Grey hair, Green Tea and Garden Centres*

*DISCLAIMER – blog is distinctly lower in spiritual content this month and somewhat self-centred*

Some of you may know that I turned 30 this week… (I will still accept cards from those of you who didn’t send one… I jest!) So on a somewhat frivolous note I have listed 30 observations on turning, what Emily Bartlett (a big shout-out to you!) describes as ‘the BIG 3 – 0’.

30 musings on turning 30… #bearwith:

  1. Main musing… HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?! (repeat every 5 minutes).
  2. Text messages from M&S telling you to put in your food order before 15th December- you gotta love the Sparks Card. (Is it just me, or is it the most pointless loyalty card out there?!)
  3. Speaking of M&S – it is now the shop of choice. However I would like to stress that I am not quite at the stage of the foot glove range… yet.
  4. Green tea and porridge is the breakfast of a King. (The metabolism can no longer deal with Pop Tarts).
  5. I’m expecting my knowledge of bird life and plant life to dramatically increase.
  6. Pop socks are now acceptable to wear (I know, the shame).
  7. I find myself using the phrase ‘youth of today’… I mean, WHAT is the point of snapchat anyway?!
  8. Said youth, in an attempt to make you feel better, will say things like, ‘Oh, but you don’t look 30’ or ‘It’s not THAT old’. #nothelpful
  9. I find myself saying phrases like, ‘Well, I haven’t seen the news all week!’ This is perhaps a genetic trait as it is an oft repeated phrase amongst the McKeown parentals.
  10. I sympathise with Miranda Hart when she says that her idea of a wild night in is watching an omnibus of Countryfile with a family size bar of Toberlone.
  11. Grey hair. And let me tell you, I have several (for which you may read ‘hundreds’). They seem to have a life of their own and poke out at random angles from your head. #notcool
  12. Increased stress levels when one’s routine is interrupted (to be fair, this has stressed me out since I was about 15).
  13. Living life by, what I call, a ‘life list’ (again, I’ve been making lists since I was 15).
  14. Increased malfunctioning of the filter between the brain and the month – apologies to anyone I have offended… it means I like you!
  15. Increased levels of social awkwardness (again, pretty sure this is not related to age).
  16. You find yourself saying, ‘Oh having a lie in is such a waste of a morning’ and immediately you want to put your mother’s words back in her mouth.
  17. You get excited when you have enough Nectar points for the Tu collection. #amengokwan
  18. It is increasingly important that your bath towels and your hand towels match (in fact, things matching in general is important).
  19. You find yourself buying birthday cards months in advance (no, just me?!) In fact, you find yourself buying cards… just in general (I make no apology for liking to send cards!)
  20. You think you are the same generation of those 10 years younger than you… and then they don’t know what Blue Peter is… and you are painfully reminded that you are in fact… THIRTY.
  21. You find that you own a slow cooker, a spiraliser, a juicer and a heated ice-cream scoop – none of which you have ever used, nor do you have any intention of using.
  22. You listen to Radio 2… and enjoy it (again, this is not related to being thirty at all).
  23. Coffee shop visitation takes on a dramatic increase. #besthobbyever
  24. Garden Centres, coffee shops AND farm shops… now that is indeed a marriage made in heaven.
  25. The thought of watching a film after 9pm makes you feel physically ill (I mean, it’ll not finish until at least 11pm!)
  26. You want to punch (metaphorically speaking) people who say that they feel ‘so old’ as they turn 21.
  27. You find yourself discussing with your friends, who are new home owners, the benefits of having a downstairs toilet and giving colour scheme advice.
  28. From time to time you will ask yourself, ‘What would Mary Berry do?’ in this situation.
  29. The level of satisfaction you feel at remembering to bring in one of the forty-five bags for life you have in the car, into the supermarket, cannot be surpassed!
  30. The Queen’s speech is the highlight of your Christmas day.

Yikes… how DID this happen?!

In fact that was the very phrase that entered my head this week as we had the privilege of doing some work with puppets as part of children’s ministry. At this juncture I would like to add that it is no coincidence that ‘puppet’ rhymes with ‘muppet’… because that is exactly how I felt. However all work for the Kingdom!

As I attempted to coordinate myself with the puppet, who, incidentally I named ‘Brad’ (it’s important that you bond, apparently) I couldn’t help but think back to what I had been doing this time last year and I may have asked the Lord, ‘How did this happen?!’

Nevertheless, despite my cynicism, from which I have now repented, I have been really challenged recently from my various placements and from Psalm 78 about the need to bring the gospel ‘to the coming generation’ and to tell them of ‘the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done’. I am thankful for people whom the Lord has gifted in puppet ministry to do this! Indeed, despite my cynical thoughts on how I found myself with a puppet, I know exactly how this happened!

It happened because I trust in the Lord, who, Isaiah says, ‘leads you in the way you should go’ and I can see that clearly over the past year.

I trust in the Lord who searches my heart and knows every plan and thought (Psalm 139, 1 Chronicles 28).

I trust in the Lord who waits for me to come him, who ‘responds to the sound of [my] cries’ and who speaks to me saying, ‘this is the way you should go, whether to the right or to the left’ (Isaiah 30 v 18 – 22).

Indeed, I trust in the Lord who says that ‘even to your old age I am he, and to grey hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save’ (Isaiah 46:4).

I was reading about Joseph this week. As he was sold to the Midianites and ended up in prison in Egypt I am sure he must have asked himself many times, ‘How did this happen?’ However, how amazing it is to read that ‘the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love…’  (Genesis 39:21) because Joseph made himself available for the Lord, to fulfill the Lord’s purposes.

So I’ve decided I don’t need to worry about grey hairs and I can embrace my love of green tea and garden centres because I have a Lord who has a plan- a plan where He can use me, if I make myself ready to be at His disposal, to reach this generation for Him.

And so I leave you with the words of Dr Helen Roseveare,[1] who passed away this week. At times she questioned what was happening to her on the mission field, but she came to this conclusion:

“It would seem that God had merely asked me to give Him my mind, my training, the ability that He has given me; to serve Him unquestioningly; and to leave with Him the consequences… How wonderful God is, and how foolish we are to argue with Him and not to trust Him wholly in every situation as we seek to serve Him!”