Today, I turn 40.
I’ve thought a lot about this milestone birthday over the last few days with some intense emotion. I’ve never been one to dread birthdays, and while I’m not dreading this one, it is hitting a little differently than the others. If I were to be honest, I never thought I would be 40 and still barren. Yet, here I am. As I look around at my friends and family who have finished creating their families, I ask myself, “Where do I go from here?”
In 2013, when I started this blog to document my journey through infertility and then one day motherhood, I found other women facing the same bleak statistics I was and fighting for the same dream. I was a mere 28, and they were 34 and 35, respectively. Each woman would share their heart on the pages of the screen about how they felt old, and the reality of parenthood was getting further out of reach with each passing day. I remember encouraging them that age is just a number, and God has not finished writing their stories (which I was right; they all did conceive). I remember spurring them onto hope to believe in the impossible but also thinking I had nothing to worry about. That wouldn’t be me. I would never be 34 and 35, still holding onto hope and reaching up in faith for a miracle.
However, 34 came and went. Year 35 arrived and was gone just as quickly without the sweet, precious son I believed God to have promised me. Turning 35 was more manageable than turning 36. But then 37, 38, and now 39 years have passed. Today, I am 40. Much older than the women I once encouraged when I was 28. Therefore, as I look back while also looking ahead and living in the present, I ask, “Where do I go from here?”
As you go down the hallway of my home, I have a nursery in the first room to the right. The door stays open, and you can’t miss it. I can even see it from my living room. It’s been ready and prepared for ten tiny fingers and ten wiggly toes for over nine years. I remember first buying the crib because I felt the Lord calling me to prepare. The rocker in the corner was a purchase I quickly ran out to buy on the same day I once again felt the urgency to prepare even further. But again, it’s been nine years, and I’m now 40 years old, and asking, “Where do I go from here?”
I’m sure you’ve had the same thoughts, whether regarding infertility and creating the family you’ve always imagined or another dream that seems delayed. The question becomes, do you ignore the time that has passed and keep believing in the dream? Or do you stop, regroup, and pursue something else? I’ve wondered more in the last week as I walk by the nursery void of life: should I empty it, turn it into a spare bedroom, or leave it up and continue to wait with expectation? Do I continue to walk down the baby aisles in the store and thank God for the miracle I believe awaits me, or should I turn away and pray for new dreams and desires to flood my heart? What about this ministry? Do I continue ministering and encouraging others as “one of them” still in the trenches and waiting, or as one who says, “I believe for you, but I’m done”? And fertility treatments…? The Lord asked me and my husband to halt pursuing them in 2012, but now that I’m 40, is it time to begin again?
So many questions. So many choices that come with so many thoughts on where I should go from here. My mind says that as I enter into this next new year of life, I should go somewhere else than in this season of waiting and pursue new callings and explore new dreams, but my heart and faith say otherwise.
I may have turned another year older, but the word that God has given me and the calling on my life hasn’t expired like the condiments in the fridge.
I once read a quote: “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, then it doesn’t matter.” And it’s true. The older I get, the more I experience this. Far too many times in the last week, and especially while I was lying in bed last night, I let my age matter, even to the point that I was worshipping it as I put it above the power and grace of God. We all do this at one time or another as we let our age dictate our thoughts and feelings. We let it tell us what we can or can’t do. Pursue or leave behind. But I’m learning that as I turn 40 today, this only happens if we give it the power to do so. And I’ve given it power.
So, where do I go from here?
It’s simple yet complicated.
I will go to the nursery prepared in faith, get on my knees, and thank God for the miracle that awaits me. I will continue to walk down the baby aisles and pray for those struggling with barrenness to have life form in their wombs, including for life to form in mine. I will continue ministering and pouring out the Father’s heart to those who feel alone, abandoned, and need a miracle within the infertility and loss community.
Turning 40 doesn’t change anything except move me to be more expectant that I’m one year closer to dirty diapers, earlier alarms, and bath time with rubber duckies.
Until God tells me to change course, stop holding on, and let go, I will keep doing what I’ve done for the past eleven years of waiting. I will continue to wait. Because while I might be an “older” mom one day, I know His plan is perfect, and I wouldn’t want to change a thing. After all, you can’t make a perfect plan more perfect.
“Here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Don’t give up; don’t be impatient; be entwined as one with the Lord. Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope. Yes, keep on waiting—for He will never disappoint you!” Psalm 27:14 TPT
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