To my dear self at twenty-three, from an older you,
This is what you asked for.
All your life you have wanted to know your purpose. You desired the freedom that comes from living simply and trusting God. You prayed to become a wife and a mother. Now live it.
He added a husband to your life, and children. No one has ever been the wife and mother that you are to these people. Your family is unique. No one else is you.
No one will do it like you. God made and equipped you to be you.
Yes, your rebellious heart did damage to his creation, but in Jesus you are completely forgiven, thoroughly redeemed. He has given you a new heart. Your job now is to follow Jesus and “he will make you . . .” Trust him, learn from him, seek him, cling to him.
Just like God designed your body with a place for a child to grow and a way to provide a newborn’s first food, he will continue to equip you to tend, teach and train until your job is through. He does nothing for the purpose of frustrating you. With him, you can do what he gives you to do.
He is with you always, and following after him, you will arrive at the destination he has planned for you.
While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
Trusting doesn’t mean you do nothing. Following is a relationship. Trusting and obeying him is your contribution to the relationship, and your desire to be close to him, and your reliance on him, pleases his heart.
Just follow him. He has made and equipped you, and he will continue to.
And to my older future self, all of the above still applies.
Yes, the podcast is live! Listen to my life story as told in my unpublished book, Memoir of a Living Doll, for which I placed as a finalist for the Oregon Christian Writers Cascade award.
I want to encourage you to take the next step in opening up your life of faith, like I did.
Start sharing the things you’ve been through and what you learned along the way, and you’ll open up new ideas, generate a clearer perspective, and even prompt a course change in you – or in someone else.
That’s why I shared part of my story in this interview.
“Kathy, a guest author at CalvaryMac’s Christian Writing Group, shares her story in a unique way . . . by describing the dolls she owned throughout her life and what God taught her in each season.
“The lessons prepared her for everything from a trip to India to a calling to foster care.” – Jessica Campbell, Women’s Ministry Director at CalvaryMac Church
I can handle it. I’m going to check my feed for five minutes because I need a break and I want to catch up on the news. And maybe see what’s going on with my friends . . .
Yeah, you guessed it. I was still scrolling through photos and stories two hours later, proving I’m not in control as much as I thought.
My story isn’t new and neither are the excuses. You don’t need to hear all the details about my painful joints and the amount of time I spend lying down. I’ve learned to be productive, managing my daily tasks as I rest, and I’m delighted I can get so much done. But after work I check my feeds on Facebook and Twitter and too often there I go again, sliding into the void . . .
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
There are so many opinions on the dangers of social media, my little brain can’t process it all. What concerns me, though, is how easily I’m drawn in – and kept there – by the distractions. Dare I use a stronger word and say seductions?
A few days ago my husband and I watched interviews of former executives and designers of the most popular social media platforms. It was alarming. At the end we asked ourselves what they were going to do to fix the problems they helped create.
But what they do is not my business. Instead, I should be concerned about how I’m managing me.
Where to start? I acknowledge that I’m a sheep. I follow other sheep because that’s what sheep do. No matter how convinced I am that I’m choosing my own path, I have to admit that my default is to take the easiest way without thinking things through or asking God for guidance.
Sheep can be startled by a loud noise and take off running away from safety instead of towards it, all because it seems like a smart move at the time. Yup, that’s me.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Here’s what Jesus, who calls himself the good shepherd, said:
“. . . The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
How can I be sure it’s his voice I’m hearing in my head? For me, the answer lies in practicing. I start by asking for his help. I read the Bible to see how people in the past communicated with God and I talk to him like they did.
Immersing my mind in his words helps me detect faulty thinking that may crop up. I love those times when I recognize something seems off and I can say wait, that’s not right. God doesn’t talk like that.
Of course I make mistakes, that’s okay. He’s patient, and he knows I am a sheep. When I say or do something silly I shine my flashlight of faith on it and confess my error. And when I’m unsure of the direction I should take? That’s when I exercise my faith and say, “Correct me if I’m wrong, Lord. I really want to do your will.”
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
There’s a free 30-day Bible study course in progress now from Bible Gateway. It can help you get started on recognizing God’s voice. Though it started a couple weeks ago it’s not too late to join – I did and quickly caught up. I enjoyed the overview of the Bible its given me so far, and it covers a lot of ground in a short time.
After shopping around the internet for a photo to go along with this post, I darkened the screen, set my phone down, and pushed it out of my reach. I looked up and asked God how did I do? This time I was able to resist giving social media two hours of my attention. Instead I redirected my thoughts to the One I love most, and I trust that with practice I’ll do even better.