I caught a glimpse of myself today in the mirror and smirked. The once smooth and flawless skin I possessed has now been marked by long lines and dark shadows. The whites of my eyes not as bright as they once were and more freckles adorning my cheeks. My face, although completely recognizable and still 100% me, is not what it used to be even in spite of my attempts to make it look younger and effortless.

I looked deep into my green eyes staring back at me in the mirror, lines darting out from each corner creating continuous wrinkles towards my hairline. I used to be afraid of getting older, thinking mid-thirties sounded over the hill in my early twenties. But now that I am here, I’m grateful. Thankful really, considering the past decade knowing full well each and every element makes me who I am today.

As I paused to examine the soft lines, I knew how each one of those lines were a tale of how I got to where I am in this very moment. And by following each and every one of those lines, it would lead me down a journey entailing so much joy and pain. Love and heartbreak. Confidence and insecurities. Completely contrasting emotions coexisting, hand in hand, me, being the common thread as God has gone before me, paving the way, knowing fully beforehand each hardship and celebration I would encounter.

My life thus far has been a beautiful and glorious mess of circumstances. Going from a predominantly care-free childhood, to young twenties, to newly married, to being a missionary in a foreign country, to birthing three babies, to finding myself smack in the middle of my mid-thirties experiencing life differently than I had ever imagined. Complete with nearly every possible emotion.

My eyes look more tired than they did a decade ago but they also dance with excitement, with a new expectation, a glimmer of endless possibilities.

The outward appearance evident of the days and months and years leading me to this exact moment in time. The internal just as reflective of the circumstances, even if not marked by apparent wrinkles and dark circles, but wisdom and a perspective shift.

The reflection staring back at me had a confidence I have only seen in more recent months. A direct result of my heart’s position, knowing that no matter what, I am loved by the Creator of the universe. Whatever circumstances I find myself in, whatever the hard things yet to come, my life is secure in Christ, He who created me in His image.

Do I always remember this? Nope! That’s part of the problem. I often push it from my mind, although not intentionally. More often due to the busyness and demands of my every day life, coupled with getting my priorities out of order, as well as my inner desire to keep things moving, fresh, and exciting.

Those are the days my tolerance is low and frustration seems to be more easily triggered by arguing kids, the never ending laundry, and the dishes piled high in my sink.

Those are the days I am scurrying around from place to place and thing to thing with hardly a breath in between.

Those are the days I give into the lies that ring loudly in my ears that I am not good enough. I am missing the mark. I am overwhelmed and have no business even pursing the dreams God has woven into my heart.

If I am honest, those days probably outweigh the days I operate from a place of security in the Lord. Yet, my desire is to be more proactive in setting myself up for success while allowing for grace to cover me in the moments I don’t succeed.

But what I see in written in the wrinkles on my face and the circles under my eyes is HOPE.

Hope that I can do the good works God has set before me from His strength. Hope that in the moments I am at the end of myself, His grace will cover me. Hope that when I finish this race I will hear the words “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

I almost can’t quite comprehend the amount of life I have lived in such short period of time. But what I do know is all of those events have continued to shape in the woman I am even on this day.

My hope in the deepest part of my heart is to be reminded of these truths, the growth, the confidence I now walk in on a more regular basis. That I can really take the time to pause and remember the memorial stones placed in my life as a point of reference and faithfulness of how God brought me from there to even here.

Let’s keep running well, my friends. In the moments of defeat and in the moments of victory. On the days we blow it and the days grace covers it all. You are so deeply loved by the Creator of the Universe.

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