Turning Thirty

Only a month ago I turned 30 years old. This landmark age causes some people to react in one of a few ways. For example, one may feel the urge to take on some adventurous pursuit because they realize that life is short. Another may decide that it is finally time to buckle down and get a “real” job or change in lifestyle. While another may become depressed that they are getting “old” and have not yet achieved some goal they had hoped for, like getting married or finishing a degree.

Thirty hit me strangely. On the one hand, I was excited to finally be at the age when people take you more seriously. Being a teacher, this is important to me, as I am in a position of authority and also seek the respect of my students and their parents. Still, there was something melancholy about the landmark that made me wonder.

Friends of mine tried to down-play it. They would tell me how it’s just another day, or how they barely remember what they did on their 30th. Upon hearing a brief, and somewhat condescending lecture from one friend about how our culture makes too much of age and youth, I took stock of what I was feeling.

After some introspection, I realized that the bitter-sweet age of thirty did not represent growing old or losing my youth. For me, thirty represents a hope deferred.

A hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

–Proverbs 13:12

Losing a pregnancy at age twenty-nine after trying for two years to conceive made 30 feel like an obtusely round number. What’s more is that some of my closest friends have had babies by now. I have been feeling a bit left out, like turning thirty means that I had missed the bus.

Now, nine months after my miscarriage, each monthly cycle is a reminder that I am just not in control of how this goes. One can make plans to get married, get a degree and certificates, start a career, but when it comes to results, it seems that King Solomon had it figured out.

Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind…

–Ecclesiastes 2:11

This is not to say that I have fallen into pessimism, on the contrary. I have come to understand the meaning in the Proverb, A man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. My friends and family may praise me for “doing life right,” but ultimately, I am a fool for trying to control my own path. The truth is, my steps are guided by the Lord, and I can only walk where he has determined I will go.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that you do all things well. I acknowledge that you do not need my help. Lord, please take my life and my heart into your hands. I can’t do this alone – in fact, I acknowledge that I don’t have any control at all. Help me Lord to surrender my desires to you and trust you for the outcome. Grant me your peace and grace as I wait patiently for your will. In the glory of your name, Jesus. Amen.

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