by - March 10, 2016

This is my I’m-turning-forty blog. I’m turning 40. Forty-year-old Haley Scully. Did you turn 40 one time? Are you going to turn 40 one day?

I mean 40. How did this happen? I’ve been watching my friends turn 40 over these past several months, so it’s not like I’ve had no warning. But, I can’t even believe they are 40. I would swear we were just 17. But, I checked my calendar again and it’s coming in like 6 days. Forty. 40. For-T. How old are you, Haley? 40. Ok.

It’s different than turning 10, 20 or 30. Not just in the number of years, but also in self-perception and social connotation. At 10, I was all about finally being double digits, Smurfs, rainbows, unicorns. At twenty I was coming out of some really hurtful times, I hardened my resolve and thought “I’m an adult now, and need to act like one.” At thirty, I realized “I’m really an adult now, and it’s time to get a handle on some things.” And now at 40, I no longer have a plan on how to act. Finally. I know what I know, and I have some ideas about what I don’t know. I don’t have everything figured out, but there is a Light to my path and I am committed to it. It has inexplicably guided me. I believe. No longer one foot on, one foot off. Not just a habit or what I grew up believing. My faith is mine because I sought the Lord. I am not looking for a path, person, place or thing to accommodate who I think I should be. I trust the Maker of the path is creating me as I take the steps He shows me … I’m a pilgrim in progress if you will, but not the bonnet wearing kind of pilgrim.  After 3 years of first beginning to read John Bunyan’s version of the progress of a pilgrim, I’m just now to the part where the Keeper of the Gate let Christiana and Mercy in. It’s a book worth the attention I’m finally giving it. It’s amazing how spot on it relates to today though written in 1678. “There is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9

However, when one turns the big 4-0, there are some questions that come up whether you are searching or not. Questions concerning reflection and vision like: Where have I been? Where am I going? Am I doing this right? Forty doesn’t feel like I thought it would. It doesn’t look like I thought it would, and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t mean what I once was afraid it meant.

It’s easy to look at the tangibles, the demographics, the statuses in our lives to try and justify, validate or prove we are doing life right. We can blame others for what we find, and we give others the glory. We can maybe take a peak around to do a little comparison… “I’m better off than them” or “I’m worse off than them.” We can look at lists we once created to see if we’ve checked things off. Have we achieved what is appropriate? I'm forty! Does my life matter? Have we made the decisions we needed to make? Have we become everything we wanted to be? Turns out you can’t be anything you dream of being even if you put your mind to it. I’m not Princess Leia. No one has asked me to sing the National Anthem at the Superbowl. I’m not a congresswoman for the great state of Oklahoma (yet). (but, maybe I haven't really put my mind to those things) My oldest is not graduating from high school this year. There is no wedding anniversary to celebrate. But on the flipside, listing all the things I am, have done, or am doing is as fruitless as listing those things I’m not when considering if I am doing this right …if I’m doing life right at this checkpoint.  I’ve been accepted as many times as rejected, although I tend to focus on one over the other. I’m sure there are more of both to come. I’ve had successes and failures. But, snapshots and spot checks on birthdays don’t define a life. Maybe you can relate to some of these questions or thoughts?

Everything I have could be gone tomorrow, or everything I want could show up. Maybe you’ve lost everything, or maybe you have everything you could ever want. We can compare and compete all day long, but when we finally confess we are not in control and only by God’s grace do we live and breathe and move, do we come to a place of rest; or should I say do I come to a place of rest as I turn 40 or any other age. So if comparison or competitions aren’t my markers for if I’m ok sliding into the big 4-tee, four-ty, forty … what then? “Vanity, vanity…”?

In the last few years, I’ve had to fight hard and dig deep through trials in my life and in my family, and as God has given me the opportunity to talk the talk in places I never imagined going. With trials and opportunity comes refinement. So, to refine and conform me to His image, as He carries me through trials or guides me through opportunities …He keeps leading me to cliffs to trust fall. He keeps lifting me off to new places.  He keeps exposing my weaknesses, to make me stronger. He keeps making me do, not just be. He keeps increasing my joy. He keeps setting me free. He keeps reminding me of His love right when I need it. Sometimes I limp down the path He leads me on. Sometimes He carries me. But, sometimes I fly.

What I do not have, or what I do have ...

Where I have not been, or where I have been ...

These things don’t define me or validate my life at 40. Don’t let them define you. That’s harder to do when you have everything you want, it’s somehow easier to do when you’ve been left wanting. Both come with perks and disadvantages; that we may or may not be aware of.

My life is defined by Jesus Christ. Whoever I am with, wherever I may go, I am His disciple. In plenty or in want; in a crowd or alone. My life is built on Him. That is what we are made for. I took some time getting here, but it doesn’t matter. My rebellion could never overcome His love and faithfulness.

I am also a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend. I could be better at all of those, but I find the better I get at being defined by Christ, by His life, by His guidance, the better I get at those other roles. As I turn 40 I want to be more like Him. I don’t want to act like an adult, I want to live like a Believer. I have said to friends, so I’ll type it in my blog, my 20’s were filled with trying really-really hard to be who I thought I should be.  My 30’s were filled with gracious tearing down and rebuilding to be who I was made to be.  And, my 40’s…well, I’m about to find out. I am looking forward to this next decade with a faithful and grateful heart.

On my actual birthday, if all goes as planned, I’ll wake up in New York City with my two favorite friends who have shared paths with me for almost my whole life. With each step, we have talked out, cried over, prayed through and laughed about where we have landed. They are my safe place. I’m so glad they turned 40 way-way before me, but that we get to celebrate our birthdays from the last few months together next week. I am also faithful and grateful to them.

Whatever birthday you are coming up on, I pray you would consider what it is you have let define you. In plenty or in want, don’t look to the right or to the left. Look up.

In Psalm 138 David writes the words in my heart.

I will give You thanks with all my heart;
I will sing praises to You before the gods.
I will bow down toward Your holy temple
And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name.
On the day I called, You answered me;
You made me bold with strength in my soul.

All the kings of the earth will give thanks to You, O Lord,
When they have heard the words of Your mouth.
And they will sing of the ways of the Lord,
For great is the glory of the Lord.
For though the Lord is exalted,
Yet He regards the lowly,
But the haughty He knows from afar.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;
You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.
The Lord will accomplish what concerns me;
Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

P.S. All went as planned...

You May Also Like


  1. In a few days you will officially be my favorite 40-year-old. I love you Hay. I'm so glad to know that you been there all 33 years of my journey. Even the years where curling irons may or may not have gotten stuck in my hair. Happy birthday. I'm hoping that your forties are the most fabulous decade for you!

  2. Keep enjoying ever day and many happy returns of your birth day.