What my 40 year-old self would tell my 20 year-old self

What? I am forty. How did this happen? Just yesterday the collagen in my skin was full and firm and I could diet for three days and drop five pounds. Seriously. Things have shifted some, but thankfully my identity is not in my aging body, but in Jesus. I have been pondering some things this year and wanted to pass along some encouragement and advice to those of you who still have a metabolism and collagen in your skin. (Smile.) I am a “get-to-the-point” girl so, here are some things my forty-year-old-self would tell my 20-year-old-self:

 

  1. Life is a marathon not a sprint. In our twenties, we are looking for our place in the world. It is a time of discovery and looking forward to goals like graduating college, marriage, and fulfilling our purpose. We are looking toward the next big thing or to “arrive” in some area of life. Many times, when I “arrived” I was left feeling disappointed in some way. Life is a process and a journey.  Your destiny is fulfilled all along the way.  You don’t “arrive” at destiny! (John Maxwell advice.) So, relax and enjoy the journey.  God is BIG! You can trust Him girls! Will you be faithful all along the way? This leads me to my next point.

 

  1. Joy and fulfillment come from obedience to God and being faithful to use the gifts that God gave you. It is being faithful in the simple things that you are gifted at that will bring joy and even success in your life.  Many times, this is not glamorous and we can fall prey to looking out there for bigger and better things.  It’s in the unseen labor of faithfulness and obedience that develops the endurance and character that will bring you down the path of your purpose.  Can you get derailed?  That’s why it is so important to stay close to Jesus and keep sin far away.

 

  1. You will be tested. You will have mountaintop experiences with God and you also will walk through valleys. God is with you in both! Before God releases you into the fullness of what He has, you will be tested.  Abraham was repeatedly tested and then with the final test of Isaac, God knew that Abraham could be trusted to lead His people.  Testing reveals your heart to God and it also reveals your heart to YOU. Our hearts are “deceitfully wicked”.  Times of testing determines if your character can carry you to the places and people that God wants to entrust to you. Remember, the greater influence over other people, the greater the testing.

 

  1. Don’t let go of the God-dream in your heart! You will get weary during those times of testing. You will be tempted to quit or compromise. Don’t quit! Stay the path. Stay in your lane. Stir up your faith. It’s your job to stir-up your faith and cling to His promises. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” Hebrews 6:12

 

So, there’s my two cents!  I pray that you will be encouraged to relax, stay close to Jesus, stay in your lane, and to cling to the dream of God in your heart.  It WILL come to pass if God said it!  You just have to be patient and enjoy the journey.  God’s timing is not our timing and every person is different! I would love to hear from other women older than 40 to share what their experience has taught them for our 20-something girls!

What’s Naming You?

One of the greatest joys of being a mother is naming your child. There is massive power entrusted to us by our Creator when we name that little one we hold in our arms. Countless times we will call that name…as they crawl across the floor…as they learn to ride their bike…as they walk down the aisle.
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We often think about naming things but what is naming us? We all carry a name given to us by our own parents. We may carry the name betrothed to us as we stood at the wedding altar. But we also carry other names – mommy, sis, wife. Yet there are other names that can tag us along the road of life if we are not careful – wounded, useless, bitter, tired, and pained. Pain, what a name!

Perhaps you found yourself wading through the ashes of a relationship that went up in flames. Maybe you have shaken your fists at God more than once indicting Him for allowing the pain of abuse to mark your childhood. Or, life just has not turned out as you imagined and you are just plain angry. Pain wants sink into the very fiber of your being and permeate the deepest, darkest places of your soul. Pain would try to name you.

Pain has stormed the stage of my life multiple times. First, in the form of an abusive, controlling marriage. Then, not a decade later, in the form of a casket lowering my four-year-old son to his grave after a fierce battle with brain cancer.
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Pain tried to name me. Ugly. Unwanted. Rejected. Forgotten.

You and I have a choice. We can let our pain or our healing name us.

Pain is inevitable. Jesus makes that clear to us in John 16:33: “In this world you will have trouble, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” The question is not whether we will encounter pain; it’s part of the world we live in. The question is whether we will allow pain or our healing to name us.

That inner voice on the inside of you – what are you going to allow it to say to you? “You’re a mess!” or, “You’re a masterpiece!” “You’re a piece of junk!” or, “You’re worth more than gold.”

Eventually, you will come to the place where either your pain or your healing will define you. God gives us time to grieve, mourn, and process our pain. Yet at some point, we will have to make a decision; grovel in our pain or heal. The fruit of a life marked by pain is anger, bitterness, mistrust, fear, self-protection, insecurity, and hesitation. The fruit of a healed heart is love, hope, strength to help others, and freedom. God wrote to His love, the Hebrew people, and He writes to you today in Isaiah 62:4: Never again will you be called “The Forsaken City” or “The Desolate Land.” Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight” and “The Bride of God,” for the LORD delights in you and will claim you as his bride.

We will all experience loss and pain in this life. My question to you today is: What will name you – your pain or your healing? Allow God to give you His new name for you.
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Joy Scott is an inspiring and authentic author, certified teacher, and passionate speaker. But her greatest joy is found in being a loving – and patient – wife to her energetic husband, Jonathan, and devoted mom to her lively boys. Together Joy and Jon began Joseph’s Joy, (www.josephsjoy.org), a non-profit organization designed to offer hope and help to children and their families battling life-threatening illnesses locally and around the world.

You can get your copy of Joy’s book, Joseph’s Joy: Living With Unstoppable Hope on http://www.amazon.com. To book Joy for a speaking event inquire at http://www.joyscott.me.