“After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel” Judges 2:10.
My 37th birthday is this week, and I’ve been in major self-reflection mode naturally. I’m thinking about all of the things the Lord has brought me through and about all of my blessings. I’m thinking about where I am in my life at this stage and where I want to go. I’m thinking about goals and how to reach them. I’m reflecting on my relationships, especially my relationship with my children. I am thinking about how I can become more like Christ and be the woman He wants me to be. I am in a season of major self-reflection.
Of course, I am not where I want to be at this stage of life, and I see a lot of room for growth when it comes to who I am in Christ. However, a vital area where I’ve seen much growth and maturation is my faith and trust in God. Through various trials, tribulations, relationships, successes and failures, the Lord has taught me how to have faith and trust Him when I don’t have all of the answers. I’ve learned that my every breath is dependent on God, and I’ve learned that each breath and every second is a gift from Him. And I don’t want to waste my gift. Every day, I’m working on unpacking that gift and living life to the fullest. I’m doing that by being more present with my children. I am engaging them. Talking to them more. Learning them. Creating experiences for them. Spending time with them, and meeting their needs as their mother. It’s not easy, especially since our society conditions you to disengage. Television, social media, radio and all other forms of modern entertainment train and condition us to disengage. I’m working on being fully present. Drinking in each moment and reflecting on each encounter as they come.
As I turn 37, I see a lot of room for growth and development, but I’ve come to a place in my life where I am fully accepting of myself. I like myself and the woman I am. I know this is because of the Lord’s work in me. When the Lord first called me, He took me through a major life lesson of self-acceptance and knowing my worth in Him. That was over 10 years ago. Now, I’m at a place in life where I know my worth, and I’m not willing to settle for less than God’s best. I want God’s best in my work situation, in my parenting, in my relationships, in my ministry, in my health and every other area of my life. And, God has matured me to a place where I trust Him and have faith in Him as I’m pursuing His best. I may not see the manifestation of His best in those areas right now, but I know if I keep pressing towards the mark, God will steadily reveal His plan. He’s been faithful in these 37 years. He’s been kind and generous. He’s blessed me when I didn’t deserve it. He hasn’t thrown in the towel on me even though there were times when I neglected our relationship and wanted to give up on myself. God has been good, and He’s teaching me every day that His mercy endures forever.
These are the lessons I want to pass onto my children. I want my children to know why mommy is still here and why mommy is still serving the Lord. I want them to know that the only reason why we are all where we are is because of the goodness and grace of God. That’s why Judges 2:10 resonates with me right now. There arose a generation after the generation of Israelites who left Egypt died out who didn’t know God. They didn’t know God delivered them from Pharaoh. They didn’t know what God did for their ancestors in the wilderness. They didn’t know about God’s relationship with Moses and Joshua. A generation arose who just didn’t know. If you look around today, I think you could surmise that there are some people who just don’t know what God has done for us over the centuries. They don’t know who provides for us, keeps us safe, helps us endure racism, classism, sexism, poverty, unemployment, sickness and tragedy, creates opportunities for us, heals us and delivers us. I don’t want my children navigating through this life in ignorance of the power of Almighty God. I don’t want them not knowing who brought their mother through the death of their father and through other trials I’ve had to face over the years. I want them to know that it’s only because of the One and True Living God and His Son Jesus Christ that I’m able to stand today. I want them to grow up knowing all of that!
That’s why it’s imperative for us as believers to tell our stories. Some folks may doubt. Some may scorn. Some may walk away and leave us alone. However, we have to tell them that Jesus is real. We have to tell them the story of how we made it over, so they won’t grow up not knowing God. 37 years may not seem old in comparison to our elders. However, when you think about those who didn’t make it to see 37 years, you’d have to see that it’s only by the grace of God that I’m still here. It’s only by the grace of God that you’re still here no matter what your age.
Tell someone about Jesus. Tell your children. Teach them so they can teach their children. The knowledge of God is the beginning wisdom and knowledge of self. I believe that if more people knew God, then there wouldn’t be so many people who are lost and don’t appreciate or value the sanctity of life. Tell your story so someone else can get to know God.