Two weeks from today I will turn forty-two. My birthday always causes me to reflect on everything God has done in my life. I believe in celebrations. I’m really beginning to embrace the forties. I’ve come a long way, baby.
I’m growing older. The fine lines on my face tell the story of a million moments of joy. My heart beats to a different rhythm than it did twenty years ago. I’m no longer naive about what might come my way. And, somehow, it’s soothing. This understanding that God holds my every second. The knowing that He’s in control. This knowledge that begins with the heart because the head can’t comprehend it, it’s freeing.
I hear the pitter-patter of my children walking and know that each step tells the story of a girl who fought hard. She waged a war on her knees in prayer and He gave her victory. Infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth… they may have changed me, but they didn’t define me. Only Jesus defines me.
God is bigger and His mercy follows me.
If I could go back, sit down with that young blue-eyed girl, who everyone called Jenny, and talk to her. I mean really talk to her – to her heart and soul… I would say this…
Every tear that falls will hurt. I wish I could tell you different, but I can’t. And when you think you’re all cried out, think again. But, here’s the good news, those tears are filled with love. You cry because you want something crazy beautiful that will no doubt change your life. And those tears filled with love fall directly into the hands of love. He holds them. And His own tears intermix with yours until morning comes.
The aching, red knees you have from praying so hard. You don’t want them to heal. Yes, that’s what I said. Even when the darkness of today lifts, you want to stay down, humbly seeking even in the midst of the sunrise. When you’re not praying, praise. Never forget Who holds your tears, because the same One pours them back out in joy. He will saturate your soul.
The frustration you feel, it’s normal. Go ahead and wrestle with Him because He knows, and He understands. He can take it. It’s okay to ask why, as long as you still declare His glory. There is nothing wrong with asking the God of mystery to reveal Himself. It doesn’t mean He will, but He doesn’t mind you asking because it proves you are seeking. The more you seek Him, the more you find Him. You will learn that the childhood games of yesterday, like hide and seek, have served as practice to teach you to run hard after God. He’s always there, but sometimes your eyes will fail you… so never stop looking. He’s waiting.
Regardless of how hard life might seem today, keep on keeping on. You are loved. When you cry silently into your pillow at night, He’s listening. When you yell and scream and weep and mourn, He’s right there. He hasn’t forgotten. He’s waiting for the perfect time. He will reveal your path and there will be gifts of grace lighting the way. They might be much different from the gifts you requested, but they will be so very sweet.
You love Him, and because you love Him, He will use this for good. Your day is coming. Rejoice in hope.
Jennifer (the older, wiser you)
What would you tell yourself if you could go back and talk to a younger you?