I’ve heard people talk about 50 as being “over the hill,” “half of a century old,” “on the downward slide,” etc.
When I woke up this morning, having turned 50 myself, the first thing that came to mind was:
I AM SO BLESSED!
I got out of bed, got dressed and headed out the door for an early morning run. As I ran, I reflected on my life. What a better time than a milestone birthday, right? And as I strolled down memory lane, my heart nearly exploded with gratitude. I am, at 50 years of age, at a place in my life that is the best it’s ever been. The heart breaking moments and tragedies of years past are a direct connection to where I’m at now. If every one of those crises hadn’t happened, my life literally would not be what it is today. I think of all the prayers I’ve prayed, disappointed when they weren’t answered, only to realize that they were answered. Thankfully not the way I had hoped for at the time.
So today, at 50 years old, let me share with you some of what makes me the richest woman in the world.
First of all, the people who have been placed in my life by God, at the exact time and in the exact role that He knew I needed exactly when I did.
- An amazing husband, Clint, who has given me the marriage, friendship, and partnership in life that I’ve always dreamed of.
- Two amazing boys, Ben and Alex, who have taught me the true meaning of unconditional love and acceptance.
- A granddaughter, Zoey, who brings unmatched joy to my life, and a chance to experience part of her father as a little one all over again.
- A step-daughter, Jennifer, and five step-grandchildren who have accepted me into their lives, my life all the more beautiful because of them.
- A step-daughter, Becky, who enriched my life with her kindness, sparkle and beauty–inside and out–who has gone ahead to greet me at the gates of heaven when I’m called home.
- Parents who gave me the gift of life and the foundation of family and faith. It took me a while to catch on, but I eventually got it. 🙂 And while they waited, they taught me patience and perseverance.
- Sisters, Sandy and Brenda, my best friends chosen by God for me to share life with from beginning to end.
- My grandma Cielinski and my Uncle Earl who helped carry me through some of the most difficult times of my life.
- Mr. Rude, my high school English teacher, who made such a difference in the life of this high school student with a love of writing.
- My “Brighton Group” (you know who you are), who have accepted me exactly as I am, broken and flawed, who have taught me how to live a clean life, honest and true, how to love, and how to be a friend.
- A Church and Church Family that lifts me up.
- A blogging community with which I’ve grown as a writer and as a person.
And beyond these angels in my life, I’m blessed with and grateful for:
- A job in which I’m blessed to serve victims of crime. Since I was a victim of crime at one time, I’ve come full circle, blessed to use my tragedy for good.
- The ability to sponsor three kiddos from Africa (Togo, Burkina Faso, and Tanzania) through Compassion International, helping to release them from poverty and give them hope. Alex, Amede and Mamounata have taught me compassion, that the gift of giving blesses the giver, and the power of prayer.
- The ability to be a sponsor to Amazima Ministries in Uganda, furthering the work of Christ as he reaches the unreachable.
- The ability to be a donor to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I mention these things because it is not me or my money that helps in these areas, it’s all because of an amazing God who has laid these passions upon my heart and has given me the resources to be able to do so. And it’s this giving that has changed my heart as nothing else could ever do.
- The gift of writing, which brings me so much joy and satisfaction. I published a book last year, The Inheritance, a dream I’ve had as far back as I’ve been able to dream, and another book, Shear Madness, due out next month.
And the blessings just go on and on. Go back to my thirties? Not a chance. Not even my forties. My best days, my best life, is right here, right now.
And as a side note, at the end of my run, still dancing on my pink cloud, I nearly stepped on not one, but two, squished flat as a pancake, messy toads. If that was the enemy’s way of bringing me down from my high, it didn’t work. It simply made me drive more carefully than ever to work. Just in case… 🙂