Dear 24 year old me,
I have some crazy news for you. I know I know, you’re busy right now mapping out your next international trip and hoping to snag a seat on a plane next to a late twenties hottie with a humanitarian heart and a millionaire’s wallet… but I have news for you… your life, well it’s not going to end up like you expected. At all.
Now before you freak out, I need you to know that it’s going to be awesome in the hardest and best of ways.
You see, I know you’re terrified of actually committing to any relationship. I know that you believe, deep down in your soul that you weren’t made for marriage or motherhood. But I have to tell you, motherhood (even those additional pounds and stretch marks it brought), motherhood suits you well. And you’d be delighted to know that when life put you in a corner, and the world told you to run, you stayed put. You held your ground. Commitment might not have come easy, but God has sustained you, your marriage, and your faith.
This world will try to sell you lies along the way. It will try to tell you that your faith is silly and hope is found in doing more good, being better, trying harder. But those things, although good, will never be good enough. There will always be more for you to do until you find rest in the One who has done enough for us all. This isn’t a lesson you will ever master, but instead it’s one you’ll have to keep coming back to. Place reminders all around you now, so when you find yourself down a precarious road wondering if He really is still with you in the dark, you’ll be able to look back and REMEMBER truth.
This world will tell you that the little things don’t really matter; it’s the highlight reel that matters most (I’m looking at you social media). But the daily disciplines you choose, the things done in the unseen, these are what make you who you are. So when motherhood comes and the exciting trips and goals are put on hold, remember, YOU are not lost. Your identity hasn’t been hijacked. When you sacrifice personal dreams for your family, the loss will sting a little, but you will find great joy in knowing that your dreams aren’t dying, they’re simply growing and changing and shifting. And all of it, the whole messy process was ordained by a good God who is writing your story, for His glory. This life you’re living isn’t about you. And the story you’re living isn’t about you either. So whatever chapter you’re currently in in, remember that there is work to be done wherever you are.
When the world starts complaining about the church, and everyone around you tells you to abandon ship! Hold on tight. Don’t stick your head in the sand and ignore the flaws that much of the world is right about, but instead dig deep. Be the change you wish to see in the church. Show up to those boring meetings. Go ahead and join the women’s ministry, even if it isn’t your cup of tea. Read your Bible more and ask for help when you get stuck. Sure, there is a shortage of women discipling women in the church right now. So much “discipleship” is done from the stage, but YOU start the movement wherever you are. Ask if you can start meeting with that older lady you see serving on the reg. Have that younger girl over for coffee. Start opening up your home to outsiders. Don’t wait for a mentorship program to be developed, just start being mentored and as a result start mentoring others.
You are a wild mess of a million different characteristics that the Lord has given you. Use those gifts, use them for His glory; don't let them go to waste. Use them in the small and unseen, consistently show up for members of our body, and keep your eyes peeled for the outsider to welcome them in. But whatever you do, don’t fall trap to comparing yourself to others. Don’t think of yourself too much and what you’re getting out of this deal. Give it all away. And in every season, every joy, every trial look to Christ. Look to Jesus. He will never lead you astray.
Who you are isn’t a list of accomplishments or mission trips or promotions or degrees or shames or failures. Who you are isn’t in whether you have 100 instagram followers or 100,000. Who you are isn’t how together or broken your life is. Who you are was defined before the beginning of time and is simply this, a beloved child of the King. In every season, in every chapter, every change… your identity rests in the one who never changes. And as sure as the setting sun, His love for you is unfailing.
If I could sit my 24 year old self down and give her advice, THIS would be it. But I can’t do that… so I’m hoping it will be a blessing to some of you out there today! Much love to you and yours! And happy Friday!