on turning 30

I’ve always prided myself on being emotionally older than my years and not being concerned with the vain aspects of aging – wrinkles, grey hairs, a sudden distaste for Bieber.

But I’m not gonna lie, aging out of my 20’s and into my 30’s has been a little rough on me.

I’ve recently heard of a study (probably on the Today show, because that’s what old people like me watch) that women begin to feel old at 30 and men don’t begin to feel old until 50. My logical self is well aware that I’m feeling old solely because it’s what society is telling me I should feel. I’m no longer even close to the age of the women on the magazine covers at the checkout, the Victoria’s Secret models, or the starlets on the red carpet. Every form of media I consume screams to me that my years of being considered worthwhile are quickly coming to a close. I might be able to prolong those years with some good wrinkle cream, hair dye, and a working knowledge of the latest Pretty Little Liars plot, but it’s ultimately a race against time and I’m quickly losing ground. In the eyes of our popular culture, the further away from my 20’s I become, the more obsolete my value becomes.

At least that would be the case if I found my identity and worth in the eyes of the popular culture.

Sure, it’s a constant struggle. But I guess it’s a good thing I’m working hard to find my worth in the One who created me. When I quiet my heart and listen, it turns out He has all sorts of thoughts on the subject of aging. When I can see myself through His eyes, I can clearly see that the process of getting older and living life is beautiful.

Those crows feet at the corners of my eyes are because my eyes squint quite small when I smile. With every laugh, giggle, and smile of my life, my body has worked to make a permanent impression to remind me that mine has been a joyful life. The faint lines on my forehead are appearing because I lower my eyebrows when I’m thinking (I’m doing it even now). What a blessed life I’ve led – to soak in knowledge, to process, to learn, to escape through the world of books. As those lines deepen in the coming years, I want to remember the horizons that have been broadened, the assumptions that have been challenged, and the heart that has been convicted.

Memories of a life well lived find themselves tucked away all over this body of mine, too. My shape has been changed through the process of lives being created inside of me. I may never see the flatness that my stomach once was, but I know that same stomach grew because I was privileged to nurture two tiny, precious, little boys. My stretch marks are permanent marks of love, of sacrifice, of acknowledging that my body was created for something more. Something deeper.

Something profound.

When I remember that my Creator quite literally knows exactly how many hairs are on my head, I can’t seem to fathom why that one grey one bothers me so much.

When I look to God at my most vulnerable moments and ask, “What do you think of me?” I’m always surprised. I assume His words to me are going to be harsh and condemning, but in my moments of laying myself before Him they never are. Instead, He gently reminds me that my purpose is greater than I know. My worth is priceless, ageless, and certainly far beyond my level of attractiveness. He whispers to me memories of His hand in my life, of my calling as a mother, wife, listener, counselor, friend, daughter, minister…child of God.

The magazine covers, the insecurities, the barrage of all the things I’m not – they get hazy when my eyes are turned to Him, and what I can clearly see is a life well lived. A life lived with passion, with purpose, with determination, with sacrifice, with pain, with reckless abandon. The fact that my body carries permanent reminders of my fondest memories is astounding. What a blessing. What a blessing it is to age – to accrue wisdom, grace, and yes – even wrinkles.

So what if I’m 30?

Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be.

{ Robert Browning}

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2 thoughts on “on turning 30

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