The rocky road to 40 (and not chocolate-marshallow kind)

I’m turning 40 tomorrow.

As surprising as this may sound, I’m doing a lot better with turning 40 than I was when my 30th birthday rolled around. This is because I’m in a much better place and it’s all downhill from here.

This is a good thing when you’re a gravity-challenged old bitty.

My tough descent into my 30s actually began when I was 29. I was career-obsessed and had my dream job, was dating some great guys, freelancing as a travel editor and living this whimsical, carefree life.

And then I went to see The Family Man, a movie with Nicolas Cage. If you haven’t seen it, Cage was a single, successful businessman who is yanked out his world to catch a glimpse of what his life would have been like if he’d had a family with his college sweetheart.

The movie hit me hard. So hard, in fact, I later wrote in my journal that I needed to change. I saw my life for what it was: self-serving and not on the path to anything of lasting happiness.

(Spoiler alert): Then I didn’t change.

Another year passed and I was more deeply entrenched in this world than ever when I learned my position (and one-quarter of our corporate office) had been cut. Suddenly, the source of what had become my identity was gone, too.

I was depressed and my friend Kristy took me to a movie as a pick-me-up. (Another spoiler alert): Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings is not a pick-me-up movie. It was dark, long and I hate almost every minute of it.

Except for one shining moment that really counted.

Frodo was overcome with the burden of being the ring-bearer and expressed his concern to Gandalf. His response proved to be prophetic to me, which basically stated that everything happens for a reason and “All you have to do is to decide what to do with the time given to you.”

TIME. And then I started crying. Hard. Now, I don’t know if you’re ever been a weeping mess during a LOTR movie so let’s just say I was an anomaly. But that was my answer.

A month later, I celebrated my 30th birthday and it was a tough one (despite a shining moment when my friend Dave took me to the 2002 hockey quarterfinals and I made Olympic history when I dove across my maple-leaf-clad neighbor for a five-second spot on the Jumbotron.)

But I was in the middle of muddling through changing my life and having faith that this time, was indeed, given to me for a reason.

That summer, I met Jamie. The following February, I was married.

If I had not changed my path, I am certain neither of these things would have happened. Prior to my wedding, I read back through my journal to the day when I saw the Family Man and resolved to change. Then I flipped ahead a year to when I was laid off.

They happened exactly one year to the day apart from each other.

I don’t believe in coincidences. I hadn’t changed so the Lord gave me a swift-kick to ensure I did and I’m so grateful for it. My 30s were spent with the highs and lows of building my family but with the sweet assurance I’m exactly where I need to be.

My friend Laurel recently wrote about turning 40 at Time Out for Women.

In the scriptures, one of the strongest shadows used is the relationship between “forty” as a means of preparation and the fulfillment of promises.

Did you read that?


Just a few examples of how the number 40 is used to represent a period of testing or preparation (thanks to the help of our friend, the worldwideweb)…but followed by the fulfillment of promises.

• The rains (in Noah’s day) fell for 40 days and nights (Genesis 7:4).
• Israel ate Manna for 40 years (Exodus 16:35).
• Moses was with God in the mount, 40 days and nights (Exodus 24:18).
• Moses led Israel from Egypt at age 80 (2 times 40), and after 40 years in the wilderness, died at 120 (3 times 40; Deuteronomy 34:7).
• God made Israel wander for 40 years (Numbers 14:33-34).
• Goliath presented himself to Israel for 40 days (1 Samuel 17:16).
• Elijah had one meal that gave him strength 40 days (1 Kings 19:8).
• God gave Nineveh 40 days to repent (Jonah 3:4).
• Jesus fasted 40 days and nights (Matthew 4:2).
• Jesus was tempted 40 days (Luke 4:2, Mark 1:13).
• Jesus remained on earth 40 days after resurrection (Acts 1:3).

I have spent my life in preparation for the fulfillment of promises I truly believe God “is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them.”

I finally know for what to ask and that these promises will be fulfilled.

And as for turning 40 tomorrow? Bring it.

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