A lot has happened in 32 years. Wonderful things. Heartbreaking things. Once in a lifetime things.
I’ve spent the last week thinking about my life. I don’t feel 32.
There have been so many moments that have made me who I am today.
I know this, I believe this because, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
I had a great childhood. My parents are still happily married today.
They protected me. I just got to be a kid.
Lemonade stands in the summer.
Eager anticipation on Christmas morning.
Something many children never get to experience.
They tolerated the loud singing from my bedroom. They cheered me on when I sang in front of large crowds.
They took me to Nashville and stood in line with me for eight hours to see Garth Brooks in concert.
I’ve been to Disney world to shake Mickey’s hand. I’ve been camping in the mountains of Colorado more times than I can count.
I can see the lighting as if it were yesterday. We were in our tent tucked under massive pine trees. I could see each flash despite my eyes being squeezed tight with my sleeping bag over my head.
I think that’s the first time I ever heard my dad curse.
I met my best friend my sophomore year of high school. She led me to Christ.
She’s still my best friend today.
There was youth group and falling more in love with Jesus.
We toilet papered houses. We went hog hunting. We stood and prayed before the football game when the law said we couldn’t.
I was devastated and completely turned off by church when I witnessed hypocrisy for the first time.
The years passed and I fell in love for the first time.
I skipped class to spend time with him. My grades the first semester of college reflected that.
Then he broke my heart.
My dad told me to let him go. It would be okay.
Eventually it was.
I had a dream. One I’d held in my heart since sixth grade.
I applied. I got accepted.
I told my parents I was going.
We loaded a Uhaul and drove north across the Red River.
This Texas girl was in enemy territory.
Those first few months were torture. I was drowning in loneliness.
But each day got easier.
I worked on my journalism degree while landing a job at the state newspaper.
I made the front page.
I covered the news and I dated all the wrong guys.
I was no longer drowning in loneliness, but in debt.
I loved Jesus, but I stayed away from church. I had been burned.
I volunteered at the children’s hospital. Another dream I’d had since a young age.
Each young cancer patient captured a piece of my heart. It crumbled when they didn’t win the battle.
But there will always be blue dogs and butterflies to remind me of the precious memories we shared.
I’ve been a reporter, a fundraiser, and worked in public relations.
I stayed in unhealthy relationships longer than I should have.
But finally at the age of 25, I decided it was okay being single.
Then I met him.
But I didn’t want to go on a date with him.
He wasn’t like any of the other guys I had dated.
(Probably a good thing…)
Eventually I said yes.
It didn’t take long for me to realize he was different.
And nine months later, on a beach in Maui, he asked me to marry him.
I said yes.
I still think we should have gotten married on the beach.
Weddings are overrated.
I used the men’s bathroom before walking down the aisle and cried during the entire ceremony.
My wedding cake was a disaster.
But as stressful as the wedding was, we would discover marriage could be even more so.
There’s been infertility.
But there’s always been faith.
There was a promise.
We stepped out and followed God’s call for us to adopt.
There’s nothing easy about adoption.
Two years after starting the process, the promise was fulfilled, but it didn’t come without a price.
Literally and figuratively.
We lost friends.
I was scared I was going to lose my mother to cancer before she ever met her grandson.
But in the end a baby boy stole my heart and I became is mommy.
It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had. It’s also the most rewarding.
Somehow between keeping my marriage together and calming a colicky baby, I wrote a book.
And that’s just a glimpse of the past 32 years.
I would say I have a lot to celebrate today.