365 days ago, it hit me that I was about to be be 30. Me, 30 years old! I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around the fact I was about to hit such a huge milestone in my life. I didn’t feel 30. My life didn’t seem to have all the pieces together that a 30-year-old would. I felt incomplete and not ready to be a “real adult”. After spending some time in prayer, I realized that God has me exactly where he wants me to be. I have all I need right now. And I am all I need to be right now. How refreshing to know that I don’t have to strive after earthly goals and ambitions. I just get to live. Live in the moment and live for the moment. So I set out on this journey. A journey of 30 things I wanted to accomplish before I turned 30. Now, I didn’t reach every item on the list like #9 Read 30 books or #22 eat clean for 30 days. But I lived, and the results were amazing. I have seen more, done more, read more, wrote more, prayed more, laughed more, cried more, lived more than I have in any other year of my life. Here are some highlights from my journey to 30:
#17 Surfing lessons in California
Now I don’t think that I come across as the surfer type. I’m not chiseled with a beach babe body, with long blond hair. But I LOVE the ocean. Let me repeat that for emphasis, I LOVE the ocean. From playing in the waves to sitting in the sand and listening to the waves crash on the shore, I am in total awe of the beauty God created in oceans. So I decided what better way to experience this creation, other than tackling those waves on a surfboard. So in April, my friend Jade and I set out on a West Coast expedition, and our first stop was San Diego’s Mission Beach. There, we first learned how to stand on the board on the sand, then we progressed to the real waves. Wave after wave, I tried to get up on my two feet. And wave after wave, I flopped, crashed, wiped out, toppled over, even managing to break my little finger. As the lesson was drawing near to a close, I mustered all the energy I had left, and with the final wave I managed to stand on the surfboard and ride the wave. What a feeling! In that moment, I was so consumed with the beauty and power of the waves that I had no room for worries or problems. In that moment, God used the rushing waves to remind me of his power and sovereignty.
#10 Be amazed
As our West Coast trip continued, we traveled from San Diego to LA and from LA to Las Vegas and from Vegas to the Grand Canyon. It was at the Grand Canyon that I accomplished #10 on my list Be amazed. Have you ever seen something so beautiful that you felt like were viewing God himself? That’s the feeling I received peering into the beauty and depth of the Grand Canyon. As I stood on the edge, I observed all the colors of the rocks and imagined God, the creator, carefully painting each rock and each crevice. That place is truly awe-inspiring.
#1 Complete a triathlon
This year I completed my first sprint triathlon. For me this was a huge feat and I entered the day with anxiety mixed with excitement and a sprinkling of sheer fear. individually the components didn’t frighten me; I have enjoyed swimming since I was very young and have never had any fear when it comes to water; when it came to biking I was felt very at ease at the thought of rolling casually 12 miles in the flat delta; and my thinking around the running was at least I could walk if I got tired. When tried to comprehend all three of these activities together, coupled with my months of inconsistent training and moments of lack of motivation, the night before the triathlon I was a nervous wreck. I tried to calm myself with my normal techniques, deep breathing, thinking of oceans, dinner with my mom and sisters, praying, but nothing worked I couldn’t catch my breath and I was drowning and I hadn’t even entered the lake yet. However, I was able to dig deeply into my second and often third wind to finish, and it was one of the most rewarding moments of my life. I just keep thinking about Philippians 3:14 “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” And press on I did, until I reached that finish line
#7 Give something meaningful to someone
This past July, my beloved Grandma Kizzie passed away. She was truly one of my favorite people. During her life, she imparted so much wisdom to me and poured me with unconditional love. At her memorial service, one of my aunts asked if I would be willing to say a few words about her life at the service. For anyone that knows me, they know that I am terrified of public speaking. However, I mustered all my strength and resolve and gave her a fitting tribute. There is not much that I could give my Grandma Kizzie that she didn’t already have. She was a women of valor, of love, of faith, of charisma, of courage. She lived a life, I would be lucky to emulate. And in those few words I spoke at her service, I thanked her for being my grandmother and the impact she had on my life.
#3 Get a new stamp in passport
So in October en route to Africa, I had layovers in Amsterdam and London, thereby accomplishing number three on my list: “Get a new stamp in passport.”
#8 Run a race
This may be my favorite and most surprising things on my list. When I initially thought of completing a race, I was thinking about a 5k or half marathon, little did I know the race would occur across the globe on a tennis court. In October, when I was volunteering and teaching tennis in Kenya one day after practice, I had the girls running suicides for fitness. They were getting exhausted, but I kept pushing them to keep going. Finally they were all leaning over, every ounce of energy drained from the bodies. I knew they could go one more time, they just needed the extra motivation. Which of course was making it a foot race against “coach”. We raced and ran and laughed and raced some more until we were wiped, but I was full. Full of so much joy!
#4 Fall in love (object to be determined)
Alas, the tricky one! I would love to say that in the past twelve months I met a great guy, fell in love, and on my way to the wedding chapel. But that’s not how this story goes, even better I fell more in love with Jesus and the person he created me to be. I have found my passions and gifts. I have found a joy unspeakable. I have been blessed enough to have formed new friendships through church, bible study, prayer group. I have loved every minute of the past year. Though it was difficult at times, God has always been faithful, and I trust Him wholeheartedly with my life and my future. I am head over heels in love with my creator and my sustainer. I love Jesus, and I am falling more in love with me every day.
So what’s left?
#30 Have a magical birthday
And what I have realized is the magic is not in the action, it’s in the love shared by family and friends. The gift of grace and forgiveness from God make every day a magical miracle. My birthday will be magical because I believe in The Lord, and his mercies are new every morning. Whatever circumstances I may face, God is good, and He is loving and kind. I don’t know how I will actually spend my birthday, but I can guarantee you it will begin in thanks to God for all he has done, and all he will continue doing in my life. My journey to 30 has been amazing, and am I ready to hit 30 now? Absolutely! Bring on the candles! Let’s see what this new year, decade, season has to offer. To God be the glory, forever. Amen.