Tuesday, February 11, 2014

From Me. Forty Year From Now. (For anyone who wishes they were already mature.)

Oh Rebekah….

It seems like yesterday that I was where you are, at 29. About chin deep in an ocean of lessons from the Lord, climbing a steep grade of a learning curve in nearly every area of your life, and wanting so badly to close your eyes, snap your fingers, and be mature.

It's been 40 years, but I remember it well.

Might I speak into your heart, Rebekah?

On this end of things, with a quadrillion more lessons, mistakes, and triumphs under my belt, I can tell you that you have much to learn.  You have barely scraped the surface of who God has you to be, you have much to learn about what He desires from you.

And that's ok.  You've got some time.

I want you remember that the God that was faithful to you as a strong-willed/rebellious carrot-top-child, will still be faithful at 69.  The God that was faithful to you as a tired young mom and wife, will be just as faithful forty years later.  Everything else will change---kids, houses, friends, jobs, and bodies---but not Him, Rebekah.  His promises will continue to be your lifeline.

Furthermore, I know you think you love Matt now, but girl, your love will grow!  The two of us are just starting to learn what it means to love each other selflessly, to breathe grace into each other!  You will have many struggles in the next 4 decades. And Rebekah, you will get through them all. The valleys you walk through will strengthen your commitment and your understanding of a grace-based marriage.  You have much to learn about how to inspire him, how to encourage this man of God.  So lean in, Rebekah, you have much to learn.

I know you have had a wonderful first few years in ministry, Rebekah, but I want to let you know that you have quite the race ahead of you.  You have peaks and valleys ahead. You will have some favor, you will have some enemies.  But, young one, looking back now I can tell you that God will not waste a single experience, if you are willing to learn from them. Be hungry for righteousness, thirst for purity, not favor or success. Rebekah, please don't build your own kingdom, it won't last, nor will it satisfy. You two are in it for the long haul, so fix your eyes on Jesus now, that you might master the art of perseverance.

I know in your youth you had years where all you could think about what changing your world for Jesus.  That's fine and all, but you will learn, with time, that it really is a lot more about being changed yourself.  Being changed into the image of your Creator. Because there will be seasons when the wind kinda gets knocked out of you, or you are just tired, and proclaiming God's promises from a stage will not be possible.  But even then, I urge you to offer the sacrifices God desires--the offerings of a broken spirit and a contrite heart. You will learn that a runny-nose, runny-mascara prayer in the closet can bring as much glory to God as a prayer on a stage into a microphone.

Please hear my words and find within them some perspective.  Just remember that our God can see such a bigger picture than us.  The situations you are facing in your 20s, they will not entirely define you.  Their purpose is to shape you, and mature you, but they will pass.  I encourage you to submit every corner of your heart unto God, and surrender the next 40 years to Him.  Please feel comfort from this perspective, Rebekah.

Because after all--after all the losses and surprises and victories and pains--after all, God will remain faithful to you.  He will be near through it all!  You are going to have seasons where you don't think you could feel weaker.  I promise you that the strength you desire will be just around the corner, if you continue to walk in brokenness before God. He will never forsake you.

What a joy it is to reflect back and see God's handiwork! At this end of things, I can see God's fingerprints over every year of your life. I see the adventure ahead of you, the mountains that will be moved,  I see the lessons yet to be learned, I see the mistakes yet to be made.  And you know what Re?  God's grace covers ALL of them.

But you can't just snap your fingers and be mature, Rebekah.  I'm here, eating my daily Krispy Kremes with Matt, (like we always promised we would do when we were old!) and I'm still not mature.  I still fall to pride, I still love myself more than I love others.  I still kick Matt for snoring and parent him when he bites his nails. I still withhold grace from my loved ones, I still doubt God's power and presence at times.  Sanctification is a process.

But one thing I have learned.  I was not made for this world.  In the near 70 years on this earth, it has only felt less like home each year.  I was made for another world, my appetite for my true home only grows.  My desire for earthly crowns and riches have diminished.

I am now closer to my reward than ever.  That is my motivation to keep submitting and surrendering.  This is my motivation to continue learning from every joy, every pain.  To seek out what is obedience, to discover what my Rock of Ages asking of me today.

So, be encouraged Rebekah, God has always been faithful, and He will be again. Don't fret about what is to come, hear me say that God will not abandon the work of His hands.  There is a race ahead of you, and God's grace will have a way of leveling your path.

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