I’ve been doing this a few years, post-birthday, sharing where I am, how far I’ve come, and where I hope to go.
I have to say, 47 is weird. It’s a stone’s throw to 50, and wow, that’s an age I never gave a lot of thought to as a college student. That seems like yesterday.
My SON is the college student, not me.
In fact, I just got notice my college reunion, #25, is this year.
It’s a year where two of our children, Tom’s first two that I met when they were 12 and 10, are expecting sons this summer. We’re going to be grandparents. Yet, we have a middle schooler. And honestly? I relate more to teens than senior citizens. I’m eligible to be in the senior group in less than 10 years. And I just can’t see myself jumping all in for that. But the youth conferences I’m invited to attend as part of the adults helping out? I love it. Love it.
I have to color my sassy red hair monthly, but if I felt it were safe and I had that kind of money, it could be every other week. Red is hard to maintain, but what it covers is white. Snow white. And I am NOT going there just yet.
But 46 was a stumble, if not all-out free-fall in confidence. Menopause has been part of my life for years, thanks to surgery. Something about 2016 was a marker for everything to flip on me. Waking every hour. Volcanic temperatures. Voracious hunger. Mood swings I had not had in years. Depression. Anxiety. Weight gain.
So entering 47 is with a bit of trepidation. Thankfully, an endocrinologist helped get my health straightened out and I feel a lot better. But a tiny part wonders if it is short-term. There are times emotionally I feel completely fragile, and I hate it. People need me. And I don’t like spiraling out with no reason except hormones.
Yet, in those tears and exhaustion, so much happened that was GOOD. Our oldest son of the four kids got married to a wonderful woman. Our son graduated from high school and started pursuing education at Kent State. I started my own writing and speaking business/ministry. In three months I released two books in both print and eBook form. Now my hormones rebelling makes more sense…
It’s in writing I feel I’m on more stable ground. When I questioned God if I was doing the right thing, it was at 3:23 in the morning I woke and knew I was supposed to open my Bible to Colossians 3:23.
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Colossians 3:23
I feel free from numbers. Where my books rank. How much money they generate. I want to see readers living free in Christ. This 47th year I am on track to finish my first contemporary romance series with ENGAGED and start the first of six book in my new series about surrendering what others think. I’m not scared. I’m excited.
I take into 47 an amazing piece of wisdom my pastor shared when I doubted I could survive the stress and changes. He told me to picture an arch, and imagine Jesus on the other side. As long as I stayed on one side and Him on the other, a million tons of stuff could be on that arch and it would not break. That held true through all the things I mentioned, plus much more I have not.
It is true as I’ve watched the kids grow in Him through their personal valleys I know all too well: rejection. Loneliness. Depression. Anxiety. Doing the right thing and feeling completely alone. Their pain has been the most devastating thing to observe and feel so helpless. Yet, we’ve had the deepest most intimate prayer times we’ve ever had. In those times, God revealed so many awesome things. Messages of hope. Encouragement. That they are not alone. They are deeply cared for.
I’m 47 and full of hope for the world and people around me. Not because of the election results or new administration, but because there are so many promises I’ve prayed and prayed and believe breakthrough is close at hand. For our family. Friends who are hurting. Ministries that are 1000% ready to give all God asks of them, and have 1% provision as far as the world sees. I don’t know how or when, but I know it’s close.
And I guess to sum it up, it’s the same two words I’d use for turning 47.
I don’t know how to explain it, but I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach 2016 was going to be a long haul.
Some things I knew were happening—a wedding in the same time frame as a graduation. A child’s genetic testing. Another child transitioning from high school to college.
But, as the year unfolded, there were plenty of surprises.
- I felt a stirring I attribute to God that I was to my own ministry/business as an author and speaker. By February, I was moving forward with Surrendered Scribe Media. By March, ENTRUSTED was re released and ENTANGLED was released.
- My husband changed his job. I had a feeling this was coming, but what I didn’t anticipate was his working from home much of the time.
- My father-in-law passed away in July. The kindest man, talk about a huge void.
- Grief from loved one’s choices I couldn’t control (and still can’t!)
- A complete flip in health that was hormone/menopause related. It hit me HARD.
It was rough, and I honestly wanted to define the year that way. However, the word for my year is perspective, and I’ve really tried to apply that. I see why it is the word for me, because I learned a lot.
The absolute fear and anger I had over my husband being home on “my” schedule also offered a lunch partner at times, and help when I wasn’t able to get our child from school.
Watching God grow our loved ones closer through as they listened to us share with transparency regarding choices. Had I stayed grief-stricken, I don’t think God could have used us. Seeing it in time as an opportunity instead of devastation changed everything.
I’m sure there is more I’m not seeing yet, but perspective definitely helps me move forward and not dwell on the negative. As we wind the year down, we also had a very thankful Thanksgiving. Not only are we surviving all these things, but we learned Tom’s oldest daughter is expecting. It’s the first grandchild for us, and we are thrilled for her and her husband.
What are you thankful for this year? Do you think of perspective at all? How?
This is it! All week I’ve been sharing my posts from the Facebook Love Your Spouse Challenge. I hope you’ve been encouraged and wanting to apply oneness to your marriage. It’s worth it. Not easy. Worth it.
LOVE YOUR SPOUSE CHALLENGE, DAY 7
Here we are. In a couple weeks we celebrate our 20th. There were people who questioned the age difference or the fact I was entering in a ready-made family. We went through infertility, miscarriage, parent deaths, job changes, near death of child and then the day-to-day.
We are not a perfect couple. In all honesty, this has been a tough year. We both changed our work situations. We had a child marry and a child graduate. We lost a beloved parent. Just one is what specialists suggest a couple go through in a year. Not all of them. We are both all or nothing personalities and we are both introverts. Affection is not natural for me, and he can be technical. We have different perspectives as parents, especially with medical issues. These truths are challenges.
But, God. We get each other’s jokes and laugh. The jokes we have are precious and goofy. We don’t get away a lot, so our hot tub dates are how we catch up on what’s going on, talk finances, schedule, etc…
We might get annoyed by failure to close cupboards or slurping, but if someone comes against one of us, we have each other’s back. If there’s a good action movie at the cheap theater, we’re all over it.
If you’re contemplating marriage or aren’t quite at year 20, realize those day 1 challenge pictures won’t look the same on day 7. You won’t be the same, either. I pray you are better, stronger, and more committed to oneness than you are right now. It is truly worth it.
Goodreads Giveaway…don’t miss out!
I’m winding down sharing the Love Your Spouse Challenge, Day 6, from Facebook. Chances are you’ve been discouraged. That you’ve prayed for something and wondered if God ever heard. Be encouraged! We saw so many prayers answered as we watched Tom’s daughter marry and we interacted with so many people from Tom’s first marriage. It was a blessing and one of the highlights of my own marriage. Read on!
Love Your Spouse Challenge Day 6.
I was tagged by Susan and anyone who would like to play, please do! This is from 2011, Mandy’s wedding. It was a beautiful event on a beautiful day where I saw prayer after prayer answered.
Even now I look back and think about what Rocky said. I have gaps. Tom has gaps. Together, we got no gaps.
I’d love for you to win, but you can’t if you don’t enter! Click to learn more.
Small-town girl Katie Fisher is busy planning her fairy-tale wedding. Sure, her boyfriend hasn’t managed to pop the question just yet, but that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t enter a contest in Texas Bride magazine to win the dress of her dreams, right? Anyway, she’s sure he’ll be getting down on one knee any time now. And a one-of-a-kind designer dress doesn’t just fall out of the sky right when you need it.
But when Katie’s boyfriend takes a job in another town and breaks up with her–on the very same day she wins her dream dress–her world is turned upside down. Dare she go to Dallas to claim her prize? And will the hunky pro basketball player who runs the beyond-swanky bridal shop–yeah, you read that right–discover her humiliating secret if she does?
Every Bride Needs a Groom is a sweet romance that was a quick read but continues to hold my attention for all the right reasons. Normally if we knew a Katie, we’d mock her for planning a wedding without being proposed to. But in Every Bride Needs a Groom, it’s easy to feel sorry for her and yearn for her situation with the contest work out. Usually when you read that a NBA player is running a wedding shop, you would think there’s no way. Well, it works. And I was rooting for Brady.
But more than Katie and Brady, I loved the other characters. Brady’s mom. Katie’s brothers. Grandma. Her sister. The pastor. Each have their own story that flows well with the main characters without taking over.
I loved Every Bride Needs a Groom. This is a perfect summer read. Check it out!
To purchase Every Bride Needs a Groom, click here.
I received Every Bride Needs a Groom from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
A seamstress at a swanky bridal boutique, Gabi Delgado dreams of doing more than ripping out seams and fitting dresses to doe-eyed brides. She wants to see her own dress designs gracing the young women of Texas. When Jordan Spencer, the editor of Texas Bride magazine visits the shop to do a feature, Gabi is devastated to lose her job in his very influential presence. Convinced she’ll never get her dreams off the ground now, Gabi needs lots of encouragement–especially from her friend Bella Neeley–to take a chance and start her business. And as she gets to know Jordan, she discovers that she may have to take a chance on love as well. Could it be that she’ll have to design her own wedding dress soon?
As always, Janice Thompson delivers fun, laughter, and romance as she takes readers back to Galveston, Texas, to spend more time with their favorite quirky characters along with fabulous new ones.
The Dream Dress contained everything I love in a book. As always, there was humor through rich characters you wish could be your friends. There is romance, and in this case, Jordan is so romantic, he is swoon-worthy. There are the people you root for like Mimi-Carmen, Gabi, Jordan, Scarlett and Bella. There are the people you want to smack, like Demetri. And as only Janice Thompson can, she blends it all beautifully, complete with stories from the Bible that perfectly complement the story without being preachy.
The Dream Dress is a winner because I think a lot of readers can relate to Gabi. Childhood was less than ideal. Rejection is strong enough that she keeps her dreams to herself. A perfect man? They go out with everyone else, but not her. The Dream Dress takes the reader through Gabi’s journey, and what I love is this can be our experience too. Gabi learns to trust. Forgive. Find friends. Love. A purpose that makes her want to get up every morning.
As a fan of the Weddings by Design, I loved “seeing” Bella and Scarlett again. Gabi keeps up and shines in their company. But I believe The Dream Dress stands on its own. But for your sake, find everything of Janice Thompson’s, especially the Bella and Wedding books and enjoy.
To purchase The Dream Dress, click here.
I received The Dream Dress from NetGalley/publisher in exchange for an honest review.