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Today I turn 40.

When I thought about writing this post a month ago I had some vague thoughts about sharing what turning 40 looks like for me. Throwing in a bit of humor and a dash of snarkiness about getting older and all that entails when you are a mother of five and try to jump on a trampoline. Some of you know what I’m talking about.

I still may write that post. But not today. March has looked different than I expected. A joyful month typically full of family birthdays, springtime shopping and new life budding all around, has been one of sorrow, loss and questions.

Last week I lost my stepfather. He was a prominent person in my life for the past 18 years and the shock of it all is still fresh. Our hearts hurt. And even though I understand God is sovereign over everything, I wasn’t ready for this unexpected loss. Of course, no one ever is.

This is a full week for me. A birthday, Good Friday, Holi and Easter. In our faith, the time of year we celebrate Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and remember afresh the hope we have that this life is not all there is. That even when life ends on Earth, for those who are raised in life with Christ, we have an eternal promise of life with Him.

“Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” — Romans 5:2-5

And that is where I find myself today at 40 years of age at the beginning of a grief I did not expect yet. We have only recently had the funeral and there is still so much I need to process. And still there has been so much grace God has shown us during this time. The mere fact that we are in the US and not in Delhi when all this happened. That we can be a support to my mother and family and not be running in at the last minute while recovering from jet-lag. We had six months with him where my children were able to make significant memories with Papa. All of this was God’s graciousness towards me.

I’m holding to hope right now and taking it day by day. I’m thankful for the close friends that have spoken words of encouragement over me, brought us a meal and listened as I process the past week.  I’m snuggling my babies and having conversations with young hearts about life and death. And I’m wiping away tears.

In all this, I’m sure there is much to learn and glean. With Jesus, nothing is wasted. No loss, no pain, no suffering is without purpose. We don’t have to like it, but there is no use fighting what we cannot change, only enduring so we can grow our character and hope will spring up within us as a result.

So this is how 40 begins, with a loss. A big one. And I’ll leave you with a quote, since I’m horrible at conclusions and my friend says this is the best way to end a post when words fail you.

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” — Abraham Lincoln

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Kim W Freeman is the wearer of many hats: a wife to Jon, mother of five, founder of IndiAanya, writer and director of ashabelle.com. She has a heart to see women grow in their faith and do life together in authentic community. Her perfect day would include cinnamon cappuccino, scones, rainy weather and an inspiring conversation. She haphazardly blogs over at her own place about life at kwfreeman.com. She and her crew currently reside in North Georgia.

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12 thoughts on “On Turning 40 and a Loss

  • March 23, 2016 at 11:00 AM
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    I’m so sorry for your loss, Kim. Your post is beautiful and I love how God is healing your heart through the toughest of times. May your year ahead be filled with the hope that only God can give. Happy birthday!

    Reply
  • hamsila@gmail.com'
    March 23, 2016 at 11:32 AM
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    God is soo gracious.. that to say AMAZING GRACE..is not enough.. I find I need lights and fireworks around it too.. So many blessings come out of painful situations…
    God bless

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  • March 23, 2016 at 11:47 AM
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    Happy birthday, my friend! I’m sure its a complicated one, with beautiful memories and tough challenges but I love how you talk about endurance and hope. For in the end that’s what will count. I miss you, wish we could’ve been closer in this difficult time.

    Reply
  • sandrasfreeman@gmail.com'
    March 24, 2016 at 12:06 AM
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    Dearest Kim,

    Today marks 40 years of a life well lived. It includes raising up five adorable children and being a wonderful completer to my son. It includes sleepless nights and four of you sharing a queen size bed so these precious babies feel secure and loved. It includes juggling school, work and play and dealing with the inevitable sicknesses and issues that come with life…and most of that while there were no family members close by.

    This blog represents women all over India you have inspired and given a platform to share how God has been relevant in their lives, and in the process, bless many. You have encouraged the women of AshaBelle and given them hope and security outside the slums of India for the first time in their lives.

    I think a strong case for your character was having our home as your home base for six months over an 18 month period. I have always credited you with the success of that time. It is hard to have two women “running” one home, but you made it work. I usually got up later than everyone else, but I rarely heard a peep from anyone…now I did have a fan going in our bedroom!!! Meals were made, games were played, and life seemed to flow. It was especially fun to get a spontaneous game of Rook at the end of the day!

    So, Kim, happy birthday! May the Holy Spirit encourage and bless your heart as you ponder all the countless things that you do that make such a big difference in so many lives!

    Love you,
    Mom

    Reply
  • Theswain4@gmail.org'
    March 24, 2016 at 1:42 AM
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    That’s the same scripture God gave me when my father unexpectedly pass away. I’ve found it helps to keep talking about it. If you run out of people, send me a message.

    Reply
    • March 24, 2016 at 1:53 AM
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      Oh Laura- if we could have coffee today 🙂 I hope you all are well. I appreciate you sharing about your dad with me. Miss you and your family!

      Reply
  • Shrngoocher094@gmail.com'
    March 24, 2016 at 5:36 PM
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    I was so sorry to hear about your dad. I’m glad you were back in the states to have a little time with him. I lost my dad a little over one year ago so I can understand your pain. God does step in as always and give you peace that passes all understanding. Just know you aren’t alone. I am praying for you guys. I’m so proud of you and Jon. What a great ministry you created.

    Reply

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