I feel like I could write an entire book as I reflect on my life from forty to forty one. That whole "a lot can change in a year" thing is massively true in general and in my case. But the biggest thing that has not changed is the depth of gratitude that resides in my soul. I have never actually been more excited about a birthday, an upcoming year, in my life. There is this tangible expectancy that is fueling me as I look towards my future. And because I serve a big God, my expectations are big.
And here's what I've learned about expectations - they sometimes don't get met, they sometimes are met and they sometimes are exceeded. They are liquid and require daily nurturing. Sometimes, they require to be removed. Sometimes, they require to be bigger than we could ever think possible.
A year ago if you asked me if for my 40th year my life would get demo'd and I'd get divorced from the person I planned on spending the rest of my life with, I would have given you a look of confusion as no way that would ever happen. But, it did. That happened. Unmet expectations.
A year ago if you would have asked me if I'd be navigating single motherhood, in therapy learning how to co-parent and begging God to protect my daughter from any and all pain, I would have told you you are talking to the wrong person as that would never happen. But it did. That happened. Unmet expectations.
Or how about this one - COVID 19. I need not waste energy on this as this is a shared experience. The world closed. That happened. Unmet expectations.
Hours of therapy, oceans of tears.
Dibilitating pain, producing fear of my future. And then fear of more pain, Such a fun cycle, let me tell ya.
Confusion and chaos and questioning.
How is this my life? How is it possible my heart shattered in one million pieces? How would I rebuild from this? Did I deserve this? What is God's plan?
Each day I took it all to God, to my people. I begged, I pleaded, I wept, I slept.
And then, redemption. Even amidst the chaos, God was redeeming it all. Producing in me something new, something beautiful, something miraculous.
The unmet expectations can - and do - co-exist with the met and exceeded expectations.
The love of my friends and family had me - and still have me - in tears because it's so overwhelming. I've never experienced love from my people like I did in the last year. It's the most beautiful, humble thing on the planet. They showed up. Held me. Listened to me. Protected me. Spoke life over me. Loved me fully. Exceeded expectations.
God's grace and love covered me in new ways, keeping me whole, keeping my at peace. He delivered miracle and after miracle, awakening me to just how present He is in my life. He has rebuilt me and given me new eyes, a new heart and a new spirit. He has shown and is showing me what love is and it's the most surreal, beautiful experience I've ever been a part of. Exceeded expectations.
My business has grown, has given me more joy and God continues to bless it all. Walking fully in my purpose in my career is something I've prayed for for years and I am living it right now and it's just so damn good. Exceeded expectations.
And even when my expectations don't get met, it is so clear to me that God makes a way. The story doesn't stop at the pain. There's always a before and after. ALWAYS.
Chapters closed, doors opened.
Heart shattered, heart being made whole.
Confusion turned to clarity.
Fear to faith.
Anger to peace.
Sadness to joy.
Lost to love.
Before and after.
Forty to forty one.
Dearest fortieth year. Thank you. Thank you for not meeting my expectations. Thank you for meeting them. And thank you for exceeding them. This year will forever be marked on my soul and one I look back with nothing but gratitude. For the pain and growth, for the love and miracles.
Dearest forty first year. I am ready for you. I believe, heart and soul, you will exceed all of my expectations. And I know for certain when I'm faced with unmet expectations, God has it and faith will prevail, as will love. That those unmet expectations will lead to progress and healing and restoration.
I'm walking - or perhaps running - into forty one anchored with...
Warrior mode is on. Let's do this.
Anchored and onward.