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20 Lessons As I Turn 40

Emily Saunders

In a couple of weeks I turn 40.  How crazy to even type that.  As I reflect on the reality of entering a new decade, I’m truly excited.  My 30s have been wonderful and amazing and full of raising babies and little boys and building Momsanity.  That said, I am so grateful for the wisdom that comes with age and have no desire to go backward. My husband and I also celebrated 20 years together this year on his 40th birthday.  It’s a big year for us and an important time for reflection. As I ponder the last decade, twenty lessons easily come to mind.  I hope you find encouragement in the wisdom I’ve gained and that you’ll share yours as well!

  1.  Age really is just a number.  Sure I have knee wrinkles and my waist is no longer as chiseled as it was 10 years ago, but overall I feel so strong and energetic and ready to tackle each day.  Don’t ever believe the lie that feeling like junk is acceptable because of your age. 
  2. True friendships include accountability.  I used to think that friendships were most important when someone validated everything I did or said.  I’ve realized that true friends keep us accountable to the things that matter.  We can be fully transparent with one another, but also we help each other to grow closer to Jesus while recognizing our struggles and blind spots with lots of love and grace.
  3. Marriage requires time and effort.  The more kids we have and the more demanding our lives/careers etc., the more it’s imperative to focus both time and effort into marriage. As humans, we don’t naturally drift together, it takes intention. 
  4. Boldness and Meekness can co-exist.  I used to think that boldness and meekness were opposites.  As I’ve matured, I’ve realized that we can be both bold and gentle at the same time.  Boldness, to me, is remaining firm in my convictions and pushing aside fear to express them.  To be effectively bold, we must also be gentle and loving with the way our boldness is shared with others.  
  5. Collaboration is better than competition.  As women, we are often threatened by other women’s successes.  I’ve learned there is room for everyone and most often the more we can work together in common purpose, the more we can thrive and serve others.
  6. Motherhood is a long term investment.  I have never once accomplished a goal in parenting in one moment, day or week.  It’s those tiny investments of love and discipline over and over and over again that help.
  7. God is in the small stuff.  I’m learning to look for Him in the details and the small moments.  He is so good to me and I deserve nothing.  It’s in the small moments that I most see him working. Sometimes I catch myself and am overwhelmed with emotion at the gifts of relationships and experiences that He provides. 
  8. Unstructured time is imperative.  I used to think that weekends needed to be full of activity. Now, we enjoy slow time together more than anything else.  
  9. My greatest responsibility as a mom is to point my kids to Christ.  Nothing else matters including their grades, accomplishments, abilities or anything else.  Sure I want them to work hard and be productive citizens, but if they don’t know Jesus, they have nothing.
  10. Older kids are awesome.  Everyone always told me I would miss the little years.  I love babies, but I adore having real conversations and experiences with my boys as they get older. I cherish the memories from every stage, but love watching them grow and mature. 
  11. God rewards obedience.  The hardest things I’ve said yes to are my greatest blessings. Our calling and purpose might not be valuable to the world and that’s ok. 
  12.  Asking questions is better than having answers.  I find this in parenting, marriage, work and friendship.  Jesus asked a lot of questions. 
  13. When my husband feels respected, I also feel loved.  They really do go together.  Biblical submission is a beautiful thing. 
  14. We don’t have to share everything with everyone to be effective. In the name of authenticity, we’ve become very good at oversharing everything.  I love the think test.  Is it True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, and Kind?  If not pause, pray and re-evaluate.
  15. You can only be loved to the extent that you're known.  True Biblical community includes people who understand your brokenness and point you toward Christ.  When we hide sin, heartache, and difficult experiences and circumstances, it’s difficult for others to love us well.
  16. God is gracious and merciful AND He hates and punishes sin.  He is both love and judge.  Our culture gets this very confused. On that note, no amount of self- love or self-care can save a soul. 
  17. Fitness looks different in different seasons and that’s ok.  I started my 30s as a gym rat and now I workout at home 90% of the time.  My workouts are shorter, I’ve gotten back into running (I stopped for a while for physique purposes) because I love it and basically I’m making what I love work in each stage of life.
  18. Consistency in everything that matters will ultimately lead to results. Time in God’s Word, exercise, relationships, nutrition, saving money.  All of it!  It’s not “sexy” but it works. 
  19. You will never make everyone like you.  People pleasing ultimately leads to defeat.  We work for an audience of one.  Stay in God’s Word, pray continually, surrender, and walk as He leads you. 
  20. Get a puppy.  I’m turning 40 with a new puppy and she has brought so much joy to our family (not recommended if you have babies and toddlers). 


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