How is it that I have a 21 year old daughter? I can remember so clearly my own 21st birthday – I went to my senior classes at the University of the Pacific during the day and then was joined by several college friends for a small backyard birthday barbecue at Pastor John Butrin’s home that was also the culmination of my summer internship at Lincoln Neighborhood Church. I was loving my Lord and my life, surrounded by dear friends and excited about my future plans! I can still remember that day with joy in my heart.
Today my own daughter is turning 21. She too is a young, energetic and enthusiastic student attending The King’s College in New York City. She has many good friends and will likely be celebrating her birthday tonight surrounded by those who love her. She has a bright future ahead of her and I could not be more thrilled with her character, her life choices and her commitment to her faith.
For her 21st birthday instead of a gift of “things” I want to give her my gift of guidance as she reaches this new milestone in life that here in the USA signifies a “coming of age” or adulthood. (although being the counter-culture family that we are…we have raised our children to enter adulthood much younger so in some ways this is just another birthday)
Michelle…here are 21 “gifts of guidance” from your Mom who knows that you desire to have a life that is lived to its fullness, a life that is lived well and a life that makes an impact on the world! May these 21 gifts encourage you, challenge you and inspire you to live that life!
1. Never leave your first love – Jesus. He is the most faithful friend, the best big brother, a passionate intimate beloved and warm, loving father.
2. Never stop believing in and meditating on the inspired inerrant Word of God…even with all the facts on your side…it still takes faith.
3. Be thankful every day for the firm foundation you received growing up in a committed Christian home – it is truly an amazing blessing.
4. Let God be God…because we are not. The sooner you relinquish to Christ complete control of your life and your future the better off you will be.
5. Flee temptation…never was there a better word from God…and yet we often ignore it because sin feels good, tastes good and looks good. It never turns out to be good. Run!
6. Remember it is not the hard things that happen to you along the way that matter…it is how you respond. God is more interested in your response.
7. You will truly look back at the tough times in life and be so thankful for what they brought you…so why not just be thankful in the midst of them?
8. God wants to meet all of your needs – physical, emotional, spiritual, mental – so just let Him.
9. Do not believe it when people say “it can’t be done” or “that will never happen” – with God all things are possible!
10. Everyday God puts divine appointments right in front of you – don’t get distracted and miss them – it is one of the greatest delights of life.
11. Give, give, and give some more….you will simply be given even more to turn around and give more! Give to everyone who asks of you – your time, your talent or your treasure!
12. Wait for a man who is passionately committed to our God and who will be a life partner and together you will do more for the kingdom of God than you could have ever accomplished alone – there is nothing better than being married to a man who shares your love for the Lord and your life purpose.
13. Worship with full abandon…sing loudly, turn up the music, dance, clap, shout, raise your hands, bow before him, pour out your heart in praise, let His creation awe and inspire you. This is what you were created for!
15. Don’t buy into Christian “worldy wisdom” on children, safety, dating & relationships, retirement, material possessions, sharing your stuff or “praying about things” that are clearly commanded to do in His word.
16. Don’t waste time in trivial pursuits – if it is not about God, relationships, people, service or ministry – do not give much of your life to it.
17. Pursue friendships with those who will encourage you, challenge your faith and take you to a deeper level. (skip the shallowness of talking to your girlfriends about where to get your nails done, how much those jeans cost, why they are mad at their husbands, shopping or the latest “void of value” TV show).
18. Be faithful and true to your word, to the body of Christ, to your marriage, to your family & friends.
19. If you see a need…meet it! (you don’t have to be “called”)
20. If you are continually looking for ways to love and serve others…you will never have time to be depressed, bored or critical.
21. Compared to eternity…life here is so very, very short. Invest your life in eternity!
To my amazing, awesome, beautiful, strong, tenacious, determined, creative, passionate, purposeful, lovely, gracious, compassionate, enthusiastic, helpful, influential, Christlike first-born daughter….Happy 21st Birthday! I love you so much Michelle-my-belle! I know that God has great plans for your life and I will be cheering you on!