Where am I going?
When I was staying in Nigeria, when it was just me and a chubby little one-year-old, waiting for a consulate to issue a visa so our family could be whole, I was scared. I was in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people and I wondered if I could do it. If I could really be brave. But as I wrapped Joseph’s soft and squishy toddler body onto my back, I felt it. I felt what it’s like to be woman who walks bravely. I laced up my shoes and I triple-locked the bullet-proof doors and set shaky feet on the red dirt road. I breathed in foreign air and started walking toward the consulate. I wasn’t scared any more. Because my son was a living reminder in hope and grace and love overflowing. He needed a mama to be brave for him and I needed him to find my bravery.
I knew where I was going.
I’ve been asking myself that Where am I going? question again lately. As I kiss my husband goodbye, as I pull covers over my sleeping toddler, as I hang up my preschooler’s backpack.
Where am I going?
Today is the last day of my 26th year. For some, probably silly reason, turning 27 makes me feel a little sad. I don’t know why. For all my life, I’ve wanted to be older. Wiser. More mature.
But now I’m inching my way toward 30 and I’m pretty sure that qualifies as an adult, but I’m not sure how to feel. I’m seeking strength that says I’m brave to be the woman God created me to be. That confidence that says we all have a part to play and I’ll be damned if I don’t play mine.
I’m stuck in this swirling symphony, and I’ve forgotten to play my part. I don’t even know which section I’m sitting in, let alone what instrument I’m supposed to be playing. I’m in the middle of the melody and I’m searching for the conductor.
There’s beauty in the chaos, though.
I have some goals for my 27th year. People I want to love. Things I want to do. Dreams I want to chase. Grace I want to live.
For years, I’ve watched women who shrink and women who grow. Women who retreat into themselves and women who step into the unknown.
I want to be the latter.
And I know I can be. I know that I can do hard things and I know that I can take risks because I serve a God who knit me together and promises to light the darkness. I don’t have to be afraid of others or scared to live a life that looks different because that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.
In this advent season, I’m dwelling in the reminder that God came in the form of an infant. He entered into this world in the midst of dirty animals and hay bales. He left his perfect Kingdom to turn the kingdoms of the world upside down and inside out. He came to serve the poor and eat with the oppressed and heal the hurting and set the captives free. What kind of a King does this?
The kind of King who says, Be still and know that I am God. The kind of King who says, Behold, I am doing a new thing.
So in my 27th year, I want God to refine me. I want him to speak into my heart and I want to be so in-step with him that I can’t help but follow where he leads. I want to fight against temptation to find approval and affirmation in this world. I want to wrestle from worry and weakness and I want to be filled with the fruits of his Spirit — the fruits of a life lived whole.
On this last day of being 26, I stop to reflect.
I’m humbled and brought to my knees in gratitude that I get to walk through life with a husband and two little boys that provide me with belly laughs and bear hugs, every single day. I’m thankful for so much joy. For family formed in ways that only points to the power of the cross. I’m thankful that I get to be a woman in this time and place in history who gets to use her voice without the fear of oppression. I’m thankful that I have the privilege of standing with brothers and sisters in my country and throughout this big world of ours who see injustice every single day.
I’m thankful that life isn’t a fixed point, but a fluid journey that takes us places we never even knew existed.
I’m not the woman I was a year ago, and I hope, in a year from now, not to be the woman I am today.
27? Let’s do this thing.