Last month I turned 40. I can remember as a kid that 40 seemed so far away…..it seemed so old! I can remember when my parents turned 40 and all the black and white “over the hill” decorations and gag gifts and how they laughed it off. Someone had a pin that said “40 isn’t old if you’re a tree”. It was like this impending joke where everyone is the punchline. I don’t feel 40. I don’t act 40 and I hopefully don’t look 40.
I started to notice (in a new way) lots of ads and promotions for laser hair removal, wrinkle reducing creams and various voodoo concoctions intended to remove, or at least mask stretch marks. Our society is infatuated with youth – always chasing the glow of dewy, sun-kissed, smooth skin without any scars, blemishes or bumps of any kind. My hair has gotten darker as I’ve aged, but now I’ve got….ahem…..strands of “glitter” popping up. The funny thing about this glitter is I started earning it after Sam came along. I can remember looking in our bathroom mirror in Massachusetts and discovering this glitter….the week after he was born. Feel free to interpret that how you see fit. It seemed like such a monumental milestone, until it happened.
Looking in a mirror at 40, I’ve collected my share of blemishes. Thankfully, they don’t really bother me, but rather tell a story. I’ve moved all over the Eastern US, having lived in 6 states. I’ve been married for 16 years and have 2 kids. Our closest relatives are in Michigan – so much of my (and TJ’s) adult lives have been going to new places and doing new things. We’ve taken risks that we were criticized for – but more often than not, following God requires taking scary steps. God does not leave us there alone to fend for ourselves, he walks with us – leading and directing us. Scary? Of course. A wise friend once said: “God does not call you out on a limb to saw it off behind you”.
So this year I decided to try some new things. I signed up to be an intramural soccer coach for 1st and 2nd graders. No, I did not play soccer. Ever. The first soccer game I ever really watched was when Sam was 4 and played for FJS in Wading River. Aside from wanting the kids on the team to have fun, I am pretty unqualified. These type of organizations are always in need of parent volunteers to help coach and guide the kids. I go to all the games and consider myself fun on most days – so I thought I’d give it a try. I asked Sam if that would be okay – he said that was fine, and it would be fun even though I don’t really know what I’m doing. I appreciate the fact he still thinks I’m cool, I know it won’t last. Lastly, I prayed about it. Does it seem silly to pray about being a volunteer coach? Yes. But again, I did it. I was afraid of failing miserably so I prayed about it. Guess what? We’re all having a lot of fun.
It felt like a huge risk – 6 and 7 year olds can be a tough crowd! I was so nervous, but excited too. God was with me, building me up, encouraging me to try. I was not afraid to fail.
“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 1:6