Editor’s note: The views expressed in this blog are mine and mine only.
As I type this sitting at my desk at home, I’m less than a week out from turning 40! I have made jokes about the big day and have felt some mixed emotions about heading into another decade, but deep down my heart is full. While it is common for most of us women to not embrace aging, I can honestly say this is the most whole I have ever felt in my life.
Twenty years ago when I dropped out of college to leave home and join the military I had no idea what was ahead of me. It didn’t seem like I was about to embark on a journey, but leaving my parents home in Georgia was absolutely the beginning of an incredible journey full of ups and downs.
I really had no plan. I was young, naïve and really craved finding my place in this world. Dealing with trauma at a very young age didn’t put me in the best mental position to thrive on my own. My twenties ended up being full of bad relationship decisions, hurt, pain, and more traumas. I also realized being on my own for the first time my life continued to be an extension of my childhood. I continued to feel unloved, unwanted and I didn’t quite have the confidence to understand my gifts and abilities. I never knew like all of you that I too was a child of God.
I believe we all have a story. Our stories are deliberate, by design and shape us into who we become. Ephesians Chapter 2 Verse 10 states “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
God uniquely made each of us and he has us go through various things so we can fulfill our purpose in life. When I was younger, trying to figure out my life, all I could ever keep thinking was why me? I would envy others around me who came from stable homes, had confidence, and seemed to be truly happy in their life. Little did I know that I would someday be restored and become someone completely different today than the 20 year old me who got on an airplane to get away from home. I became the woman God created me to be.
Today, I am blessed with an amazing career as a military officer, traveled the world, earned my graduate degree, developed healthy relationships, learned to truly take care of my body after living extremes and dealing with self hatred, learned to love a wonderful partner, rededicated my life to Christ and have stopped chasing all of the superficial things I used to think would fulfill me. I use my experiences to mentor others and also find fulfillment in lifting others up. I have a wonderful passion for working with women and being part of communities that help inspire. If my testimony can help at least one person I know I have lived out my purpose.
I have learned so much in the last 20 years. God has helped to restore my confidence, inner peace, and filled the hole in my heart I have felt for years. He has given me strength to overcome some of the biggest obstacles in life and he will continue to be there for you too!
At nearly 40 years old, I feel a sense of peace and balance that is unexplainable. I wake up each day with a grateful heart. I still have moments where I battle darkness, but learning to rely on my faith and know how to take care of myself physically has helped me to overcome so much. I’m thankful I never gave up.