When I turned 30 I faced a mini crisis.

I’d spent 12 years leading inner city ministries. I’d faced leadership struggles, personal tragedies and a ton of disappointment. I was a newly exhausted mom to a little boy who hated sleep as much as I needed it, and our financial situation was less than stellar. As I approached my birthday I remember thinking “Are my best days behind me? Will I always feel like I’m barely surviving?” Every day felt like a like a battle to be fought - and subsequently lost. 

Your best days are ahead of you

My lifeline came in this short but significant word from God. It exposed a heart weary of hoping for anything beyond routine and disappointment. Believing that life would always be about enduring, I was begging God, always wrestling with Him in the hopes of squeezing out one more blessing. Trying to convince Him I'd worked hard enough. It was difficult to imagine a thriving future when the present season was so unyielding.

Now 6 years later I barely recognize that young woman who felt so fearful of what lay head. I recently turned 36 and I can’t believe how happy I feel about it. In fact, just this past May I spent a day in Sonoma with some of my close girl friends, horseback riding through rocky trails overlooking Lake Sonoma and wandering vineyards of a local winery, reflecting on life, love and the legacy I’m building.

More, not less.

As I roamed the vineyard, touching the lush emerald leaves and modest buds, I was reminded that life, much like wine, is about embracing the seasons . Each vine develops a well-defined flavor, a depth and richness that can't be recreated another year. It's distinctive to the season - to it's journey and it's surroundings. 

What I’ve come to realize is that with each year of our lives - the moments of glory and ugly - we become more complex. We gain layers that fold upon each other, seams that add beauty, dimension and flavor. Experience and history braid in such a way that we acquire new skills, fresh perspectives and eyes for possibility. 

The process is terrifying. The journey is arduous. We weather conditions that change us and as we watch ourselves wince and recoil, we wonder if we'll survive, if we'll find our feet, our voice or our strength. But life is less about finding, and more about creating - and creation is always a process. At any point in the process it appears messy and chaotic, like disorganized mayhem or untamed energy. But with a broad lens it all builds towards something meaningful. Something bountiful.

Who you are now is never all you will be.

The Winemaker will tend you through wallowing Winters and nurture you through scorching Summers. He'll prune you, caress you and remind you who you are and all that you'll become. With each moment you are changing, growing and moving forward. 

If today you feel stuck in survival and struggle, don't give up. Your best days are ahead of you. Hold on. Dig in. Breathe. 

He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. Psalm 18:19