This Wednesday, I turned 40 years old. When I was a young girl growing up, I imagined what my life would be like when I was old. You see, when you are little, 40 seems old; now that I have turned 40, I feel as if it is still quite young. At the ripe old age of 40, imagined I would live in an old farmhouse with 2 children, a boy and a girl. I would be a homeroom mother, baking cookies and sewing pilgrim costumes for the Thanksgiving program at school. My husband and I would have been married since college, and we would be members of the local country club. We would have looked like a picture straight out of a Hallmark Christmas movie.

Isn’t it funny that when you think you have made the best plans for your life, God takes them and makes them so much better? When I graduated college, I thought I knew the boy I would marry. Even though it was not a good relationship, I held on to that childhood dream so tight because I didn’t have full faith that God would truly provide for my dreams. God continued to work on my life, even though I held with clinched fists onto what I thought I needed. I was sad and depressed; I felt betrayed by God and felt as if my prayers only reached the ceiling of my bedroom as I lay crying most nights. I felt as if my dreams were slipping through my fingers. I found myself getting older and nothing had gone according to “my” plans.

Looking back now, the Lord set in motion a series of events in my life that lead me straight to the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. You see, I changed my prayer from, “Lord, please let me marry this man,” to “Lord, please let me see others the way you see them.” My youngest brother was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis and was in the CCU at UAB for several months. Every weekend, I would drive from Tennessee to be with my family and my brother. While there, we met a musician from Russellville who invited us to a show they performed every month. A few weeks later, I was able to attend the show and that’s when I spotted the man who would become my husband. I knew the moment I saw him that there was something different about him. I did a little research and prayed about it. We soon went on our first date, and I knew that I was going to marry him. At age 33, I walked down the aisle to the man God had been preparing for me my entire life.

Without the support of my husband, I don’t think I could have faced the fact that I will not be able to have children. He has been by my side, a constant source of strength and a marvelous example of faith. God has always given me more than I have prayed for in my life. I prayed for a husband, and God sent me the absolute best husband on the planet. I have prayed and begged for children. As tears flow down my cheeks as I write this, I trust that the Lord will provide my heart’s desire for children. It may not be in the way that I had always imagined, but it will be in the best way for my husband and me to be parents and in our longing bring glory and honor to God.

As I reflect on my 40 years on this planet, I know I still have a lot to learn. I continue to pray and ask God for things I would like in my life. My prayer has changed over the years, however, instead of just asking God for a list of things like a child at Christmas with Santa Claus, I now ask in every request for the Lord to give me what I need, not what I want. You see, the Lord is much wiser than I will ever be. I pray for continued wisdom and guidance as I am still striving to be the person God wants me to be in this life.
This year has brought about so many challenges but so many opportunities and blessings. My husband and I have started our own business, and I quit my corporate job. We have taken a huge leap of faith and have been extremely blessed. We are not taking one blessing for granted, and we are relying on the Lord to continue to provide as we lean on him for guidance and understanding.

I don’t know what will happen in my life in the next 40 years, but I do know that it will be a wonderful journey. I know that if I continue to place God first in my life, the blessings will continue to come. I know that I will face hardships, but I know that if I keep my focus and faith, I will prevail. I know that the Lord will continue to be in control of my life, even when the world seems to be falling apart around me. I find myself happier than I have ever been and feel the Lord’s blessings pouring out over my life. Without the Lord’s guidance and blessings, I would have nothing to show for my life.

This week’s recipe is a vintage classic, just like me! My mother would make this soup when she felt like she needed to eat something healthy, but filling and comforting. I still love this soup today and make it when I want something warm and comforting to eat, without any guilt. You probably know it as weight-loss soup. I just know it as delicious! I hope you give it a try this winter and feel free to change up the veggies to make this your own. You can also add chicken, turkey, or ground beef, if you like.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work with in us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever. Ephesians 3:20-21