Why, Hello Thirty! | Personal and Inspiration

Allie Harrington
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(photo credit: Michael Giroux)

As a child, thirty, flirty, and thriving seemed so old. Maybe it wasn’t so much old as it was extremely settled and very responsible. I had an idea of what I’d accomplish and have “together” in my life by the big 3-0. I just knew that at the age of 30, I would be decrepit and done with all that wild silly-ness. I never dreamed of being the old lady in the shoe with like seventeen children, but I knew I wanted a family.

Well, God has taken my life on some wild rides with twists and turns I could have never dreamt of. He’s used my story that at times felt like was in shambles or too embarrassing to divulge, to show me his love, faithfulness, redemption and healing. He has picked me up and turned me around…He’s used that which the world says was broken to prove the opposite. From a so-called “perfect” childhood that was flipped upside-down into a broken home, watching my dad become homeless and the struggles that come and go with that for much of my childhood, to watching my mom exhaust herself working like crazy to provide for 4 children and keep her head above water. None of that was quite what I expected or what we might call ordinary. In the midst of feeling lost, forgotten, not enough or too much, the Lord never let go of me. I was right in the palm of his hand. He was with me in the hardship, disappointment and struggle. Out of that place he chose to not let those things define my outcome, but shape me and strengthen me to be used for His purposes and glory.

My twenties were marked by many adventures, great loss, deep friendships, a man actually pursuing me (and winning me over) and much growth.

God led me to an amazing college that I wouldn’t have picked, gave me the world’s best friends (other than the ones I already had in my siblings), took me to Afghanistan, Lebanon, India several times, Kenya, UAE, Oman, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Germany, Hong Kong, Mexico, and the Bahamas. I got to travel in my twenties to several countries and see the lives that others lived all around the globe. I got to meet people and hear their stories. I soaked in the beauty of different cultures, journeys, colors, food, languages and lifestyles. I was absolutely in awe to say the least. It changed me in the best way possible.

The loss that I experienced in my twenties was also a major growing experience. I saw lives lost, and experienced great loss in Afghanistan. Dear friends lives tragically taken truly took a toll on me, and caused me grief like I hadn’t yet experienced in my life. Walking through loss after loss also caused my faith to grow immensely. I also went through losing two grandparents as well, which was heartbreaking. God drew me deeper and closer to Him than I had ever felt or known. I learned to rely on Jesus, and to put my hope and trust in him in the midst of the unknown and strife. I actually felt like He was near, like he was with me. I struggled with feeling alone, I questioned why I was there, I missed family and everyday luxuries of living in the States. In the midst of feeling stripped from the things I thought I needed God did a mighty work. He showed me that He was enough. He was more than the comforts of my family and friends…..He gave me those darling kids that I spent time with everyday teaching as a reminder of my purpose there. They made me laugh, they stretched me, they loved me so well and they taught me far more than I taught them. In the midst of hardship, there were equal amounts of joy. We got to traipse the globe, we got to watch these kiddos thrive in school, I shared life with a group of people that I don’t think I would have made it through that time without.

Another more recent personal struggle we have walked through is the silent struggle of trying to have a family. Thus far it has left us with two precious children in heaven, which to say the least, has left our hearts in pieces. There’s a grief that comes with knowing you have lost a child you long for so deeply…a child you wanted to meet and play with and watch grow up. There’s a place of loneliness and sadness and feeling misunderstood…there’s lot’s of tears. We wait for what God is doing, and we trust that even through the tears and the lack of understanding, that He has not lost sight of us. He is near to us, he is our comforter and our peace. We know and trust that we will have a family someday, somehow.

So here’s to the big 3-0 and all that another decade might bring. Cheers to years full of adventures with my love, deeper relationships, richer joys, walking through hardship well, living intentionally, seeing outside of myself, growth and change for the better.

A sweet friend shared this with me lately and it so resonated with and encouraged the deepest parts of my being. May it be that same gift to you:

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. What gain has the worker from his toil? 
I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with.  He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil–this is God’s gift to man. I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-14