Today I celebrate my thirtieth birthday. The big 3-0, dirty thirty, whatever you want to call it. I really don’t have any mixed emotions about turning thirty. I’m excited about it. I feel like there’s so much good ahead of me. But it is strange to have a full decade to look back and truly reflect on. I couldn’t really do that at any other “milestone” birthday before this one (my twenty year old self wasn’t quite wise enough to look back on lessons learned for years 10-19, ya know?).
I’ll tell you this first. Year 29 was a good year. Maybe the best for me yet. I’ve changed and grown significantly in the last 10 years (thank the Lord). But this past year just stands out to me as one of major growth and happiness. Maybe most importantly, we welcomed our sweet Gisbon to the world in January. He is pure joy. And me? I feel good and confident in my own skin, in being who I am. I am (and am becoming) more settled and sure of myself and my life each day. I think that’s what has me most looking forward to my thirties – continuing to grow in confidence and certainty.
I don’t mean to diminish or act like years 20-28 were bad. Because they definitely weren’t. I married Jonathan when I was 20. We had our first baby, Evan, when I was 24. We welcomed Porter at 26, built and moved into our forever home at 27. We got rooted into our incredible church, made good friends, and learned the truth about our identity in Jesus. There was so much positive growth and change in my life. But sometime in the last year or two God started stirring some things up inside of me. He opened my eyes to ways I could make a difference in the world, and ways I could use my talents and ideas. I think that’s probably just part of growing older – seeing outside of yourself and gaining confidence. But He also started to unpack some layers and burdens I didn’t even know I was carrying.
My twentieth birthday was kind of like a sad scene in a movie. Jonathan planned dinner at one of my favorite restaurants and we invited all of my friends. We reserved a table for ten, showed up at the restaurant….and none of my friends came. Yep. Two of Jonathan’s friends came (who were also people I was friends with, but not my friends, ya know?). It definitely hurt my feelings, but I don’t think I realized how big of a wound it caused until recently. I used to love my birthday, and I think that night marked the night that I really quit trying to plan anything for myself.
I have told that story as a silly anecdote year after year. But underneath my laugh about it was a whole lot of hurt. And at the root of it was the fear that no one would show up for me.
I think without realizing it I’ve allowed myself to spend the last 10 years feeling “less than” in the friend department. Like I didn’t have much to offer. I let myself slide into feeling like the back-burner friend – the add on, the obligatory invite. In some instances, sure it may have been true. But I am just now getting to the point where I can accept that I do have something, a lot of things, to offer. That I am a good friend. I’m not trying to sound cocky or toot my own horn. But I am going to stop under-valuing myself and believing the lie that I don’t bring much to the table. Because that’s a miserable way to live. I want rich and deep friendships, and if I’m continuously second-guessing myself then those relationships are going to suffer. I’m going to be firmly planted in who I am and the personality God has given me…the “Hannah expression of Jesus”. I’m going to invest my time in life-giving people and friendships. God’s sent me the most amazing, wonderful friends. And I want to be that kind of friend to them, too.
Turning 30 has me wanting to leave a lot of the mess of my 20s in the dust. I’m “too old” to live under that kind of bondage. Although honestly I wouldn’t really want to go back and change anything about my life and circumstances because they brought me to where I am now, sometimes I wish I could go back and whisper some truth and hope into the ear of that girl I once was. For her to know of the good things and good friends to come down the road.
This birthday has already been a great one. And it’s been healing; healing in ways I didn’t realize I needed it to be because of wounds that have been buried deep. The opening of those wounds has of course been painful, but also very cathartic. I’m excited about the year and the decade ahead and all of its possibilities. I feel like I’m just cracking the door open to all God has ahead of me. And I can’t wait to be sitting down a year from today and reflecting on all of it to share with you. It’s going to be good, y’all. I can feel it.
If you missed it earlier this month, Courtney shared her thoughts on turning 30 and things she would tell her 20 year old self.