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In a few short weeks, I will be a year older.

40 years around the sun.

A brand new decade.

I know for most, getting older, and hitting those age milestones are not exactly something they look forward to. In a culture that celebrates youthfulness and turns our noses at the idea of wrinkles and gray hair and softer bodies, you would think that I would be less than thrilled about my upcoming birthday.

But I am excited. Thrilled even. I will be celebrating. Maybe throw myself a party. Already have plans to go on a girls trip. Celebrate the fact that, Lord willing, I get another birthday to celebrate with those I love.

39 was the year that taught me a lot. About myself. I rediscovered a far more confident woman and no longer the young girl I used to be.

39 was the year where I embraced the new role of being a single mom.

39 was the year that I discovered my voice again and started to use it more often.

39 was the year I started to have more fun in the everyday. That I focused on creating more memories with my kids and enjoying every possible second that I had with them.

39 was the year that I allowed myself more breaks. More grace For myself. More grace for others.

39 was the year that I opened myself up to the idea of a new relationship. That several false starts and almost maybes would eventually lead to an incredible connection and friendship with another beautiful soul. Regardless of whether this lasts forever or for a short while, 39 was the year that allowed me to not be so afraid to be vulnerable and to go after what made me happy. And to pursue what I want.

39 was also the year I tapped into my gifts and provided me a very clear direction of where I want to go. To write more. Speak more. Share more. Love more. Encourage more often and lift up constantly. To empower and equip those who chose to come into this space with me.

39 was the year I learned that fighting and being a fighter did not always mean I had to be the winner. It didn’t mean that I had to die on every hill. That sometimes, it was okay to lay down my weapons and surrender. That I could let go and be at peace with whatever it was I was battling.

39 was the year I forgave more.

39 was the year I cried more. I also laughed more.

39 was the year where I discovered freedom. I remembered who I was and still am in Christ.

39 was the year I broke out of the cage I was just not meant to be in. I have always felt like I was too much and too big for this world and for people. Truth is, I still feel like I will be ultimately too much for others and may end up alone. But I am learning to become okay with that.

I am too much. God made me that way. I love who I am.

39 was a defining year for me.

For a little while, I felt like maybe I was running out of time. Being a single mom. Having to find a new place to live and learning how to live on my own, the first time since I got married at the age of 23.

But I look at it now, and should I be so fortunate, God could grant me 50 more years on this earth. I hope so.

I am excited to see what kind of year 40 will be.

39 was transformative. 40 should be absolutely spectacular.

Tiffany Rhea

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