I Turn Forty Today

Forty is far more beautiful and strong and wise and free than I imagined.

{my graphics are free goodies for you}

My Aunt’s front yard had a tombstone in it. It sat not far from a white house almost one hundred years old, the kind with a broad porch and squeaky wood floors.

The tombstone appeared during a childhood visit to see my grandparents, aunt and uncle, the cousins. My family had driven ten hours back to my Dad’s hometown in a big Ford van, my little brother and I playing “I Spy” as the landscape whizzed by, devouring burgers and onion rings that tasted like salt and adventure.

When we finally made it to my Aunt’s street I popped up from the couch-turned-bed in the back to take a look and my eyes bulged. The new tombstone cast its shadow across the grass like a ghost. I squinted to read the words of the unfortunate soul who would now forever rest where my cousins and I had once jumped into piles of autumn leaves. It said simply and with finality, “Lordy, Lordy, look who’s forty.” My brother and I laughed like a pair of hyenas.

Back then forty seemed a million miles away. I’ve watched it slowly come toward me and wondered what it would look like when it finally arrived. Would it be carrying a fake tombstone? Proclaiming I’m “Over the Hill”? Now it’s finally here, right in front of me, where I can look it in the eyes and reach out to place my hand on its shoulder. I’ll tell you this: Forty is far more beautiful and strong and wise and free than I imagined.

I recently sat on a beach watching the waves roll in like the years do. I thought and prayed a lot about this new decade. What would it be about? Who would I become in it? On that stretch of sand I heard a new word whispering within my heart: faithfulness. I would define that as taking care of what God has entrusted to you.

Faithfulness isn’t sexy. It’s not loud. It doesn’t get the headlines or wear the trendy jeans with rips in the backside. But it feels right in my bones. Faithfulness takes guts and trust and resilience. It’s the long obedience that leads to “Well done, good and faithful servant.” It’s gorgeous in the way older women are, with the kind of beauty that a sixteen-year-old cannot possess because it is never bestowed—it must be lived into until it shows itself in the corners of your eyes and the backs of your hands.

Yes, forty is standing on the threshold of my door and offering an invitation from the One who has brought me this far.

Blessed are those whose strength is in You,
    whose hearts are set on pilgrimage….
They go from strength to strength,
    till each appears before God in Zion.
Psalm 84:5-7

I especially love that line about how we “go from strength to strength, till each appears before God.” This sounds like faithfulness to me. I think it’s also another way of saying that with God there is no “Over the Hill.” After all, what’s half a lifetime when we have all of eternity? It’s barely a beginning.


P.S. For those of you who have already turned forty, what can you share with me on this day? And for those of you who haven’t celebrated this milestone yet, what have you learned from the women in your life who have?

P.P.S. You’ve probably heard me say this over the past few weeks, but it’s the truth: the birthday gift I want most is for forty little girls in poverty to grow up to be fiercehearted women. Thank you to each one of you who have shared about this on social media or sponsored through the Fiercehearted link! If you’re still considering it, it’s certainly not too late! I invite you to learn more through this link and if you choose to sponsor a child {through that link} you’ll receive a FREE copy of my new book, Fiercehearted! {The link may have trouble on mobile, but it opens easily when using a desktop!}


Right now, we’re doing a special link-up series to celebrate Fiercehearted: Live Fully, Love Bravely. You’re a fiercehearted woman so I’m asking you to pour out a little love and courage with your words every Wednesday {the link-up goes live at 5:30am CST}. Simply write an encouraging blog post, especially if it’s about living fully and loving bravely, and then share it here. Don’t have a blog? You can still write an encouraging comment. If you’re reading this by email, go to holleygerth.com to see all the fun and join in too.

When you link up your post, take a moment to leave an encouraging comment on the one that’s linked up just before yours. Thanks, friends!

I’m having Coffee For Your Heart with my friend Holley Gerth!

{click to tweet that you’re joining me here today}

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About Holley

About Holley

Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author and Life Coach

I like humans, words, and good coffee. And I’d love to help you beat what’s holding you back, become all you’re created to be, and kick butt for the greater good.

Cheering you on,


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