My young granddaughter came across a picture that she drew a couple of months earlier. With great excitement, she ran to her Mommy and exclaimed, “Mommy, look! I did this when I was – – “ and she held up three fingers. Her brother, trying to start a squabble exclaimed, “Ew! That’s gross” My four-year-old granddaughter wheeled around and said, “Hey, I was just a kid! Give me a break!”
I recently received an envelope in the mail from a friend I had when I was about 19 years old. I was a new Christian and I had completed a year and a half of college. I had been in a Youth With A Mission training school in Bozeman, MT for a few months. This friend (one I loved so very much) was in Europe on a “field trip” with other students from the same school. I decided to write to her daily until a spiral notebook was filled, handwritten, on both sides of the page. As you can imagine, it was filled with a lot of nonsense, telling her about my day, my love for Jesus, news of friends, and how cute this one boy was whom I really wanted her to meet because I just knew they would hit it off. (They got married.)
On the front of the notebook, she had written “yes” in bold letters. I didn’t think much of it until I was three-quarters the way through the epistle, and I had written, “If you have read this far, write ‘yes’ on the front of the book.” I was absolutely filled with love for my friend because she actually took the time to read the whole letter.
As I re-read the entire letter that I had written nearly 50 years ago, I was embarrassed at how immature I was. I was excited and full of life and adventure. I was in love with Jesus and every other line was, “Praise Jesus”, “Praise the Lord”, PTL”, and I rambled, about nothing and everything.
But I had to remind myself, “Hey! I was just a kid! Give me a break!”
There were times in my young life that I had a breakthrough with the Lord. It was as though a screen was lifted and everything was bright and crystal clear.
The first time I experienced this was the night I understood what being “born again” really meant, and that Jesus wanted a personal relationship with me. I had been going to church my whole life, but it was as though I had been living in a fog. Suddenly, as though a screen was lifted from my eyes, I could see clearly!
But that wasn’t the only time. God brought me through many times where I had a glimpse of heaven. The continuing work He was doing in my life brought many landmarks in my life.
I often jotted down inside my Bible cover the date, and a reminder to always keep the air clean and pure between me and Jesus because it just felt so good to be free of guilt and shame. It felt so good not to concern myself with my current state, but give it to Jesus and trust Him.
Psalm 77:11 | I will remember the deeds of the LORLD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.”
Life on earth is filled with hours and days and years. Everything we experience makes us who we are. We are formed by the moments that dot our memories: a phrase from a sermon, the kindness of a stranger, the memory of a grandparent’s laugh, the encouragement of one teacher, or the sharp tongue of another.
As a Christian, it’s important to look back at the memories. Remember the first time you had a personal revelation of the reality of Jesus Christ. Remember God’s goodness and mercies. It’s good to remember all that He has brought you through and the forgiveness you’ve experienced because of His work on the cross. It’s important to remember the people He has brought into your life, some for a moment, some for a season, some for a lifetime.
My 50th class reunion is coming up in a couple of years. A Facebook page has already been created, and old friends are responding. Fifty years is a lifetime ago and I haven’t seen some of my friends since the day I graduated. It’s a landmark, a point I can look at, remember where I was, and rejoice at everything God has taught me that has made me “me”.
As you recognize His hand in your life, remember where you were and where you are now. Hey, once we were just kids. We didn’t know how to do life. Be forgiving of your own immaturity, and look where you are now. Know that life is a journey but it doesn’t end here. This is just the beginning.
Psalms 103:1-8 | Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. The Lord performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. The Lord is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.