hard, too. But I’m facing it differently. I’ve been through trauma and heartache and I’m still here. That means, at the very least, that I still have a purpose and I still have opportunity to grow.

But most importantly, facing regrets, disappointments, and shoulda-coulda-wouldas in my life with a little more maturity than in years past means that I’m modeling for my daughter the ways that I want her to speak into her own thought life. I’m working hard to apply the same grace to my inner dialogue that I want her to use.

It’s hard out here for a perfectionist, y’all. I get it. That inner mean girl is a BEE. But I’ve spent 35 years letting her hammer me over the head with my own failures, and I refuse to let that be my future story. My daughter’s future story. The legacy I leave.

If you’re like me, and coming to terms with the things you thought you’d accomplish and the things you never got to do, please know that you’re pretty amazing, right where you are. You are cherished and celebrated by the Creator. Nothing that you have done or not done is a surprise disappointment for Him; He chooses to love you, even knowing that you were totally never going to permanently give up chocolate.

Have a beautiful week, friends!

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