“The days speed by and never come back again. June is upon us, and in a blink it will be July… and then the next month, and the next… finally October will arrive, and I will turn 20. Oh, how I wish that day would never come! ‘Twenty’ holds such an air of maturity and accomplishment, which I know hardly any of. ‘Twenty’ is an adult, and I am but child.”
About 6 months later…
“I woke up this morning and I was 20. Twenty years old. I could easily be depressed, easily see all the troubles and failures of the past year (and years). But God will not allow it this birthday – instead He calls me to celebrate in the victories He has wrought.”
The day arrived, but something had changed. God opened my eyes and heart to see the victory wrought from His hand in my life this past year, and I could not dread the going forward to the next! No, 19 wasn’t perfect, but it’s sorrows, it’s darkness, it’s selfishness, it’s emptiness, it’s rebellion… these were closely punctuated with times of refreshment and obedience. The Lord was so patient and firm with me and, praise Him, I can see the growth, the fruit. And gloriously, beautifully, I want more. Twenty, and twenty-one now hold so much promise!
This is a turning point, a course that has altered from my hitherto depressing introspections before my birthdays.
“Mommy started talking about me turning 16 soon, and I wanted to cry.”
“17! Oh, where have the years gone? What services have I done for my loving Father and King? … Thinking of the 17th year of my life makes my stomach pinch together and draws my face into a painful frown. I want to start over again! I want to make my time count toward something eternally important and leave behind my mistakes. … I have lived 16 barren years, but the Lord can make the 17th to prosper.”
“I’m 18 now. Everybody keeps asking me, ‘Do you feel any older now?’ Mostly, no. I even told one friend that I feel like I’m 16. And that’s true, especially when it comes to skills and learning – I feel WAY behind.”
“Lord, today starts the 19th year You are graciously giving. I would dedicate this year – it’s every day and moment – to Your will and glory, but I am afraid… afraid I won’t mean it, afraid it will be a pretty thing to say and think about but not be real, afraid You will require too much of me and I will fail in overwhelmed distress, afraid I will still obey You out of selfishness!”
The lessons have not been easy – they hardly ever are. But the trying and refining produce something worth far more than an easy life. Through these trials and lessons my heart has been drawn MUCH closer to my God, my desires have (in some areas) been purified to reflect the desires of the One who has purchased me with His blood, and my mind has been in a constant state of being conformed to the mind of Christ my Lord. It is because of these lessons that I can look forward to the next year, to the new and possibly more difficult lessons that must come, and say, “I WANT them to come.”
I am confident in the God I serve – I am confident in who He is, in the prefect love He bears towards me, in His power to accomplish His will, in His goodness through all of history, in His knowledge of what is best for me, and so much more that I could continue listing! My heart overflows with the wonder and freedom of it, and each new day only teaches me more and more of His greatness. I rejoice in the blessed thought that whatever is past has been for my good, and in knowing that the God of all history will bless the future with this same, unchanging care!
I truly did not want to turn 20, but God showed me His ways, and it is enough.