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