Today is the big 3-0 day. For whatever reasons, there are certain birthdays that get more attention than others, calling us to reflect upon our life until that point. I still remember the week leading up to turning 10; I remember expecting to experience a tangible change within me when I hit double digits! 18 was a “coming of age” day, and 21 was met in my final year of university with an excitement for what was to come. The last couple of weeks leading up to my 30th were passed reflecting over my 20s.
I think that how we approach such birthdays has a lot to do with how we’re feeling in our life at that point. For me, turning 30 has given me a sense of awe towards God for the seasons He takes us through, and also joy in what life looks like when lived with Him.
There are a few things in my 20s that I regret, but very few, and each and everyone of these were times I walked away from God’s will or leading. Thankfully His grace is sufficient for these times. Whenever I dwell too long upon them, He either uses it to bring healing, or reminds me of the cross that has covered all my sins.
Far more prominent in my reflections have been the adventures I have had in my 20s. I never would have believed you if you had told me at 20 that within 10 years I would:
- Graduate from university and work on and off as an Occupational Therapist;
- Be involved in missions in South Africa, Zambia, Rwanda, Uganda, DRC and Australia;
- Travel to 15 different nations outside of Australia and make South Africa my home base;
- Marry internationally;
- Co-found a ministry in the Democratic Republic of Congo;
- Establish the School of Biblical Studies in Rwanda;
- Publish three books across three genres of writing;
- Have dear friends and ministry partners spread across the globe;
- Not to mention travelling alone from South Africa to East Africa on local buses.
Quite frankly, I would have either laughed at you or burst into tears of terror!
And yet how should I look at this? Is it to boast? Not at all, because I know it is through Christ that I have done these things. God used me in this way, and it has been an adventure for me because that is how He created me. Others wouldn’t have found my life exciting, fulfilling or refreshing, because that is not how they were created. Our uniqueness gives us just one more reason to praise our Creator.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them (Psalm 139:13-16).
The list above could also make me fearful that the rest of my life could in no way match up to the first thirty years. I haven’t gone into the first 20 years of my life, but I believe I had a childhood and adolescence to match the best of them; the greatest blessing of which was, and remains, my family. Despite this, I enter into my 30s with a sense of excitement and anticipation.
Why the air of expectation? Because I know that God has set me up for more adventures as I live for Him. It will be a decade of entering into ministry as a married couple, as a single unit, and starting to raise a godly family. To live is Christ – in all we do. And when you live for God, life is never dull. Challenging? yes. But dull? certainly not! As long as I am in this world, I pray that I will walk in obedience to God’s directing.
. . . as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me . . . (Philippians 1:20-22).
What a joy it will be able to declare with Paul at the end of my life:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
So here’s to the next decade of living for and adventuring with our heavenly Father.