Turning Forty: Fearful or Fantastic?


Two years ago, I turned forty.  My husband, Dave, bought me exactly what I wanted- a picnic umbrella.  And Joshua, our now fourteen-year-old son, got me an essential oils holder, which was so thoughtful and one of those gifts you don’t know how much you need until you get it.  While I wasn’t dreading the day, I did recognize I was saying goodbye to my thirties.  

As my birthday approached, I knew I wanted to spend time on intentional introspection.  On a beautiful May afternoon, one Sunday after church, I told Dave I was headed to the Chiara Center, a Franciscan place of spirituality located on three-hundred-acres where I longed to walk, pray and meditate.  

For a few blissful hours I spent time talking with God.  I asked Him questions. I read His Word. I strolled. I sat in silence.  And, I wrote in my journal…

“I  don’t feel dissatisfied, but I also recognize anxiety and fear can keep me in comfortable boundaries because I don’t really like change.  I don’t sense you leading me to something new, but I want you to know I’m trying to listen and be open.”

Somewhere between the beautiful water feature and the wooden picnic tables behind the center, I sensed God challenging me to inspect my limitations.  I could sense He wanted me to try new things. Things that in the past felt fearful.   I needed to continue to push against my mind-made prison walls.

Since that day, I have felt empowered by the Holy One to do new things.  I’ve tried tennis. I’ve taken up jogging again. I’ve driven long distances on the highway…through road construction.  And, I’ve begun writing fiction stories. All of these things held an element of worry. What if I mess up in front of others?  What if I’m too scared to do what’s ahead? What if I fail? The words I wrote that day held strength and hope…

“God, if you want me, and I believe you do, to be even more beautifully molded like you, help me to know how.  Help me to sense how to grow in You more deeply. Deeper roots.  More trust. Less fear.  More faith.  More obedience.  More willingness.  More calm of soul and spirit.”

Now, two years later, as I re-read my journal, I am reminded that God knows where we’re headed even when we don’t.  He knew what would spark joy in my soul. Behold!  I am doing a new thing, now it springs forth.  Do you not perceive it?  Isaiah 43:19 

Recently I played my flute with our church’s orchestra.  I hadn’t played with an ensemble for over twenty-years, and although I missed some notes and rhythms, it was invigorating.  This month, Dave and I are coaching our son’s three on three basketball team, and even though we lost by quite a big margin at our first game, I saw how My Faithful Savior showed up to help us. God has been faithful to help me have courage through these new pursuits, and even when the effort is less than perfect, I still seek to give Him the glory for all He’s doing in this life of mine. Whether you are four or forty, God is in the business of doing new things in the lives of His children. 

4 Replies to “Turning Forty: Fearful or Fantastic?”

  1. Laura, this is so well written! I love that you are transparent about your struggles and that through those struggles you decide to trust the Lord. Great job!


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