Looking Back

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I’ve found myself reading one of my old journals lately.  It’s been interesting to say the least.  24-year-old Nicole was living at home, aching to get out on her own with plans to buy a condo somewhere near her job and 45 minutes away from her mom (mom it’s been great you supporting me after college and all but its time this chicken flew the coup!).  She found herself on the other side of many tests, trials and challenges and was feeling quite victorious.  Little did she know she was on the verge of receiving God’s reward for her faithfulness.  She was soaking in His goodness and hopeful for the future.  Her quiet time was pretty consistent (way more than it is now) and she was fully surrendered to Christ’s plan for her life.  She had no idea how different His plan was going to be…but she trusted the unknown.

While reading some of these entries I can’t help but beam at her and then while reading others I can’t help but cringe.  Her naivete and immaturity was just as easily rivaled by her faith and love for Jesus.  It’s so nice to see her pray for something or someone and see answered prayer come to pass within months, weeks or days of her initial prayer.  It’s so nice to also see her let go of that owning a condo thing and submit to living with roommates… a little closer to her mom than she had planned… simply because God asked her to.

The last 5 years have brought growth, character, and deeper intimacy with Christ.  Not because of anything I have done but because of His goodness.  When 24-year-old Nicole journaled “Lord I want to have endurance, the endurance You had on the cross”…My heart drops in my chest as I now realize He surely answered that prayer with the seemingly circuitous route I’ve found myself on.  If only I could tell her not to pray that prayer :-).  But that would just be my flesh.  In reality, if I could talk to 24-year-old Nicole, I would say the following:

1. Keep that faith.  The faith that sustained you when your whole world was turned upside down and then upside down again.

2. Learn that God will use time with you.  Don’t expect the “suddenlies” to appear, they’ll be nice when they do but time builds character and God wants to offset godly character with the great gifts He’s been using in you.

3. You really don’t know everything.  Spend time getting to know Him.  Don’t be presumptuous and make assumptions about His ways and His character.  Don’t be presumptuous about others.

4. There’s more to life than marriage and men (you don’t say!) 🙂  Your identity is rooted in Him, not them.  He is your strength where you are weak.

5. If you find yourself holding on too tightly to something, let it go.  It’s an idol.  And even if you’ve let it go before, let it go again.

6. Everything really does work out.  Don’t let anxiety and fear be your first reactions to challenges.  It will work out in the end.

7. God loves to give you the desires of your heart and sometimes He changes those desires to be more in line with His desires.  Either way, He loves to bless you.

Since I can’t go back, I’ll just have to apply this advice to my current life.  And maybe looking back 5 years from now, I’ll do more beaming than cringing…

Hebrews 10:7 

Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—
In the volume of the book it is written of Me—
To do Your will, O God.

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