So, if I could go back here are some of the most important things I would like to tell my younger self:
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As I am now over half a century old, I wanted to share some of the thoughts that go through my mind as I look back over the years of my marriage and raising our family. There are so many good memories and things I wouldn't change, but there are many things I wish I would have grasped at a younger age.As I am now over half a century old, I wanted to share some of the thoughts that go through my mind as I look back over the years of my marriage and raising our family.
My husband and I didn't come to faith in Christ until later in life (read my testimony here or listen to it here). So many times, I can bog myself down with regrets, but I am quick to be brought back to the truth that we serve a God who is in control of all things and sovereign over everything. God is always faithful even when we have not been faithful.
I still have so much to learn, and the items in the letter are not in any order of importance but just flowed as I pondered over the past years.
To My Younger Self,
As I think back to over thirty years ago, I couldn't have imagined being where I am today. It is all by God's grace and His goodness in saving me as His child. Beautiful grown children, cherished grandchildren, and being married to a man that I grow more in love with every day. Life has gone by so fast, and I praise the Lord for the gift of another day to cherish all that He has blessed me with.
As I'm looking back with much joy and sometimes with much regret, I want to share with you some of the things I wished someone would have told me or even more so that I might have listened when they did tell me.
It is interesting how the majority of these words of wisdom are based on the truths of God's Word – they are timeless and perfect.
How I wish this one would have been grasped early, and I am still learning daily to understand it. Don't compare yourself to others – ever – be content with who God created you to be. God created you with your likes, preferences, and quirks that no one else has. Remember to live your life pleasing the Lord and not man. When we fear man, we give others the power over us to tell us how to think, live, and what to do. God and His ways are better – always. Don't change to please others. Spend more time studying God's Word, so you are better equipped to live a life that honors and glorifies Him. Time in His Word is one area that you can never get enough time with. (Proverbs 29:25)
Learn to give thanks in and through all circumstances. Even the difficult trials, these are areas of huge growth and are blessings from the Lord to continue to form you more into His image. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Deal with issues and difficulties immediately. Don't let baggage linger. Talk with people and resolve any problems or disagreements to the best of your ability. (Romans 12:18)
People will let you down and fail you. Everyone has issues – you have issues, and you will let people down. There is only One who can meet all your needs. Seek Him first in all things. (Matthew 6:33, Romans 3:23)
Forgive much; if you are in Christ, you have been forgiven much. (Luke 7:47)
Offer much grace to others as you have been given much grace. Remember you have only walked in your shoes and not someone else's. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Listen more and talk less. Too many times, all we hear is our voice, and we don't even realize others around us have good things to share with us. Your opinion is not the only right opinion. God's Word is the only standard of truth – not your personal preferences or choices. (James 1:19)
Continue to ask the Lord to humble you. Pride is ugly and damaging to relationships. Pray for a broken heart and contrite spirit before the Lord. (Psalm 51:17 – meditate on all of Psalm 51).
Remember that you can't change anyone's heart – only God can. (Ezekiel 36:26)
Kindness overrules being right. There was a saying I have remembered, “If you're right, but you're rude, then you're wrong.” Sin needs to be addressed in our homes and relationships, but there is a biblical way to go about it. (Romans 2:4, Matthew 18:15)
Continually pray to be dependent on the Lord and His ways. Pray against being self-sufficient and thinking you can do it all on your own. All things are from Him and through Him. (Romans 11:33-36)
Create a home where others know they are loved unconditionally, and there is nothing that can't be shared. Always let your children know they can tell you anything. Give your children the quantity of time and the quality of time will follow. They need your time and undivided attention. Don't waste time preoccupied with lesser things instead of focusing on the things that matter. That time lost cannot be gained back but continue to learn and train yourself to give the gift of your time and undivided attention to others. (2 Corinthians 4:18)
Some final thoughts as I close are to cherish every moment you have. Those babies grow up faster than you can imagine and next thing you know you're walking them down the aisle. We are not promised tomorrow so hold your husband's hand, smile at him more, kiss him a lot, truly cherish that man you have been given as a gift from the Lord. Pray more and talk less. Smile, laugh A LOT, have fun, and remember that a cheerful heart is good medicine (Proverbs 17:22).
Every day is a gift.
God's mercies are new every morning.
Focus on the eternal and not on the temporal.
Point others to the Lord. Tell others about the greatest gift they will ever know about –
The reminder I love to tell myself frequently:
Preach the Gospel to yourself daily. The apostle Paul was writing to the believers in Rome in Romans 1:15, where he tells them, “So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.” Why would he have to preach the gospel to those who were already believers?
The Gospel is the good news of salvation, but the gospel is also a truth that I need to be reminded of daily, and it helps me to not fall into a performance relationship with God. A little, power-packed book that has not only given me a better and clearer understanding of the gospel but how it applies to all of life for me as a believer is The Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent. I want to share a quick couple of quotes with you from it:
“God did not give us His gospel just so we could embrace it and be converted. Actually, He offers it to us every day as a gift that keeps on giving to us everything we need for life and godliness. The wise believer learns this truth early and becomes proficient in extracting available benefits from the gospel each day. We extract these benefits by being absorbed in the gospel, speaking it to ourselves when necessary, and by daring to reckon it true in all we do.”
“Over the course of time, preaching the gospel to myself every day has made more of a difference in my life than any other discipline I have ever practiced. I find myself sinning less, but just as importantly, I find myself recovering my footing more quickly after sinning, due to the immediate comfort found in the gospel. I have also found that when I am absorbed in the gospel, everything else I am supposed to be toward God and others seems to flow out of me more naturally and passionately. Doing right is not always easy, but it is never more easy than when one is breathing deeply the atmosphere of the gospel.”
The last reminder to my younger self would be to Put on Love:
12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.~ Colossians 3:12-17
Proud People vs. Broken People – Please print this out and keep in your Bible