On Thursday, March 7th I will turn 42. Two years into my 40s and I am just sitting down to write a summary of one of the best gifts I was ever given. You see, for my 40th birthday I asked a handful of women who were anywhere from 10-20 years ahead of me to write me a letter (are you shocked I asked for letters) with W-I-S-D-O-M. Kind of a “what would you go back and tell your 40-year-old-self” if you could. These were women that I prayed would come into my life in my 20s. I was newly married and trying to figure out balance with work and wifeyhood, honestly, looking back, I was really craving a mentor. At the time I was teaching high school and over the course of six years I came to know a lot of my students mothers. Women that I admire and cherish with all that I am. They are the kind of women I want to be like when I grow up and I treasure their stories they share with me. These women are a wealth of knowledge; they come from a variety of backgrounds, none of them with a perfect track record. They have stories of pitfalls and triumph and lessons from them all.
I wanted to start this new decade of my life with purpose and intentionality. Asking for wisdom seemed to be the best place to start. I wanted a road map with a “look out for this possible turn” and “this is one of the most magical locations” - those are the best kinds of directions to have. So what did these extraordinary women share with me, you ask? I found that most of their nuggets of wisdom fell into three categories: Marriage, Parenting, and Perspective. Keep in mind I taught at a Christian school, so these women are coming from a place of faith. If you are coming from a different place please don’t stop reading here, you might be surprised at some truths you uncover. In discretion, I have kept their identities private, just know that they are amazingly imperfect, perfect ladies.
As I was writing this I realized the wealth of information I had at my fingertips, and if you are like me, you don’t sit down to read really long blogs - so I am going to break it up into three different weeks, since their wisdom kind of shakes out that way. I would love to know your takeaways from this little series (a maiden voyage for me) - email me at email@example.com and let me know what you think or if there are any topics you would love for me to cover!
Let’s start with PERSPECTIVE
- Don’t take the good times for granted.
- Your relationship with Christ is always first priority, this aligns our hearts desires with His priorities. Our Father has ordained our path. He has the very best plan for us if we will actively listen and commit to follow Him, even when we don’t understand what He is doing.
- You don’t have to know everything. You don’t have to do everything. Slow down, stop pressuring yourself, enjoy the moment.
- In the course of our lives, we all experience the good, the bad, and the ugly of living in a fallen world. I have learned that when I take my eyes off Jesus, the bad and ugly grow worse. But when I choose to be thankful, to love unconditionally and to trust it is the equivalent of choosing joy.
- Enjoy the season you are in -- don’t look down the road too much.
- When there is breathing room - take it.
- Talk to your mom, ask her questions, you won’t regret it.
- Some friendships ebb and flow but remain strong over time; other ebb and don’t flow back. So treasure your friendships, work at keeping them, and remember that even Jesus knew when to wipe off the dust from His feet and move on.
- What’s best for you and your family may not be the same as what’s best for your friends’ families, and that’s ok.
- If you want a friend, you have to be a friend.
- You don’t have to be old to die. So live everyday with purpose and meaning.
- You need to take time for yourself … take a scheduled day every month for your enjoyment and for a time to listen to Jesus is invaluable. I recommend the first half of the day with Jesus - alone, away from the house, where you can totally get into Him and listen clearly. The last half of the day enjoy something FUN!
- Pursue God with all your heart. Don’t let busyness steal those quiet moments where God himself invests in your spirit.
- Beware of too much caffeine.
- Love yourself the way you are. God does. And He will keep growing you in Christlikeness.
- Laugh at yourself.
- Take time to write notes of encouragement to people.
- Gratitude - practice it every day.
- God’s got this. Whatever it is, He’s got it, and you don’t have to worry or fret. Relax because He is good and He loves you and wants the best for you.
- You don’t have to let your emotions be known. Be cool and calm and even rational. Trust God to work it out. Trust who you share your innermost thoughts with - not everyone needs to know everything.
Thank you Pam Pam, Nance, Nancy, Pammie, Robin, Juju, BJ, Debi, Dine Dine for loving me like your own and sharing a piece of your heart with me always.
Stop by next week for words of wisdom on marriage! Until then, big hugs!