Reflections on Turning Forty
By ANNIE WESCHE
Throughout my thirties I often looked dauntingly at one day turning 40. Thinking of that approaching milestone, I would appraise where I was at in life and (try not to) anxiously think of where I wanted to be by the time that day arrived. Lord, I want so much to happen before then.
When my 40th birthday arrived in June of last year, God did something that I can only credit to His grace and goodness — He shepherded my heart into a new perspective. In the weeks leading up to my birthday, I laid before Him everything I’d hoped to have or achieve by that age in life — marriage, children, and a home — some of the greatest longings of my heart. In that place of fresh surrender, I began to appraise all God had given me in my 40 years. He’d given me life, salvation, godly parents, and wonderful friendships. I had a storehouse full of sweet memories, amazing adventures, refining trials, and testimonies of His faithfulness. And because of Christ, I knew the riches of love, mercy, redemption, identity, purpose, joy, peace, hope, wonder, and freedom!
This fresh appraisal left me in worshipful awe of my God. Reflecting on all He had done for me and how abundant my years were, I had renewed vision for this significant milestone and the years yet to come:
God, You are worthy of all that I am. I am not my own, but Yours, and I want Your plans for my life. I want to glorify You and faithfully steward, with joy, the portion You have given me. I want the tenor of my life to always be unto Jesus … to live a life worthy of the calling I have received in Christ. I want to cherish and prize You, Lord, above all the hopes or dreams that I set into Your hands — those same hands that were pierced for me.
In reaching 40, my only boast is Christ. So to honor and celebrate Him, I want to share with you something I compiled to mark the four decades He has graciously given to me: 40 praises to the One who gives life and 40 things I have found to be true.
In sin, He was my Rescuer and Redeemer.
In salvation, He alone is my Savior.
In struggles, He is merciful.
In weakness, He is my Strength.
In fears, He is my Deliverer.
In anxieties, He is my Peace.
In uncertainties, He is my Rock.
In trials, He is a very present help.
In dangers, He is my safety.
In darkness, He is my light.
In suffering, He is my comfort.
In challenges, He is my first turn.
In the unexpected, He is my confidence.
In life’s storms, He is my Refuge.
In surrender, He is worthy.
In loss, He is my gain.
In need, He is my Provider.
In sacrifice, He is my reward.
In loneliness, He is my Friend.
In waiting, He is the One for whom I wait.
In singleness, He is my First Love.
In the quiet, He is the voice I long to hear.
In my mornings, He is my first conversation.
In my days, He is my motivation.
In my nights, He is my Rest.
In decisions, He is my Wisdom.
In conflict, He is my understanding.
In discipline, He is my loving Father.
In growth, He is my Teacher.
In failures, He is my identity.
In successes, He is my boast.
In joys, He is the reason.
In blessings, He is the Giver.
In the mundane, He brings beauty and purpose.
In the glorious, He is the glory.
In my storytelling, He is my Hero.
In my hopes and dreams, He is at the center.
In my life story, He is the Author.
In everything, He is Faithful.
And in turning 40, He is who I celebrate.
Perhaps you have a significant life milestone approaching. Maybe you’ve dreaded turning a certain age or you feel off course from where you’d like to be right now. Don’t dwell in discontent or dread — cast those heavy clouds off your soul. Freshly surrender, and thank the Lord for all that He has given you! Ponder His lovingkindness towards you and the treasure of your salvation. Seek His glory and purposes in your precious life, right where you are today. Know that He is purposeful in all His ways and He is lovingly attentive to what He desires to do in your life. Ask Him for a new perspective — one that fills your heart with awe, gratitude, and joy.
Frances Ridley Havergal wrote this New Year hymn. It’s a wonderful meditation for us as we step into 2024. But I find it’s also a beautiful declaration to freshly make on one’s birthday, as we look ahead to another year given to live for Him.
Another Year is Dawning
Another year is dawning! Dear Father, let it be
In working or in waiting, another year with Thee;
Another year of leaning upon Thy loving breast,
Another year of trusting, of quiet, happy rest.
Another year of mercies, of faithfulness and grace,
Another year of gladness in the shining of Thy face;
Another year of progress, another year of praise,
Another year of proving Thy presence all the days.
Another year of service, of witness for Thy love,
Another year of training for holier work above;
Another year is dawning! Dear Father, let it be
On earth, or else in Heaven, another year for Thee.
Frances Ridley Havergal, “Another Year is Dawning” 1874.
This article was originally published in Issue 41.
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