I turned 34 this week. Gosh, I love being in my 30’s. I threw myself a pizza party, baked and decorated myself a cake, bought “Happy Birthday” plates and pink stripey napkins, and invited adult friends over who gave me flowers as gifts. I love it all.
Most days, I even love being single in my 30’s. I have friends my age whose kids are in middle school now, and I wonder when they ever had time to figure out themselves. I have friends with 6 kids, friends with a divorce or two, and friends with incredible how-I-met-your-mother stories. When I look at their lives, I don’t know how they do it, and I’m just so glad that God has given me the life I have.
(I even found out this week that some of the little girls at church think Nicole and I are SO COOL for being independent women and roommates in our own cute little apartment. We are pretty cool, aren’t we?)
What I don’t love so much is the level of adulting required some days. When I was a kid, I thought being an adult was 90% fun and 10% work. And some days, it really is. But these past couple of months have required some serious adulting. At a couple of points, I even had to fight back the lie that I could have dealt with my problems better if I’d had a husband to help me out.
You see, when I was growing up, my mom did the chores in the house, and my dad did the chores with the car. Somewhere along the line, my brain came to understand that the man takes care of the car – tire pressure checks, oil changes, windshield cleaning, waxing, etc.
When I needed to go look for cars when I graduated from college, I took my dad. When I needed to get my car serviced, I asked my dad for advice. When I was stranded on the side of the road, I called my dad. When I take my car for oil changes or routine maintenance, I think of myself as a strong, independent woman because I’m doing a man’s job.
Even now, I tend to think subconsciously that I only have to take care of my car until I’m married, and then I’ll have a man to worry about that for me.
Then in December, right before Christmas 2016, my car of almost four years – the only one I’d brought brand new, that I only had one payment left on – was rear-ended on the on-ramp to the freeway.
She was totaled. I was sad.
I had to deal with insurance, finances, car shopping online and in person, police reports, DMV paperwork – all that fun, adult stuff.
Seventeen days later, just 6 days after I drove home a certified pre-owned little beauty I’d found at a Toyota dealership, my new car was rear-ended when I was stopped on the freeway.
She also was totaled.
What the heck, right? So before I was even done with all the adulting from the first car accident, it started AGAIN! Insurance, finances, car shopping, police reports… good, good times.
A couple of weeks ago, I drove home another new car, and she’s wonderful. I can’t even begin to explain how blessed I am to have found this little gem. She has Bluetooth, backup camera, the works. She drives like a dream, gets gas mileage like a sports car, and comes with high safety ratings (another adult-y thing I never had to think about before now).
When I tell people about how the last couple of months of being 33 went, I say something like, “Life is hard, but God is good.”
Throughout the whole process, I wasn’t once bitter that I didn’t have a husband to help me navigate the world of car insurance/shopping, etc. I wasn’t injured beyond mild whiplash. I didn’t rail at God about what he was doing in my life, and I had peace the whole time that He had a plan.
I heard a sermon during this time, in which the preacher said, “Your future is in the hands of a good God Who loves you.”
And it was. I went from having a 2013 Versa with 80,000+ miles whose fanciest feature was her CD player – to having a 2014 Elantra with 5000 miles whose fancy features include a real-life backup camera!
I went from stressing about my finances and wondering how I was going to afford a new car when my Versa’s warranty ran out – to having the finances to buy two different cars within a month of each other, lower payments, cheaper oil changes, and better gas mileage. Oh, and free car washes for the life of the car!
I’ve learned a lot about God since my 33rd birthday, but I think one of the most tangible lessons has been with all of the adulting as a single I’ve had to do lately. Because of this process, God has quite literally shown me that my future is in the hands of a good God Who loves me.
Whether you and I are in the beginning, middle, or end of a trial, though, we don’t have to look at our circumstances to know that God is good. We can trust that He is because He showed us his ultimate goodness when He sent Jesus to die for us. And He showed us that He loves us when Jesus rose from the dead so that our future would be guaranteed in His presence in heaven forever.
In between now and my 35th birthday, I’m looking forward to finding out just what God does with my future. I’m actually excited to be in my mid-30’s. I might even finally be okay with handling my own car issues like a proper adult, and not just someone who is pretending to adult until something better comes along.
My prayer for my readers is this: may all of our trials find us knowing Jesus better, loving our Savior more, and trusting God more tangibly than we did before.
(I sure will be glad when I don’t dream in my sleep about being rear-ended anymore, though. Bleck.)