I turned 32 today. It has been 12 years since I met my husband. I have been a mother for 9 years. My 20s were filled with so much. Some very good things, like love and motherhood and faith. Some very painful things, like mental illness and struggling financially. I feel as if I have come out from those years a much more solid person than I used to be.

I went from having babies to raising them into children. I think about how much life will change by the time I reach 40, which suddenly feels not so far away. I will have teenagers, and who knows where we will be.

I keep thinking about how important this time is in their lives, and my own. I felt like I was figuring things out in my 20s, now I feel like I am climbing to where I set my path.

I woke up this morning and 32 felt right. It feels good to be a grown woman rather than a young woman just testing the waters of adulthood. I know myself really well, all the good and bad and in between. I have learned the things that help me, and how to avoid the things that do not. I have learned how to love, how to commit, how to never stop trying. I have shed the weight of shame in exchange for the freedom of forgiveness.

I felt so loved today. My husband did everything to make me feel special. My children showered me in homemade cards and chalk drawings on the driveway. They were so excited to give me presents. Their love was like pure joy to me. My mother, the woman who fought so hard to bring me into this world, is my best friend now.

I ignored the messy apartment. I pushed aside concerns over bills, moving, money, etc. I basked in the love of my family, and I felt immeasurably grateful for the gift they are to me. Nothing else really matters. All other things change, you cannot rely on material things. But the love of my heavenly Father, and the love of the family he has given me filled me to overflowing.

I have my struggles. I will have to keep fighting the shadows. But today was a celebration I am thankful for.

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