Tuesday, September 23, 2014

thoughts | twenty six

My birthday is the one of my least favorite days of the year.

I know how ungrateful this sounds.  God chooses to give me life and breath for another 365 days, filling my life and lungs with purpose, giving me grace upon grace and this is how I choose to react.  My parents and siblings put up with my shenanigans and grumpy moods all while loving and taking care of me and feeding me the occasional donut.  It's really quite pathetic.  I'm quite pathetic.  But hear me out.  This struggle is real in my life.

Every year, as September 23 draws closer, the same thought is on repeat in my brain...

"I thought I'd be farther along by now."

That's the hardest part.  Surely by 24, I'd be married to some dreamboat, probably have a cute little monogrammed baby with a hair bow the size of Texas, surely I'd have written that book, lost those 50 pounds, conquered public speaking, skydived and worn out 2 passports.  Surely.  Go ahead and laugh, I know that I'm crazy.  

A younger Abby (yes, I used to spell it with a "y"), would never have guessed that at 26, she'd still be a single girl, living at home, having opened and then closed a business, still trying to figure out if she is a round peg or a square peg and what hole she needs to fit into, and how, for Pete's sake, does one properly launder a wool sweater?.  The same crazy questions that I had at 12 are alive and well at 26.  You'd think I'd be farther along by now...

25 was good to me.  Scratch that.  GOD WAS GOOD TO ME.  25 held so much life.  So many beautiful moments when I thought I would burst from happiness, and hard moments when I thought my heart would break from it's burdens.  The loud laughter and the silent tears.  And God is always good.  

Coming to grips with the fact that I am that 20-something single girl that I always looked at with pity has been hard.  I mean, the day to day isn't so hard, but being "that girl" is a blow to my pride.  I've never really wanted to turn this into a single girl blog, but as you get older people ask more questions about your love life and it's my thorn in the flesh, so here goes.  I grew up wanting to be a wife and a mom, spent several years as a feminist disgusted with it and then had an encounter with God that changed my mind again.  I could see that family was a big deal.  That the only way we change culture is by getting married, having babies and doing government (thank you Candace Waters!).  And of course God would want to make all of my wishes come true.  Of course!  And year after year it seems that I'm in this same place.  Unmarried, wondering where I went wrong.  Both of my grandmothers married in their late teens, my own mother married at 22 and I seemed have completely missed out on that "charming and irresistible" gene, my being an awkward duck is another post for another day.  I've run the whole gamut of emotion and have come to rest upon the rock that is God's Will.  He will use whatever He needs to in our lives to make us more like His Son.  He knows how to design and use our struggles so that in the end its all for His Glory.  

These past few years have been of momentous growth in my life.  I've been in this valley of waiting for what seems like forever.  And God has used it to teach me things that I probably wouldn't have learned through marriage.  Some of us are really hard to get through to, which is why I'm still single.  God is trying to show me that He is enough and that a gorgeous husband isn't the end all in life (what what?!?).  He is Enough.  That is all.

It's hard for me to look forward to another year, when I feel so inadequate.  So immature, so "not-26" (whatever that means!).  When all I want to do is go back and make sure that I got "25" down perfect before moving on.  Sigh.  Wouldn't that be nice.  And it all makes me think of one of my favorite quotes from Elisabeth Elliot (that woman has become one of my dearest friends over the past year...). "Maybe this year will be the year of desire radically transformed".  Oh, how I pray this is what 26 looks like for me.

Well, today is my birthday!  I have no idea what I'll be doing with the rest of the day, but I can tell you that chocolate croissants will be involved.  Now that I've gotten all of my grumbling out of the way, I'm planning to thoroughly enjoy today.  To approach it with gratitude and lots of coffee.

Sorry for all of the words.  I've been feeling lots of feelings and thinking lots of thoughts recently.  Now back to our regularly rescheduled programming!


  1. Thank you so much for this. I feel the exact same way about birthdays. I don't look forward to them because it naturally makes you look back and wonder where I actually am and what I've actually done in the past year and the glaring fact that I'm not married (being 23 myself). But as you said out goal should be that Christ is enough. Nothing else. Our goal in life to to glorify God, not ourselves and our desires.
    God has blessed me incredibly in these past couple years, I've traveled the world (still haven't quite worn out a passport but it is filling up quickly) and had the time and ability to do so many exciting things that I couldn't have done if I had been married with little ones. God is good. And He is enough.

    1. Anna, thank you so much for the comment.

      Shortcomings or at least, "perceived" shortcomings can be so painful. There is always a blessing in the struggle, we just have to look for it. I, too, have had more adventures and crazy opportunities in the past few years than most people have in a lifetime, and I'm so grateful for it. Yay! for worn passports!

      Someday, I'll (hopefully) be married with little kiddos and will be able to tell them my stories and I'll probably look back and see that it was all worth it. That, for all of my worrying, everything turned out okay. :)


  2. Thank you for sharing a piece of your heart with us... At 22, I can't pretend that I've struggled with this much, but I really do appreciate hearing the perspective of someone who has (in an honest and non-whiney manner like you have :-). I do relate to the feeling like you're not where you thought you'd be at the age you are, though!! No kidding. I'm pretty sure I'm still 15.
    Anyway. Thanks for the down-to-earth post, Abbe. You are a lovely person. <3 And happy belated birthday. :-)