Joel Elliott Mooneyhan
Thirty-nine isn't a milestone year. You aren't eligible for anything new, there aren't any new privileges to be had. There aren't any birthday cards or party supplies for turning thirty-nine. But that doesn't mean nothing momentous happens.
In the past year, I've grown in ways that I never knew possible. I've leaned how much loving someone and being loved by that person can teach you about yourself; how strong you really are, how much you really have to give, how much room there is to grow. It isn't always easy, but man is it worth it.
I've continued to grow in my understanding of my call and what it means to be in ministry. Having grown up in a pastor's family and having served Christ's church for over half my life, it never ceases to amaze me how much more there is to know. I've grown unimpressed by experts and continually amazed by people who serve quietly and with no fanfare or spotlight.
In a few weeks, I'm getting married my Great Love and becoming a Bonus Dad to her amazing little girl. In that same time, I'll be closing my time at the church where I have spent nearly ten years and embarking on yet another new road to pursue my call.
Things change in ways you never expect and you very often wind up in places you never anticipated. It isn't always easy, but when you learn to adjust your footing as the ground changes beneath you, it's worth it.
My Dad still shares with me his limitless wisdom. My Mom is still and endless fountain of encouragement. My sisters and brother and their families still show me undying support.
I'm blessed to see my family increase as I start life with the most beautiful woman in history and her daughter, whose presence has made me find the best parts of myself. And I have found new sources of encouragement and support from her family.
My friends still rally behind me in thick and thin, and so many things this year, good and bad, have been made immeasurably better with them in my corner.
I ramble. What I am getting at is this: thirty-nine isn't a milestone year, but that isn't for anyone to say. If there's one thing I have learned, it's that the right things come at the right time, and the calendar doesn't have much bearing on it. I've seen a wonderful year pass, and I am headed into the next with hope and promise.
Y'all take care and be good to one another.
If you're so inclined, you can also click through these links to read my previous years' reflections on turning Thirty Five, Thirty Six, Thirty Seven, and Thirty Eight.