Welcome to Life Spilled Like Water- the words God wove into my heart more than a year ago. A place to share stories from one imperfect life to another. A place to see how God loves the broken and offers His beauty in return. No holding back–this is life, life spilled like water… (To read more about the story behind life spilled like water, click here).
In honor of turning 30 today, I felt it would be only fitting to help you get to know me by sharing my thoughts on the big 3-0!
While it’s great to view life moment by moment and day by day, I have chosen to reflect on life as a series of decades in light of my 30th Birthday (stay with me;). You see, my 20’s have been a monumental decade full of tremendous goodness and a lot of growing pains! I never knew I could laugh so hard or love so deeply, and I never knew I was capable of shedding so many tears. I was unaware of how strong I could be with Christ as my foundation and I’ve learned that some of the greatest gifts I will ever receive are wrapped up in a transformed heart and the peace that comes with a sound mind.
I kicked off my 20’s by meeting the love of my life, Joel. He is the one who stood by my side when the high of meeting him faded to a cloud of gray at the loss of my much too young sister and childhood best friend, Kalisha, to a drug and alcohol overdose.Through pain, joy soared as he asked me to be his bride just in time to lock me in before I left for 3 months to travel the world of Ecuador!
Upon returning, I got married, graduated college, bought a house (well a house was bought for me). I had never lived in a home that was owned before my renaissance man came along, growing up we always rented. I felt a little like a queen in our 1960’s, 985 sq. ft. bungalow of love. I was strengthened there for the next bumpy road I’d be led down, watching my mother follow a path of destruction and my 4-year-old sister, Grace, caught in the middle. I lost a sister and gained a sister in the last decade of my life, as my husband graciously offered to allow Grace to be a part of our family to save her life, so I wouldn’t lose another.
We became parents, deserving a C- at best, but we survived with no maternity leave or baby showers to kick start us on the journey. Yet, somehow, we didn’t just make it out alive, we grew stronger, less selfish and more forgiving.
I have moved 6 times in the last decade, the biggest moves being from Ohio to Texas and from Texas to Michigan. We loved the great state of Texas and all that grew in us there. We were even more blessed by all of the people we had the privilege of sharing living rooms and dining room tables with, laughs, tears and our greatest sorrows and fears. We also shared our greatest joys—the birth of two crazy beautiful children, a boy and a girl, whose hearts we were entrusted to shepherd. I had the biggest scare of my life when my son fell and suffered a fractured skull at just 2 months old, but more so, I learned what it really meant to trust and hope in God alone and I mean, alone!
We laid down dreams for these little miracles, sacrificed careers and moved to Michigan with a 1 year old, 1 month old and 8 year old in tow! All to be closer to our roots—the great Midwest and all of those we wanted to be a part of our children’s childhood memories— grandparents, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews. It was so hard to say goodbye, and harder yet to begin a journey of staying at home with 2 infants screaming my name while trying to figure out who the heck I was and what the heck I was doing! I was completely overwhelmed at times and often on the verge of tears (and if we’re honest–I still have my days)!
My 20’s brought the fight of my life for my marriage, my sanity, my sister, Grace, and many broken family relationships that needed restored. I learned true forgiveness meant laying down your selfish walls for another and trusting God to protect your heart.
Yet, here I am a decade later, sitting in the living room of my too beautiful, undeserved home, with my too beautiful, undeserved children soundly sleeping in their beds. They are 2, 3 and 10 now–and there are no more cribs, binkis, bottles, diapers, high chairs or bibs in sight—and it kind of feels like I made it! Made it to some unmarked landmark of accomplishment that affords me at least the time to sit here and pen these words. It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but this life is really beautiful.
I’ve learned one thing in my 20’s that I will carry with me through the next decade and beyond–tomorrow life could feel ugly, but, no matter what–it’ll still be beautiful. Because, you see, every storm will bring with it a restoration of gratitude and each sorrow a push to trust. Each disappointment a call to see the goodness of what is and not what could be and each joy a time to praise!
What a gift this life is. I only hope my next decade…my thirties…brings as many smiles as it does tears, failures as successes and fights as rewards, because I never want to stop soaking in every blessing and every lesson God has for me. I’ll never expect a life free of trouble…just one with a God who carries me through, picking up the broken pieces and continuing to make something beautiful out of little (old!) me.
Each LSLW post includes three areas of reflection in hopes to offer a chance for us to give thanks, grow in our personal faith and find ways to pour out from our lives what Christ has poured into us.
Gratitude: Where do you feel the call to see the goodness of what is and not what could be, in other words, to be content in the here and now?
Grow: Read Romans 5: 3-5 and reflect on how your Character & Hope have been molded through your sufferings and disappointments?
Give: Is there anyone in your life who has caused you disappointment or suffering that you could offer forgiveness? How can you lay down your walls of self-protection and trust God to protect your heart?
Worship: I love music & I love to share it. Each song is for each post. Listen and Enjoy! Oceans (Where my feet may fail)
© Tamara Gurley 2014