On turning 39

When life doesn’t give you everything you want…

Ever feel like life isn’t going exactly as you’d planned it to?

Today I turn 39, and I have to admit that I’m not especially excited about it…

Partly this is because my life is not exactly where I expected it to be as I rapidly approach the big 4-0.

Things I didn’t expect

I didn’t expect to meet my husband so late into life, or to start a family in our first year of marriage because time wasn’t on our side.

I didn’t expect to find new motherhood so demanding, or for my son to face so many health challenges when he was tiny.

I didn’t expect my second and third pregnancies to end in loss, especially after my first one went so smoothly.

And I definitely didn’t expect to be facing my fourtieth year still trying to conceive a child. I never expected (or wanted) to be an older mum…

Still grateful

But I don’t want to sound ungrateful or self-pitying here; lots of things have worked out just fine in my life too – better than fine, in fact.

I have a wonderful husband and little boy, a job that I (mostly!) enjoy, a lovely house, lots of friends and extended family who love me, and materially I have everything that I need & more.

I know without a doubt that I am blessed…

Grains of sand

I know that I am blessed.

But it’s just that when you’re facing any kind of fertility struggle, the passing of another birthday means the passing of another year.

And the passing of another year still without a hoped for healthy rainbow pregnancy just feels a bit bittersweet – especially as you begin to approach close to 40.

It’s like a reminder that time is ticking on and steadily slipping away like a handful of sand falling through your fingers…

You can’t stop it or slow it down, and you can’t scoop it back up again either.

And I know that 39 isn’t considered especially late to have a child these days, because people constantly remind me of this fact; but it is pretty late in life to start encountering fertility problems…

When life gives you something else…

But it’s also good to remember that when life doesn’t give you exactly what you expect it to, it almost always gives you something else instead…

And for me, this unexpected ‘something else‘ has been the invitation to start writing again, and to possibly even write and publish my first book.

This is absolutely not what I’d have chosen for my life to look like in 2019. I wanted to be on mat leave with a second child by now, and spending more time with my little boy Ben before he starts school in September.

But do you know what? I’m enjoying it and it’s making me feel more alive and more myself than I have done in years – even amidst our struggle.

So although it’s definitely not what I had planned for this coming year, it feels like a gift.

Writing ourplans in pencil

Proverbs 16:9 says this:

”We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.”

And I am struck by just how true this is.

It’s absolutely fine to make plans for the future and to build our ideal timeline around it too, just so long as we write those plans in pencil and remain open to the possibility of change.

Just so long as we recognise that ultimately it is His plans and not ours that will prevail.

So the questions I am asking myself right now, as I look towards my 40th year are these:

Will I trust God, the author of my life, to write the very best version of my life… or not? And will I trust that His version is far far better than any I could write for myself?

Finally… back to those grains of sand

The other day, I was reflecting on Psalm 139, and these verses really jumped off the page at me:

“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!”

As I read them I realised that I feel like those grains of sand are my hopes and dreams about how I thought my life would look at this point that are slipping through my fingers like sand.

But really those grains of sand represent all of God’s thoughts about me. And the reason they are slipping through my fingers is because there’s simply far too many of them to hold…

They are more than than all the grands of sand on a beach or all the hairs on my head.

When life doesn’t give you exactly what you expect or want it to, it’s easy to begin to doubt God’s care for your. But the truth is that there’s bot a moment that we are out of His thoughts

His care for each of us is so great.


4 thoughts on “On turning 39

  1. Thanks for your honesty Anna. I can relate to this, Rupert and I certainly haven’t found it easy in those seasons where things don’t turn out as we expected. Always good to read from people being real about life. Love Emma x


  2. Enjoyed reading your reflections, Anna. Sounds like you have gone through trials yet also experienced blessings, which I suppose describes most people. Happy Belated Birthday!


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