Monday, February 6, 2017

What would I say to the 25-year-old me?

(This question was given me by our women's ministry discipleship co-leader.  The following is my response.)

First of all, let me acknowledge what you already know:  The Lord has blessed you exceedingly.  Growing up in a church-going home with parents who read Bible stories to you every night when you were a little girl and loved you dearly; given an able mind and parents who supported your education; being convicted of your sin and presented with the gospel of Jesus Christ at age 15 and coming to a saving faith in Him; receiving good instruction about praying for and marrying a Christian man (when you were 20 years old) who loves Jesus more than he loves you; and being invited by your pastor’s wife to a Bible study when you were a new college graduate that ignited your love for God’s Word… just listing such blessings causes the tears to well in my 62-year-old eyes with overwhelming gratitude.

If I could, I’d give you the ability to see into the future.  Then you’d know to stop running when your knees were screaming in pain (and you were destroying all the cartilage in them) and to take up some low-impact exercise.  You’d know that in a few more years you and Bill will learn that you’ll never be able to have children of your own and you wouldn’t need to put yourself through the grueling, dehumanizing process of infertility tests and procedures.  You’d know that even though your parents are telling you that they have prepared for their old age and they’ll “never be a burden on our children” (their words), even they cannot anticipate the way that they will age and you need to be ready for the day when you will need to care for them.  You’d know that even though it’s really hard to keep up with relationships when you move across the country—and you will continue to do so, a lot—you must make the extra effort to do it, because when you get older you’ll see that there’s really nothing more important. You already know how damaging the sun is, and you’ve stopped trying to get tan (good girl!), but you’d know when that “freckle” appears on your cheek to have it checked sooner so that the melanoma would not have gotten as large as it was when it had to be removed.

But, of course, you can’t see into the future and I can’t give you that ability.  But you don’t need it, because you know the One who not only knows the future but orchestrates it.  And, he has given you his Word and his divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3 NIV).  A verse that will soon capture your heart is Philippians 3:10:  “I want to know Christ-- yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (NIV).  This pursuit will guide your days for the rest of your life.  Knowing Christ will be your greatest delight and your firm foundation, and his church will be your family everywhere you live.  

As you pursue him to know and love him better, the path will not be smooth.  There will be heartaches and temptations and challenges that will shake you.  Some days will be dark.  But he will not let you go; “though [s]he may stumble, [s]he will not fall, for the LORD upholds [her] with his hand” (Psalm 37:24 NIV).  Informed by his Word and seeking him through prayer, you will do the best you can and trust God.  That’s all anyone can do.  But God says that even though our minds plan our way, he directs our steps (Proverbs 16:9). He can be trusted.  He is sovereign, yes, but also loving and good and faithful.  The trials in your life will prove this to you, over and over.  Do not fear them.  God will orchestrate them for your good and His glory.

And, by the way, that husband you married when you were 20?  He will prove to be the best man you will ever know, and your relationship with him the source of laughter and sweetness and inspiration for decades to come.  Cherish every day.  They fly by so fast!

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