Who am I? Well, at the base level, I’m Aimee Fortney. I’m also a Child of God, wife to Andy, mother to Grace & Emma, staffer at CedarCreek Church, etc. I’m also a woman in my 30’s. Okay, let’s be honest – my LATE 30’s, but whatever. Never has a decade of my life been characterized by so much personal growth than my 30’s. Over the last five years, I’ve had the profound experience of growing into myself more than I ever have and I wouldn’t say that happened entirely accidentally.
Upon turning 30, I didn’t set out to know myself better.Frankly, I had a 1-year old baby and I was just trying to sleep through the night and take a shower every day. The path I was on at that time was one of not measuring up. I felt like I was always falling short. Parenting blogs and Facebook posts reminded me that I wasn’t being quite the parent I could be. Magazines I subscribed to and the advent of Pinterest showed me that my perpetually-cluttered dining room table was shameful. Add in a second baby a few years later, who was not an entirely typical child, and I felt like my brain was always whirring in a blender.
So then in 2010, after more than a few late night conversations in the church parking lot, a wonderfully kind, wise, and savvy woman mercifully asked me if I’d like to meet with her and two other gals for a no frills Bible study at Starbucks. This woman saw that I was struggling to keep it all together and make sense of my place in the world. She began mentoring us and met us where we were at, all the while encouraging us with Scripture and real life wisdom on how we weren’t blowing it! Flash forward to a year later, that woman, Barb Roose, my mentor, pioneered the first ever CedarCreek Church Fabulous Conference in 2011.
That first year, I saw Diana Patton strut out onto the stage with a treasure chest strapped onto her behind. She talked about we all have “Junk in the Trunk,” or the not so cool things about ourselves we try to hide. She also talked about how as women we regularly “fake it till we make it”. That felt uncomfortably true. She shared Jesus’ words from John 10:10 (NIV), “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” She reminded me that Jesus wants to give me a FULL life, not a life stolen by prideful worry that I am not enough.
Flash forward again a few more years to Fabulous 2014 where I was honored to share the stage with a group of fantastic ladies and share pieces of my story. I talked about my journey of letting go of the myth of perfectionism and embracing a ‘just whatever, man’ kind of lifestyle, or letting people see some of the junk in my trunk. I told the world I wasn’t cool all of the time and proved it by spilling water on my shirt just moments before walking out on stage.
Newsflash: everyone already knew I wasn’t super cool. It was really an admission to myself and permission to drop the charade. So now in my day to day life here’s a few ways how that looks: I’m okay buying birthday cupcakes from Kroger to send in with my kids to school. I’ve given up on insisting on my kids wearing matching socks. Seriously, that was hard. My dining room table is still kind of a mess, but just whatever, man. See what I did there?
And how am I embracing the full life that Jesus meant for me? I am staying firmly grounded in Scripture and take part in an online group with girlfriends to discuss what we’ve just read. I’m working to be the best wife and mom I can be, knowing that it might look like a Pinterest fail sometimes. I’m saying yes to things that are important to me and my family and no to all most of the rest. And while I feel more ME than I ever have, I’m still on this journey.
I’m not THERE yet, wherever that may be. I surely don’t have even 25% percent of it all figured out. I’m sure I’ll have several more reinventions over the next few decades. But on this journey of living the full life Jesus intended for me, who I’m BECOMING is someone I am pretty okay with. And that feels FABULOUS.
Early bird rate has been extended until March 31!!!