My third sweet girl…Kristen…is turning 21 tomorrow! She came into this world so quietly and sweetly in the stillness of those first few minutes of March 17, 1994 and she has been a blessing to me every minute since her arrival!
I can remember so clearly my own 21st birthday back in 1983 – 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.
As Kristen turns 21 she too is a college student attending Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas. She is a business major and soccer player who has many good friends there from both her hometown in Stockton as well as new Texas friends, who along with her sister Amy, will likely be celebrating her birthday after she attends classes & practice tomorrow. (She is flying back to Texas right now after being at the beach with us for Spring break) Kristen is truly a beautiful, gifted and talented young lady who has a bright future ahead of her and I could not be more thrilled with her godly character, her life choices and her commitment to her faith.
Several years ago when my eldest daughter turned 21, I wrote her “21 gifts of guidance” for her birthday instead of a gift of “things”. I wanted to give her my words of wisdom as she reached 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 simply another birthday)
Kristen…here is the updated just for you 21 “gifts of guidance” from your Mamma who knows that you desire to have a life of passion, purpose and praise 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. No one else will ever love you the way He can!
2. Never stop believing in and meditating on and trusting 100% in the inspired inerrant Word of God…it is the ultimate truth in life and it trumps circumstances, opinions and feelings.
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 you 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. At the end of the day it never turns out to be good. Run Girl Run!
6. Remember it is NOT what happens to you in life that matters…it is how you respond. God is more interested in your response. Glorify Him!
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 trust Him and 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 your life partner where together you will do more for the kingdom of God than you could have ever accomplished alone – there is simply 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. Many Christians in our current culture have allowed the worlds paradigms on these things to become theirs….don’t do it!
16. Don’t waste time in trivial pursuits – if it is not about God, relationships, people, service or ministry – do not give very 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 boyfriends/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…did I mention VERY short. Invest your life in eternity!
And in addition my dear Kristen… along the way in life – “shoot the moon” as often as you can! 🙂 I know that God has great plans for your life and I will be cheering you on!