Written By: Clarissa Mangaran

Today is my 36th birthday, which also marks the seventh year I’ve been living a life dedicated to the Lord. Truth be told, I wept on my 30th birthday because “now I’m old.” The days of my youth were over (*insert eye-rolling emoji). At the time, it felt real, but in the years following, I’ve had quite the perspective change in many ways. 

I was talking with a group of ladies who are in their early to mid-twenties. I told them how as much as I dreaded hitting my thirties, I’ve come to realize that the last 5 (now 6) years have been some of the best years of my life. I don’t say that because they have been the easiest, quite the opposite actually. I say that because most of the things I worried about or clung to for fulfillment and identity are a thing of the past. 

Up until my thirties, I believed I had to take care of myself. I thought my worth was in how I looked and what I could accomplish. Not being heard or seen felt stifling. I sought pleasures of the world to feel alive and to escape the burden of my responsibilities and the emptiness I felt in my heart. I was lost and grasping at straws for meaning in my life. 

Then at 29, I had enough of trying to figure things out on my own. By the world’s understanding, I should feel less satisfied with life or worse about myself. Raising four young kids comes with its fair share of stress and exhaustion. And since my youngest was born, I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life. I’m not as attractive as I used to be, and I spend all of my energy keeping the house clean and tending to the needs of my family. I have to keep these little humans alive! However, over the last seven years, I have learned to let go of what I thought brought my life meaning and worth and take hold of what the Word says is true. I have found my purpose and my identity in Christ- and what freedom there is in that! 

Here’s what Scripture says about:

My Identity –

“‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’” (Jeremiah 1:5)

“Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, children not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12-13

“But whoever is united with the Lord is one with Him in spirit.” (1 Corinthians 6:17)

“Now you are the body of Christ [the church], and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12: 27)

My Purpose – 

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything i have commanded you.” (Matthew 28: 10-20)

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

What God considers beautiful –

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fading; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30)

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfailing beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands…” (1 Peter 3:3-5)

Maturity has not come simply by getting older and from life experiences. Rather, from my time in God’s presence, studying His Word, in prayer, and conversations with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. The confidence I feel about myself, my marriage, and my life, in general, comes from knowing I can’t control everything, and I don’t need to because I have a Heavenly Father who is in control and He has a plan far better and bigger than you and me…and it’s a really good one! 

Written By: Clarissa Mangaran