Hey! Happy birthday, you! I don't know if you're excited to turn the big 4-0, but just in case you're nervous about it, I wanted to take a moment to remind you about how you felt about turning the big 3-0. (Although now you are probably looking back on me and thinking, "Ah...so young!") So sit back, relax, and let me remind you all about all your thoughts about turning 30.
To begin with...you did NOT want to turn 30.
In reality, the reason for despising the number 30 was because you weren't at the point in life where you always envisioned you would be. You'd had all these dreams and hopes for the past 5 years that just hadn't come to pass. It was easy for you to dwell on the fact that the numbers 3 and 0 meant many things. 3 was the number of kids you always said you wanted. (Well, "at LEAST 3" was the correct saying) But yet 0 was the number you had so far. 3 was the number of total colonoscopy's you had had in your life from ages 28-30 due to an auto immune disease that rocked your world in 2018. 0 was the number of how many people you got to hug and see on a daily basis because of quarantine from a world-wide epidemic (Josh was excluded from this count;)) And so the list could go on...
But let me tell you, Andrea, don't stop reading here, because that would be a BIG downer! You had a whole year to contemplate this decade change and had time to reflect back on how far God had brought you. And wow...He never ceases to amaze you!
(Oh, and this photoshoot?? When you first started not wanting to celebrate the big 3-0, you decided to put your foot down against that feeling. Instead, you were going to do a crazy fun shoot to CELEBRATE the fact of turning 30!)
So what happened in this past decade of 20's? I'll give you the ONE WORD highlights that describe each season where God taught you something.
You started off your 20's on a road team traveling around the US to different churches! It's here that your faith got even stronger, you learned how to teach kids effectively, and you met Josh!
You married your best friend in the whole wide world! You've now been married 5.5 years and God is continually growing you both as a team and teaching you how to use your strengths together to love those around you.
You moved back to Michigan and developed awesome friendships with those in your church family and loved getting to work with the teens/kids.
You started a princess business with your sister and loved the couple of years you had bonding, laughing, and having fun together! Like seriously...who else can say they got the excuse to pretend to be a Disney princess for multiple days?!
You got a job working at an elementary school! You've loved getting to challenge yourself in learning all the kids' names, enjoyed teaching multiple library classes, and worked with fun small groups. The church even started an After School Program this past year that you got to be involved in. Ah...so MUCH FUN.
You may have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Ulcerative Colitis in 2018...but through all of it, God taught you the true meaning of JOY in the midst of trials. He showed you the power of answered prayer and what it means to completely rely on Him. And now that you're hopefully through the thick of it (yay!), you still are reminded on a daily basis that God is in control even at times when things may appear to be falling apart.
While you and Josh may have struggled with infertility for 4 years, God has taught you how to trust Him like never before! His timing is always perfect!
God gave you and Josh and vision for the future! That came in the form of...Josh and Andrea Photography! You've loved seeing how God has been working in all the little details and you can't wait to see how God is going to use you and Josh in the lives of many engaged couples and families! Plus, getting to work alongside your best friend? That's the cherry on top;)
I saved this one for last, Andrea. While you were definitely not perfect at this at age 30, you were learning. No, you may not have been in "the place" where you had imagined you would be at age 30. But you knew that you were 100 percent exactly where God wanted you to be. You were content. Yes, you still had hard days, but instead of wishing away the here and now and wishing you were someplace else "in life", you chose to take every advantage of where you were right now and to not waste it!
So yeah. That's it, I guess! Still afraid about turning 40? It's ok. You're fine. Just sit down and write a letter for 50-year-old us...
(P.S. Oh and I'm sure you think Josh has even more amazing skills 10 years later. But right now, "Age 30 Me" thinks that he can take some crazy good photos! Check them out, girl!)
All photos are property of Josh and Andrea Photography, LLC