I have officially reached the earth-shattering landmark age of 25, more fondly referred to as a quarter of a century, and am feeling absolutely no different from the less intimidating age of 24. As all have experienced, you awaken on the day of your birth and are asked the classic question of, “How does it feel to be (insert age)?!” You sit and ponder the question, realizing you’ve awakened this day, as any other, with the same face, hair, and desire to snooze just ten more minutes. Each year seems to sneak upon us like an animal stalking its prey- slowly, each movement almost completely undetectable, until SUDDENLY, it strikes.
Dramatics aside, time and its ceaseless motion passes much more quickly than we realize. So as this 25th year of life is just beginning, I decided to take the time to reflect upon where I am, where I’ve been, and where I am headed.
WHERE I HAVE BEEN
This is definitely one of the more interesting, and lengthy, sections of the summation of my life. For those who don’t already know, for the greater part of 20 years, my life could easily have kept the interest of any and all reality tv fans, equipped with drama, tragedy, and lust. What most viewers who thrive in watching the horrors of others’ scandalous lives don’t realize is that behind the fun parties, attractive relationships, and seeming “happiness”, lies the beast of unfulfilment, loneliness, and pain. As someone who lived this life, while in the midst of poor choices, I too, was blind to the reality of the long-term suffering I was and would later experience.
When reflecting on this huge portion of my life I no longer felt the sting of fresh memories nor did I experience the regret that once filled my heart. Although the Lord does not will us to sin, He does use our unfavorable choices to teach us, allow us to bring comfort to others who are in the midst of similar situations, and glorify Him for His mercy.
WHERE I AM
After my 180 degree turn from who I once was and beginning the trudge uphill to who I am trying to become, by God’s grace alone, I realize that I am the happiest I have ever been in my life. It has taken much trial and error, the acceptance of one of FMC’s greatest teachings, “It’s not all about me”, and experiencing others who, in the midst of their extreme suffering, wake up every morning joy-filled and eager to serve. It is true that I have not crossed off my teenage checklist of “What My Life Will Look Like by 25” but I have had some of the greatest adventures I never could have possibly foreseen.
WHERE I AM GOING
As my parents and dear friends can attest, this last section is still in the works. 🙂 However, after a week of three scriptural reinforcers from Mass, I realize what still needs to be done:
“You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.” Matthew 23:27-28
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean.” Matthew 23:25-26
“From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.” Mark 7:21-23
Talk about driving a point home! Although on the surface these chastisements seem a bit blunt or harsh, I find that in Christ’s mercy He desires us to become the best version of ourselves, the version He desired when the world was created. So, with great humility that comes from being called out, I am eager to continue my formation and my work at preparing my heart for what is next and for becoming a person more able to love, serve, and care for all He places in my path.
These past two years of service in China have been the greatest of my life and have helped to prepare me to be a better sister, daughter, friend, and eventually wife and mother. I cannot imagine saying goodbye to the many loved ones and friends I have made here but I know that with a heart full of trust and faith, I will continue to be amazed by what He has in store. On September 19th I will be stepping back onto American soil and continuing my pilgrimage as a 25-year-old woman. Cheers to many new adventures and a life lived to the full!
Let us keep one another in prayer.