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  • Writer's pictureSarah Dohman

39 & Feeling Fine

Updated: Jan 10

39 & Feeling Fine


Catchy? Isn’t it? I could totally bust out in a song, and perhaps a little dance, with that phrase.


But am I really fine? It’s complex. Nuanced. Layered.


How do I actually feel about entering into my very last year of my 30s?


Eternally grateful. 


This past year has been riddled with joyful delights, straight from Jesus. It’s also been a year of grief and trauma for myself, mingled and enmeshed together, much like fascia tissue connecting together organs, blood vessels, bones, nerve fibers, and muscles. Perhaps someday I’ll tell those stories in their truest versions to me, but today I want to focus on my lessons learned in the past almost decade of my life.


For the sake of time, because Lord knows all of us do not have the same attention spans we once did, I’ll share my top 3. (I’m a list gal, I cannot help myself.)


  • Singleness is truly a gift. 


All my single friends are groaning right now, but hear me out. I never thought in a million years that I’d still be single at 39, but here I am. I think the Lord has shown me in this last decade of wrestling with Him re: this topic, that I can trust Him. Implicitly and explicitly. I have spent this last decade learning (if you know me well, you know I’m always learning) about who the Lord says He is, who He says I am and who He’s created me to be, and how to trust Him in the “even ifs”. I’ve written about this journey through previous blog entries, so please, go back and read. He speaks life over me every time I look back at old reflections and I realize how much I’ve grown into the person He’s created me specifically to be in this world. Joyful. Creative. An active learner. A gal who values deep connection. A helper. A healer. An encourager. For these reasons alone, my time in singleness throughout my 30s has been the purest and sweetest gift from the Lord.


  • Grieving unfulfilled hopes and dreams with Jesus is necessary.


As I’ve previously mentioned, I honestly never thought I’d reach 39 and not be married with a family. I was thoroughly convinced that when I finally stepped in obedience and started online dating in my mid-30s that I’d find my Jesus-loving, plaid-wearing mountain man.


But it hasn’t happened. I spent this last summer offering up the last couple dreams and hopes to the Lord on many Sunday Sabbath walks. Sometimes this looked like crying salty tears listening to worship music. Sometimes this looked like me literally yelling at God that He’s let me down.


Yes, I actually yelled at the Lord this summer at the top of my lungs.


He was asking me to let go of my dreams of being a biological mother, and holding so tightly to my dream of meeting and marrying a man that lives in Oregon, and also He asked me to let go of being rooted here in Salem, OR. For a gal who has spent the past almost 40 years (minus 1 year) living in her beloved PNW, this has been terrifying. I wept. I got super angry. I spilled my guts out to God, and I had to ask Jesus to come sit in my myriad of emotions over and over. I envisioned Him looking me in the eyes, seeing deep within my heart and mind, and saying, “I’m here. You can trust Him in this too.” I still don’t know what this means for me. And honestly, I’m not supposed to. I just keep taking one step in front of the next, allowing Jesus to lead the way. My unfulfilled hopes and dreams are submitted to Him, and I’m asking Him to give me a new vision for my life. 


  • Community matters.


One of the best gifts of my 30s: community group. Much of my discipleship has happened within the context of bi-weekly, or weekly gatherings. It is in the life-on-life, consistent showing up with a variety of friends, that I have met with Jesus over and over again.


I’ve healed in community (Oh the words that have been spoken over my life! The prayers prayed on my behalf. The edification and gentle rebuke.).


I fell in total love with community groups in my 30s, and I even had the opportunity to lead one for 1 year. I never thought I’d be asked to lead one as a single woman in my church, but my dear friend, and executive pastor, encouraged me to step into obedience and “facilitate discussion”. Pretty sure that was all the prompting I needed, as I do love to ask questions and encourage.


It was eye-opening.


I’ve lead Bible studies before in my teens and 20s, but in my 30s, eek. Adults ask hard questions. They are deeply reflective humans. They can articulate how they are feeling and what they need and I felt vastly underequipped.


The best part about it though? I kept showing up and so did they.


They encouraged me through my dating victories and woes, listened to my struggles, and we broke bread together. It was beautiful. The Holy Spirit moved each and every gathering.


In year 38, my community group and I joined a year-long intensive class at my church called Equip. I learned about devotion, doctrine, and discipleship. We read a ton of books. We joked about life, saw each other through life-changing moments, and we came out the other side of things, more deeply connected with Jesus and each other. Community is the heartbeat of God. I implore you to join a local body of believers and live life together, preferably gathered around a table. 


Year 38 was also a surprising year for me as I became more active in an online body of believers (a non-denominational group of singles ages 30+). I never really thought that I’d actually start to make in-person connections with people from around the U.S. and other parts of the world, but here I am, in December, sharing that I’ve now met a good handful of them.


The craziest part about people in their 30s that are single (and not just single-looking-to-date either)? If you ask them to show up, they do! It blows my mind every time.


This online community feels like a giant youth group for single adults that local church bodies are sorely lacking. I have acquired a vast amount of knowledge from them; I’m super fond of this group too. Fierce protectors, seekers of Jesus, wildly witty and will make you chuckle, talented and intelligent, honest & raw. The Lord knew I needed travel buddies and more friends.


Be bold. Join an online community. You never know what might happen, but I think Scripture says it best that when 2 or more are gathered in His name, He’ll be there with us. And He is. He’s moving amongst the adult singles in this world, and we are a mighty force for Him. 


To recap: singleness is truly a gift, grieving unfulfilled hopes and dreams with Jesus is necessary, and community matters. 


Here’s to 39, my last year of my 30s! Where I’m being called to have courage (my word of 2024), which begins with me sharing what I’ve been up to in the last few years since I stopped writing. I don’t know about you, but 39 is actually looking like it’s going to be just fineeeee wink wink


Love you friends (and family)!

-Sare


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2 Comments


aimeesicora
Dec 26, 2023

So good Sarah ❤️. Weird isn’t it, how hard we fight against our own circumstances !? As if we can change them 😂. I too, have been learning that painful lesson the last few years. Let go and let God, keep telling myself that over and over again. love that you’re writing again! Xo

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Sarah Dohman
Sarah Dohman
Dec 26, 2023
Replying to

Thank you friend! Yes, it is so hard when our expectations are set a certain way, and yet, He wants us to be open handed with Him. ❤️

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