Today I am thirty. Maybe I will act a little flirty. And certainly getting to the “thriving” part of it. Thirty. Thirty years. I am in the same decade as Jesus was when he started his ministry. Now, that makes me feel grown up. It seems everyone else around me realizes stuff around me before I do. The past few months I have heard, “Wow, you ready for 30? You freaking out about it?” And I would respond with “Nah, it’s just a number.” But yesterday, I received two lovely and funny birthday cards from my dad, who has always sent me multiple birthday cards via snail mail. In the cards he wrote to think back at all that happened the last thirty years…crazy how time flies by. He mentioned my tenth birthday party: the musical skits, loud screaming girls, my best friend Ali and I playing news anchor in front of the video camera. And then fast forward to today. What is happening today? Well, lots of loud screaming boys, a dancing queen beautiful girl, living in a charming old house with beautiful grass, feeling the realities of life’s challenges, and I guess my musical taste has thankfully shifted, and I get to be with my best friend, Josh. At thirty years, I realize the depth of Jesus in my life. How ignorant I was in high school thinking following Jesus was just simply either you drank or you didn’t. The reality was the depth of my relationship with Jesus was petty. How much more could I have loved if I knew what I do now about His Grace. I have found peace even in the chaos, though sometimes it doesn’t always connect. At thirty years, I no longer look at magazine covers (just like the movie) and think wow, if I could look like them, but I think I am beautifully made. I am a woman who gave birth to four children. Naturally, and three at home. Life is so much bigger than me. I have purpose here. I realize I am unique despite my efforts to try to be the same or try to be different. I realize, too, I am not alone in all of this. It is His strength…through family, friends, creation, words of the heart. I know the effects of falling in love at first sight and realizing the process of true love with Josh everyday. I have learned that the one who is in charge of making me healthy, is me. I am the best advocate. Not a doctor, not a magazine, or article. I have learned to be assertive after many years of my dad trying to instill it in me. Little did he know, it was through my pregnancies that kicked the assertive tone into high gear, many years later. So much I’ve learned. And so much more to learn. God’s goodness. I stand on my thirtieth birthday humbled, vulnerable, and raw as my character has been slowly revealed. I can relate to Paul who said rejoice in the suffering because it is here that my faith is strengthened. So, yes, 30 is a big number. And I am thankful that God has numbered my days to this day and to who knows how many more. But I am blessed. So, hopefully, when I turn 60, I can look back and see how petty I am now and realize how much cooler I am at 60 than at 30. Happy Birthday to my mother who birthed me…this is her day to celebrate, too. And to my dad for driving like “a bat out of hell” to get to the hospital and to my brother who named me Kristin.