Do you ever wish you could go back and give the younger you advice? I would love to tell the teen/college-age me to make a decision before you’re put in the situation, and stick to it! And if you’re tempted to do the opposite, there’s always a way out. But since I didn’t, I’m trying to learn from my mistakes and pass that advice on to my kids.
I first heard this golden nugget at a Hearts at Home Conference years ago. I don’t even remember who said it, but it stood out as so wise because it’s quite the opposite of how I acted in my younger years.
I was not very focused. I didn’t really have a plan for what I wanted to do with my life, let alone how I wanted to live it. Even though I was a Christian, I wasn’t following hard after God. Being a Christian was more about ritual than relationship at that point in my life. I made rash decisions and bad choices, but I was in church every Sunday! I was there, but I wasn’t really listening. I came to a point where I was in a total pit. I couldn’t see a way out. Until I looked up and saw God. Then, I began to seek him. Truly seek him. And the more I did, the more I wanted to know him!
Now there are days I find myself standing at my kitchen sink, in my home, with my husband and children, thinking, “I don’t deserve this!” And I don’t. There is nothing any of us can do to earn God’s grace – He just freely gives it. And when I was in that pit, I finally got tired of trying to fill myself up with the stuff of life. I finally realized the only thing that could fill the empty I felt inside was a relationship with God.
That journey began over 20 years ago, and it’s been a windy road! There are many days when I have stinkin’ thinkin’ about my past, but it’s easier to move on now because I have a purpose! I want to live my life totally for God. I’m focused on not only living that out, but also making sure my children understand that from a young age.
I pray that my kids are bold and strong, especially now that they’re teenagers! Before they leave to go out with friends, I tell them to make a decision of how they will answer if they’re put in an uncomfortable situation, and goodness knows there are a many they could find themselves in! I also tell them that there’s always an out. They may have the best intentions, then all of a sudden find themselves tempted to divert from then plan. In that moment when they feel torn or tempted, they can pray for God to help them. The Bible says “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13. Notice it says “when” not “if” you are tempted? It’s gonna happen! But there’s always a way out.
Thank you Jesus that with you, there is always a way out! I’m so grateful that you’ve forgiven me of my past, and given me a purpose and a passion to live my life for you! I may not be a perfect mom, but I’m learning from my mistakes. I pray for my children to make good choices, ones that honor you. But when they are tempted, Jesus, please help them to cry out to you, and show them the way out.