Saturday I turned 28.
I have always been the youngest of the ladies around me. The youngest married. The youngest mother in the church. The youngest elders' wife. The youngest of my friends. But this year, in particular, I am noticing I no longer am. It is a really weird feeling to hear that someone is actually younger than I am, when for so long, I had to practically hide in shame of my age. I hated to tell people.
Now, I no longer am the youngest wife, mother or woman in church or in relationships and, while still YOUNG, I am no longer ashamed of being "too young" to be respected. People can respect me-or not. Some people will respect me because I act respectably and some people will not regardless of that fact. The truth of the matter is I can't MAKE people respect me which actually lifts a huge burden for me.
I have learned this and many other lessons this year. In honor of my 28th, here are 28 things I have learned.
#1) The person I am today is not who I am going to be tomorrow and that is one of the most exciting truths in life. I am not done. God is not finished with me. New mercies are fresh every morning.
#2) A woman doesn't have to wear feedsacks or be frumpy to be modest. Those who say so are not speaking out of modesty issues, but out of heart issues of their own. Nor does she have to wear dresses every.single.day to be feminine.
#3) Friends who always try and make you feel guilty about being who you are~ really are not friends at all.
#4) I can step in chicken poo while barefoot and not upchuck. REALLY!
#5) The most difficult things to do in life are usually the most worthwhile.
#6) Listening to debates, lectures and sermons while working is really refreshing and enlightening. I like when my mind and my hands work simultaneously.
#7) Husband kisses are well worth waiting for.
#8) Sometimes what you think are gifts are actually curses and those little things that you don't give second thought to, usually are the best gifts there are.
#9) If people gossip to you-they gossip ABOUT you.
#10) If women gossip, if women complain about their husbands, if women can't control their children, if women are never satisfied or joyful-avoid them. You will not help to raise them up, they will bring you down. Similarly:
#11) Sometimes you can have a bigger impact on someones' life by NOT talking or participating or even arguing for Truth. Sometimes, quietly DOING what is right when you think no one is watching will make a greater impact.
#12) A husband that defends you and stands by you is a treasure.
#13) I CAN teach a child to read. Who knew?
#14) Raw eggs in smoothies aren't that bad. In fact, you don't even know they are there!
#15) A faithful husband is not brought about by my own perfection, but by God's grace.
#16) When you are so mad you could spit fire, keep your mouth closed.
#17) Words are dangerous. Thinking before you speak is sometimes not good enough. Sometimes, you need to step away first. Sometimes you need a night to sleep on it to gain a new perspective. THEN think before you speak.
#18) I need to be creative. I need to sew. I need to write. I need to bake. I need to garden. I need to take photos. I become a sourpuss if I am away from handmade/ hand-making beauty for too long.
#19) Just BECAUSE I sew and I garden and I bake and you don't doesn't make me better than you. You have different talents than I do. Do not judge me or make me feel guilty for being who I am. Understand that your value is found in different areas.
#20) Happy wrinkles are beautiful.
#21) You can never please everyone. Ever. Try not to become consumed in being ACCEPTED by man. Think only of standing before God. Think only of how HE sees you. Strive for HIS delight and acceptance and don't worry about those people that are always causing problems in your life.
#22) The treasures worth storing up are those in the hearts and minds of your children.
#23) I am most beautiful when I see myself in my children.
#24) The best way to teach your children is to show them. Teach them to be creative by being creative yourself. Teach your children to love learning by seeking out knowledge. Teach your children respect by being respectful and patience by being patient.
#25) Joy is not something that you just FEEL, but something that you seek. Find joy in sparkling eyes, in a good meal, in butterfly powder left on your fingers, in the compliment of a child. Seek it, FIND it, and delight in it and you will find that it will consume your heart.
#26) The government does NOT have your best interests in mind. Don't trust them. Also-don't trust people just because they are well-meaning. Don't accept truths just because that is how you were raised or because it is easier than finding out for yourself. Always SEEK TRUTH. Don't just trust that things are as they ought to be.
#27) At 28 and after nearly 8 years of marriage, I want (and NEED) to be courted as much as I did when I was 19. Maybe more.
#28) Every moment can be wasted or used fruitfully. However it is played out, I am not the victim, but the choice-maker.
and one to grow on:
#29) My life is the most satisfying, heart-throbbingly wonderful vision I ever could have hoped for and I wouldn't change a thing about it.