40 Things I’ve Learned in 40 Years




This time seven years ago, I wrote a post entitled 33 Things I’ve Learned in 33 Years. Today, I turned 40 and decided to update what I listed then (in purple) and add seven more life lessons (although I’m sure I could think of more)!

  1. Polka dots and hot pink make me smile. (and ruffled sleeves and ankle boots)
  2. There are few sounds that bring as much joy as a baby belly laughing. (especially when it’s your grandbaby)
  3. Marriage is hard work, but oh so worth it. (and gets sweeter with time)
  4. There is a huge difference between a job, a career and a calling. (and the magic happens when you can combine all three)
  5. When people say “enjoy these moments because they grow up so fast” they are not exaggerating one bit.  Kids literally grow up in the blink of an eye. (and parenting adult children is awesome too!)
  6. Having a near death experience (or two or three) will remove most fear from your life and replace it with a sense of urgency to live EVERY minute fully.
  7. Chocolate makes everything most things better.
  8. God is good ALL the time and ALL the time God is good. (Amen!)
  9. Having kids old enough to drive is scary yet very convenient.
  10. God’s plan frequently looks nothing like my plan, but is always the best plan. (and His plan also included three more daughters! I never imagined I would have more daughters than sons!)
  11. No matter how many children you have there is always enough love to go around. (and this theory was tested three more times since I originally wrote that!)
  12. Speaking of parenthood, it is the most challenging, rewarding, frustrating, meaningful, exhausting miracle in the world. (and parenting kids from hard places is the hardest, most brutal yet beautiful thing one will ever do!)
  13. You are not defined by your past.
  14. Life is not fair, but God is.
  15. Friendships, like gardens, need tended, watered and weeded regularly. (and when you’re in a hard place, true friends won’t mind that you’ve shut them out or are hiding away. They will come after you, jump in the pit with you and help you climb out. So grateful for those friends!)
  16. Nail polish is a cheap and easy way to feel pretty.
  17. You can make any house a home if the people you love are there with you.
  18. God’s heart is for restoration and when it is possible, love and time can heal wounds. (and boundaries are important and should be fiercely enforced and protected. If it isn’t healthy to restore a relationship, you can still love the person from afar and that’s okay)
  19. Friends are your family of choice.
  20. Writing is a salve to the soul.
  21. A good yellow makes a perfect wall color.
  22. Being organized makes life easier.
  23. I wouldn’t remember anyone’s birthday if it wasn’t for Facebook.
  24. Teen moms are special people and working with them is a privilege. (and fostering/adopting teens was a privilege too, even on the hardest days)
  25. Parenting teenagers is like having your fingernails plucked off with tweezers. (and young adults that act like teenagers!)
  26. You can’t save the world and God doesn’t expect you to. (and Celebrate Recovery/step study can help you overcome your codependency so you quit trying to)
  27. It’s okay to take antidepressants. (and anti-anxiety medication and PTSD medication and to go to counseling. Mental illness is not something to be ashamed of or to will your way through)
  28. Pets are members of the family too.
  29. Being connected with a body of believers is crucial to spiritual health.
  30. Why not me?
  31. Every day, there are blessings and miracles happening around you.  All you have to do is open the eyes of your heart and be thankful.
  32. Words hurt.  Guard your tongue.
  33. Just as Jesus said, it is more blessed to give than to receive.
  34. The little things truly are the big things.
  35. Self-care is NOT selfish. 
  36. God writes beautiful stories. Don’t let the trials in one chapter make you forget the ending you’re promised! 
  37. You can be a hot mess and still be a good mom, a good wife, a good friend. We can be both.
  38. You truly can heal many ailments with food.
  39. There is nothing you can go through that isn’t addressed in the Word of God. Sometimes the answer lies in what Jesus didn’t say.
  40. There is no valley so dark that God can’t find you. Look up!

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