Thirty

birthday flowers

This week I turn thirty.

I've heard again and again from various people that your thirties are amazing.  A couple of years ago, I was living for this hope, because an eating disorder and other health issues had made life a living hell.

And then -- God moved, the chains of disordered eating fell away, and I was pregnant with the child we had been cautioned not to hope for.

One year ago, when I turned twenty-nine, I wasn't as desperate for change as I had once been.  But I still looked forward to turning thirty -- after all, it would be the first of many birthdays that I'd celebrate alongside our daughter.

Or so I thought.

I have never been resistant to turning thirty, to reaching this new decade of life -- until the past few weeks.  My birthday, it just serves to highlight that this very important person is missing.  I know what this is -- one of many in the series of milestone "firsts" that you have to endure in the terrible year after your loved one has died. 

But I don't want to turn thirty without her.  And really, I don't want to live without her.  But I don't have a choice, and so I am.  And not begrudgingly.  I am doing this thing called life, as best I am able.

It's hard to feel celebratory, though.  We had a small party with my wonderful in-laws yesterday, complete with birthday cake and birthday pie, but the whole time I felt rather embarrassed because of how little my heart is in it this year. 

But still . . . year thirty.  It is hard not to reflect on how far I've come in this past three decades, how God has brought me again and again through some truly devastating things.  The lines on my forehead and sprouting from the corners of my eyes, the bulge of a the belly that has grown two children, the callouses on my feet and scars on my legs -- these things tell a story of a rich thirty years that, no matter the agony of circumstance, keeps on ending in victory.

That is the truth I am celebrating on my birthday this year.

birthday flowers

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