A new year always brings a time of reflection for me and as I flipped through my old journals, I was struck by how much life has changed over the last ten years.
Dear Me in 2004,
During the last couple of years, you have seen life change dramatically as you became a wife, struggled through friendships and family relationships, battled infertility, and at last became a mother. Now, in the midst of these changes, you feel like you are drowning. Smothering under a pile of debt and a list of things to do that you still don’t completely understand.
You struggle to find a way to afford all that your family needs while paying the debts you accumulated by living a life beyond your means. You want more peace and more money, and you don’t see either coming any time soon. As a matter of fact, you are about to buy a house and for a while, things will get worse.
God is graciously making a way for your young family to move into a three bedroom home that will give you ample space for a growing family. However, within the walls of this new house, you will experience new surprises… not necessarily the good kind.
If I could step back in time, grab you by the shoulders, and look into your eyes, this is what I would say:
The days ahead are filled with circumstances more difficult and more stressful than anything you have previously lived through, but GOD IS FAITHFUL. He is teaching you through these struggles about stewardship and faithfulness, and you are growing in grace and wisdom.
In the next ten years, you will:
- be blessed with three more children and two will catch you by surprise. You don’t know that you can have children without fertility treatments but our God is going to prove He knows more than the doctors.
- experience the pain of having a daughter diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. You will grieve over the loss of the child you imagined she would be but then find joy in watching her grow into the person God has created her to be.
- feel tremendous humiliation due to your rage and beg your husband to divorce you, but he will not, and you will find ways to cope with your anger. In turn, you will then be able to minister to hundreds of women who have the same struggle, giving them the courage to find the help they need.
- walk into grocery stores praying for enough money to buy groceries and realize that couponing actually works. Then, you will teach what you know to others and help hundreds of families be able to eat on extremely tight budgets.
- be prompted to turn your experience into a business, and in time will be forever grateful to the friend who gave you that kick in the pants.
- face losing your home when the wind and hail insurance suddenly doubles your monthly note. You will pack up your family and be ready to move in with your parents, but God is going to work an amazing miracle.
You will have to leave a shopping cart of groceries at the check out more than once. You will need to hide your van in the backyard behind a locked gate to avoid repossession. You will have to work late nights creating new ways to infuse money into your bank account. You will spend several years presenting your children to the government in order to receive WIC. You will face a judge to discuss your finances and return to beg for mercy over an expensive ticket you get for having an expired tag, a broken taillight, and an expired driver’s license because you didn’t have the money to buy them. You will experience extreme illness when your thyroid storms. You will lose some of the most precious loved ones you have.
But, even through all of these things, God will be faithful and He still is.
You cannot see the future and you are overwhelmed, but be at peace, my soul, and cling to the God of your Salvation because He is making something beautiful out of your life. Stay focused on Jesus. He will see you through.
And finally, when you reach 2014, you will be debt-free and about to purchase a new home. You will no longer struggle for groceries or gasoline. You will be a professional blogger – and you don’t even know what a “blog” is yet – where God will fulfill the desire of your heart to be an author, but you will be blessed beyond what you currently dream.
You will be the mentor to a network of bloggers through which you will be blessed by tremendous friendships and the opportunity to encourage women who are living through exactly what you face today. You will be able to share your failures and successes with thousands of people who need to know that all things are possible through God, our Father, and they will find hope through your words.
You will survive this and so doing, you will make a difference in the lives of others for the glory of God.
For my friends today
Take time to consider where you were ten years ago. What has changed? Consider the good and the bad. Do you see a pattern of God’s provision? How has He moved in your life to change your circumstances? What happened that was beyond your wildest dreams?
God loves you and He is working for you, not against you.