A letter to a young Christian woman, encouraging her to serve others, be teachable, and commit her ways to the Lord. Plus, an edit I should have made.
I wrote this post in 2008, after writing a letter to a friend’s daughter on her birthday. It was a custom the family had begun for their 16 year olds – asking members of their local church to write letters to their children, encouraging them in their upcoming adult years.
Looking back over a decade later, I have seen this young lady go through many ups and downs, and I recognize one edit I should have made all those years ago.
You see, the Lord has not (yet) placed a husband or children in her life, and while I still stand by the advice I gave her, I would have framed it differently. Her identity is found in being a follower of Christ first and foremost, all else is secondary. So, I would have placed less emphasis on marriage and children in this letter.
In my defense, it was the world I was living in. I was deep in the trenches of raising small children, and I had not yet come up for air and a look around me. Now that my youngest is 3, things are a bit less fuzzy; although, I am convinced I will never “arrive” this side of Heaven.
Perhaps I should have told her that as well.
Recently, I was asked to write a letter to a young woman turning 16 to encourage her in her womanhood. The task seemed a bit daunting because I am only 15 years her senior and quite often do not feel as though I have a clue. In fact, I have only 9 years of truly living for the Lord under my belt. What could I possibly say to this young woman who in many ways seems light years ahead of me? Well, I decided to take my 12 years of marriage, 9 years of Christianity, nearly 6 children and give her the three things I have found to be most important.
Fifteen years ago, I was your age. My aspirations were simple and superficial, and quite often downright sinful. I had no real direction or purpose, so the advice I offer you today does not come from someone who began womanhood with trusting and honoring the Lord at the forefront of her mind. What I offer you today is more along the lines of what I wish I had known based on what I have learned of womanhood since becoming a Christian in 1999 at the age of 22, already married with one child.
First of all, let me start by admitting to you that you are being watched. I have watched you serve your father, serve your siblings, but most of all, serve your mother. You have a servant’s heart, and that one trait alone speaks volumes of who you will become as a woman. More than likely, the Lord will place a husband and children in your future. The servanthood I see in you now places you far ahead of the crowd of other young women (yes, even Christian young women) who will someday be serving a family of their own. Human beings are naturally selfish, but the Word tells us that true love is not self-seeking. It is rare to find a woman of your age who understands this and finds joy in serving others.
Secondly, I would encourage you to always be teachable. As you age, you will continue to grow in the knowledge and the wisdom of the Lord, but you are not an island. There is a very real reason for the passages in Titus that entreat the older women to teach the younger women. Contrary to modern thinking, Biblical womanhood and all that comes with it does not place you in a mindless oppressed state of being. As a wife and mother, I daily have problems, issues, and circumstances that I must work through. Quite often, I need the guidance of someone else. As with everything, your knowledge of Scripture must be sufficient to weigh any advice you receive against God’s Holy Word. So when you ask advice from those who have already worked through the issues you are dealing with, you not only learn how to do something you did not know how to do before, but you hopefully learn how Scripture sheds light on the subject at hand. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Do not be afraid to try something new. But, most importantly, do not be afraid to ignore bad advice. These are all components of being teachable and getting that wisdom the Lord so highly values.
Lastly, purpose today to commit your ways to the Lord. In Romans 8:31b, it says, “If God is for us, who is against us?” The Lord is your compass. Keep your eyes on the prize, run the race with that end in mind. As long as the Lord is your guide, all the cares and worries of this world will be unable to truly harm you. No wind will sway you, no storm will beat you down. The sinfulness of this world will not draw you in for you know you will find great reward in Heaven.
Happy Birthday, Dear! May the Lord delight in your path.