Where were you 30, 20, and 10 years ago?
30 years ago I wasn’t even a twinkle in my father’s eye. Not even old enough to be a big sister’s wish.
20 years ago I had been in Alaska for two years, loved homeschooling, and was a new believer.
While I have vague memories of “asking Jesus into my heart” any number of times before (I remember once nodding knowingly as another boy explained he had to do it more than once– because Jesus was always going out of his heart to go into the hearts of others), it was at 8 that I knew I knew what I was doing.
I remember laying under a small quilt someone gave me when I was a baby, and talking awkwardly into the dark, Jesus, I want to accept you because you’re You– not just because of what you’ve done or *can* do, but because of *who you are.* I’m sure this had been the focus of some sermon or talk shortly before, and my developing intellect was just becoming able to make the distinction in motivation.
In the end it was (to some extent I think all things must be) by reflecting the concept through the prism of myself that I *got* it.
I have, several times in my life, been very performance driven. That is, I found too much of my value in what I did or how I thought others perceived me. Already at 8-years-old I was realizing I didn’t want to be accepted or loved because of what I could do. I wanted to be loved for *me,* because someone found me love-able.
And I could really imagine God feeling the same way. So that was the best way I knew to honor Him.
10 years ago I had all sorts of milestones. Starting college, my first friends outside of my parents’ control/influence, the first time I didn’t care about a grade (one class). I was getting a double degree: not only my B.A. (which I hadn’t nailed down yet) but also the confidence that I had been given enough brains to be turned loose in this pagan world and survive.
For the first time I had the status (“adult”!) to start defending my thoughts and beliefs based on my own standing, experience and research, rather than exclusively on what I’d been told. I had tried this in high school, but at 16 I was pummeled enough in my attempts that I didn’t have the emotional energy to try again for a while.
As someone who always valued, leaned-on and remembered much of what I was taught, it was a relief to learn that I, too, had discernment and the ability to filter, reason and understand.
I felt like one of those baby eagles who left the nest on a parent’s back and was dropped mid-flight to learn how to fly on my own. It was freaky-exciting, and I’m glad I still lived at home while I experienced it. I knew I wouldn’t fall far before I was caught again, and that gave me more confidence than I would have had on my own.
Always when I look back– any distance of time– I see God’s hand in my life, guiding me and preparing me both for that present and the future. I know I am the way I am today because I’ve seen God’s faithfulness in all situations.
“It is no small thing to say that God is faithful.“