Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Dear Daughter... Letter One

This May, my husband and I will celebrate 27 years of marriage! Next January I will be almost half a century young (does that really make me old?). And now my hair really is getting very grey! (I like to think of it as natural highlights). Thankfully, I have walked with Christ for 29 of those years! Perhaps, just maybe, I qualify as an older woman in the Lord who might speak to the younger in years and impart some wisdom from having traveled through a bit of life. 

I do not think of myself as an expert on any topic and others could certainly qualify more than myself, but I keep thinking... what would I do differently if I were 21 again? And thankfully, not everything I did was wrong. I really did get a few things right, so I've also been thinking of what I would do again if I were 21.

Really... it's all about what I would like to pass on to my daughters. Truths I want them to know; ideas that worked better than others; things I wish I had heard as a young woman years ago. So, with Titus 2:3-5 in mind, I will occasionally be writing a blog post specifically with my daughters (and perhaps some of you!) in mind.

Shall I begin?

Dear Daughter,

There are things in life that you must experience yourself to truly understand, but my heart would have you seek and hear wisdom in order to make the most of the days ahead of you. Some women gain profound wisdom in the dawn of their life while others remain fools until the sun sets in the end. Perhaps you would consider a few thoughts on what I would do differently if I were young again, but with the hindsight of wisdom; things that you can apply to your life early on while the sun is still rising.

It's hard to know where to begin because it would seem that I would address the most important thing first. I find that very difficult because so many things seems to be a priority. Perhaps it would be better if I write as the Holy Spirit leads; as things come to mind and as I meet them face to face on a daily basis.

Which leads me to thoughts of pride, humility, and a teachable spirit...

If I were young again, I would listen more and talk less. I would ask more questions and ponder the answers. I would withhold my opinions unless asked, and when given, I would try to do so in only one or two sentences! While young, I would save my soapbox for journals and prayer before God, asking Him to sort out those things that seem unjust and to guide me in actions more than talk! (While there is a time and a place to speak and be bold, let it be for the biblical truths that are clear in scripture; the black rather than the grey areas, and always covered in love.) 

It's easy to think that you see the whole picture on a subject, but so many times I gave such strong opinions on something, only to find a few minutes later that I did not have all the information or had not even considered some related thought! And then there were the uncomfortable moments when I allowed an opinion to escape my mouth to suddenly realize I had said something directly about the person before me!

Do you always feel you are the one who is right? Does the inner soul claw to have the last word? Can you only see your own view on something? Do you always feel you must add your own thoughts to every conversation or lesson? Is your way the only way? Is pride not at the root of all these thoughts and emotions? 

Pride has a way of stripping you of joy. It robs you of the wonder of learning and seeing new things. It destroys love, kills kindness, and drives others away because it lays your heart bare for others to see the ugly places of the heart. It hurts and destroys rather than edifying and building up. "The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands" (Prov. 14:1). Could this not have also been written "... the foolish tears it down with her own opinion? pride? mouth?"

Humility is the counter balance to pride. It is not a debasing of one's self, but rather knowing you are a daughter of the King and as such, a servant of His people! Your royal position is one of service and graciousness, rather than entitlement and scorn. As a princess, "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought... but think so as to have sound judgement" (Rom. 13:1). Hear others, listen to their thoughts, and consider their ideas for at least five full minutes before giving your counter. Guard your mouth that you only use it to build up others rather than the giving of subtle comments and opinions in an effort to build yourself up. 

Without a teachable spirit no amount of counsel I give (or anyone else!) will every penetrate your soul; it can only be obtained when pride and humility have their proper place within the heart and when you've cultivated a desire to grow in the Lord. I pray that this will characterize your life throughout your entire life. 

Dear daughter, put off pride and clothe yourself with humility every morning! Wear it throughout the day as a covering. Ask the Lord to set a guard over your heart so that your spirit is teachable to the things that are true and profitable. Practice these things first and foremost with your own family, especially with your husband. He will respect you all the more for it and treasure you as a queen; your children will see and believe!

Whole books could be written on these three things, but it's not our minds that need convincing... it's our hearts! Oh, to have the years back to live these truths out when I failed to do so! I pray you have fewer regrets and more joy as you walk humbly with the Lord in this world.


This post has been added to Raising Homemakers


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