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Turning Thirty

All My Days

I'm a fan of birthdays - my own and others alike.

Hardly a celebration goes by in which I am not actively participating.

So it's no surprise, I've been thinking about this next birthday of mine for awhile. As you'll remember, last year's birthday was not what I expected but I learned a good lesson through it all.

This year, though, is different.

This year is 30.


That came fast.

I can't help but think of Meg Ryan's character, Sally, in the beloved 1989 film When Harry Met Sally when she's crying hysterically at how her life looks much different than she anticipated with the classic line, "And I'm going to be forty!"

Harry, played by Billy Crystal, is quick to ask when, to which she says with eyes wide and overwhelmed, "Somedayyy!"

He tries to bring her back to reality with, "In eight years!"

And her next three words are precisely how we sometimes feel, "But it's there!"

That's how a many have felt about thirty, especially when life did not turn out how their 23-year-old self thought it would.

There are countless blogs about what to do before you're thirty, but that makes it feel like it's some kind of dead end.

Maybe it's the eternal optimist in me, but I don't like that.

At all.

So this is NOT that kind of post.

This is for anyone who has already approached 30 (recent or otherwise) or soon will approach 30 as well as all of you 23-year-olds and the like with seemingly perfect plans detailed for your life. Your plans may come to be, but there's a better chance God will show you His plans for your life and I hope you choose that path instead.

I thought I'd get inspiration for this week's post from Jenna Rink in 13 Going On 30, but then I realized I'm so glad I didn't jump from 13 to 30.

If you had asked me at different times through these last seventeen years, there are moments I would have taken you up on that offer - definitely some hard times I didn't want to experience and would have rather skipped at the time.

But now, I see what a loss that would have been. I am the woman I am today because of how God has been ever near to me through those seventeen years and the thirteen before then.

What They Don't Tell You About Your Twenties

This birthday is a page turner for me. That’s how thirty feels. Not just a new page but a new chapter. My sister used the word "new" three times in her card for me, and I agree.

You know, turning to a new page means there were some things written on the previous pages.

So I thought I’d share some things I’ve learned and written down in my last chapter, hoping it can encourage you if you are living this chapter right now or remind you of truth as you navigate another chapter of your life.

1. For starters, your twenties is a time of SO MUCH transition. At 18, you and your friends were largely on the same page. Over the next 12+ years, this will change drastically.

Don’t compare where you are in life to someone else. Your path is different. And that’s ON PURPOSE.

Looking at someone else’s path will only confuse you. Keep your eyes fixed above. Embrace YOUR race and trust the One who is guiding you.

3. Let go. Let go of the plan you have for your life. God’s ways are abundantly higher and BETTER than any we can create ourselves.

Rather than holding onto your plan, hold onto Him.

He loves you and He will never let you down.

Surrender is where we find FREEDOM, and stepping out into the water with Him (obedience) is where we find PURPOSE. And the sweetest, most unexpected JOY.

Let go - so you are able to grab hold of what He has for you.

I have a feeling all of life is a lesson in letting go. We might as well practice this in our young adult years so it doesn’t smack us in the face later on.

3. 30 seems so far away but it comes in a flash. Enjoy the season you’re in. Learn to be present here. When the world is serving you a generous spoonful of fear of missing out, listen to the voice that tells you to rest awhile, even wait. We don’t like that word, but it’s for our good. And His glory.

Recognize it IS indeed a season - whether good or bad. Soon the tide will change. Learn all you can and soak in Truth to prepare for the next season you’ll soon enter.

4. Talk to Him about all of it. All the highs, lows and in-betweens. We tend to talk to everyone BUT Him. We seek advice from our family and friends before we ask God for His perspective.

We’ve got it backwards.

He’s the only one who sees all. And life will only get busier. Use this time to develop the habit of daily convos and intentional time with God.

I think talking to Him about it helps us learn how to praise Him through all of it, too. We see He is WITH us and FOR us through the waves - both those we see now and those up ahead.

5. Life gets better with 30. Even though I can’t promise acne will forever go away by then (fingers crossed this gift comes with 40), life has a way of teaching you how to embrace the skin you’re in.

Use this time to learn, walk humbly, and grow deep roots. Know you are more than skin deep and so are those all around you. That person over there whose name you don't know and even the one you do know who may have hurt you deeply, God loves them just as much as He loves you. We’re all a work in progress.

And you’ll never run out of L O V E.

Give it freely and fearlessly, even when it’s not given in return. Give it abundantly — to yourself and others.

May we learn to be ever generous with our love. What a world we’d know.

All My Days

Reflecting on my days leading up to this page turn, I wrote down a few words of gratitude.

It's simple, but it's from the heart. I think that's all He desires from us. I pray it meets you where you are today as you reflect on all the days you've been given.

All my days You breathe into me You grow me You show me that You, oh Lord, are near to me All my days You forgive me You heal me You teach me for You, oh Lord, are near to me All my days You hear me You sustain me You heal me again for You, oh Lord, are near to me All my days You call me by name You help me look up You lead me into the deep for You, oh Lord, are near to me All my days You love me fiercely You hold me surely You remind me continually that You, oh Lord, are near to me I believe in You For You walk with me And knowing You And loving You Is the greatest treasure of All my days. - All My Days by Candace Cofer

Reflection is powerful, because remembrance is powerful.

When you reflect and remember God's nearness in your own life, what words in this poem stand out to you? Why is this?

If you were to write your own stanza as a reflection of your life, what would you tell God? Here's a framework to get you started. Don't overthink it or try to make it perfect, just quiet your heart and write what comes to mind. He's not looking for perfect. He just wants your heart. Let it be an offering of praise rising up to your Father in heaven who knows you and loves you just as you are.

All my days You ____ me You ____ me You ____ me [that, and, for] You, oh Lord, are near to me.

If you're feeling brave, add your stanza in a comment below. Let's keep the praise going. Your perspective will undoubtedly encourage and speak to another.

May we find strength in His nearness, joy in remembrance, and peace in His presence. May we live rested and seek new rest with Him to live this way again the next day we are given.

The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.

P.S. This year I'm sharing my birthday wish with all of you - it will cost you nothing but actually give YOU something each week - my favorite thing to give - encouragement! Add your email address in the box below so we can spend some time together again next week!

I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!

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David Brownlee
David Brownlee
Jul 27, 2021

Thank you for writing this blog Candace. It is very encouraging and filled with lots of hope and love. It is also filled with bitter sweet, as the tide rolls in and out coming up on the shore I have kept at bay not trusting in the Lord’s love and blessing.It is sweet now because I’m starting to walk in that now. Please Candace with all you’ve got and all the Lord gives and allows spread this word of encouragement in your writings and I pray it goes abroad there’s too many sad depressed hearts out there.


David Brownlee
David Brownlee
Jul 27, 2021
All my days
You danced with me and I did not know.
You allowed things to happen to me, even the bad and it has left an abyss only you can fill.
You embrace me [that, and, for] You, oh Lord, are near to me; and I have not recognized there!

Candace Cofer
Candace Cofer
Jul 27, 2021
Replying to

Isn't it so sweet to look back and see how Jesus was there even when we did not realize it in the moment? He's always there, always with us. Thank you, David, for sharing this with us. I so love the imagery of Him dancing with us, too. So good!




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