Tomorrow is my 25th birthday and I wrote down some life lessons for my 15-year old self. Ten years has passed since then…
As a 15-year old teenager, you wrote down a motto in one your dairies: Let your smile change the world, but don’t let the world change your smile.
Well since then, a few things have remained the same: Your motto, your height and your freckles. You will always be a morning person and your hobbies still include reading books, running and hiking, and of course, always, always singing and dancing. You will remain a friend of the sun and a lover of the ocean.
Other than that, almost everything else has changed. You have come to love coffee, headphones and sneakers. Who would’ve thought?
Four words to the teenage me: You don’t know everything.
Thankfully through the years you will be humbled by your Gracious God who opposes the proud. In your teens you are full hope for the future and you have been given amazing gifts and talents to reach them. But you will learn that that, too, will fade. As a teenager, you love change and gets excited over every little thing and well… you still do. At 25, you will have moved locations (including schools and houses) ten times in your live. You will embrace change; being in different schools, towns and countries will influence your life for the better! You will also come to be a pro in being alone, even though at the moment only the thought of it scares you. You will learn that there are seasons of walking alone in life and seasons of walking with someone. It is okay to walk your path of life alone with God for that season. It might just be the best and most rewarding season for your future.
You are still quite naive and young, even in your spiritual life and you don’t yet understand how big, glorious and almighty God is. He is powerful and sovereign over ALL. Over time you will learn to see His hand in everything and every day you will be amazed at how meticulous and in detail God works. Your brother, for instance, is not merely your earthly twin brother (who also turns 25 tomorrow), but he is your brother in Christ. I know that we are twins for a reason; He has knit us together into the womb, so that into His likeness, we’d grow together as Biblical brother and sister of God. I praise God for his role in my life. He is a true man of God, a pioneer who God is busy forming into the image of Christ. God has made him a brother who above everything, cares about his family’s salvation. I can count on him for wisdom from the Holy Spirit, for encouragement late at night over the phone and for accountability in everything I ought to be doing for God. By his pure humbleness, he will not like being exposed in my letter, but today is our second birthday ever that is not spent together. He has been with me every step of the way, literally. I thank God for turning him into this man of Christ to build His kingdom. What a privilege to say that he is my twin brother and always will be. Ten years ago he was rushed to the ICU and walked out alive. He miraculously survived 3000 Volts electrical cables through his head. You both will eventually learn that his survival was indeed no accident in His big plan.
Right now you’ve got big plans and you are quite set in your ways and habits. But in time, God will replace your worldly music and books with songs of praise and His words of wisdom. Facebook had only just begun and after ten years you will eventually see all the social media accounts for what they really are and you will make the bold decision to remove yourself from all of it. You are free. All this sounds very harsh now, but one day you will understand…
1 John 2:15-16 : Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
At 15 you are morally quite secured; you might even be assured and matured beyond your years. You live in black and white and do not believe in grey areas. As a born leader, you will fulfill great leadership roles, but you will always feel out as to other teenagers. Don’t doubt yourself and your believes too much for His spirit will guide you well and ten years later, by His amazing grace, you will still have the same moral values and believes; it might even be stronger than before. And you will eventually come to realize that you aren’t serving a grey God after-all (Dad told you this at 14, remember?). You will see that he was right.
Eventually you will come to know the wisdom there is to be obtained from God. At 15, you don’t know how to honor your parents, how to have true grace for other people or to minimize your priorities. You will eventually learn that life is not about doing everything and being good at everything. You are using all of your God-given talents, but not for His glory. You really are doing everything you possibly can in and outside of school right now, aren’t you? It is just a crazy, busy, hectic life. What profound peace you will find at 25 by living a small, peaceful life with only one main focus and priority.
You know that in an interview there is always that question: If there is one thing you would say to your younger self, what will it be?
“Let it go… Let it go…”
I can still remember that when you’re young, everybody encourages you to dream big and to meet your goals and to never give up. But I have learned that it is not at all comparable to the joy and purpose that is to be found in CHRIST. At His feet, you will discover all that you are, and all that you ever wanted to be, and you will learn to aim for that: a woman of God who lives to dedicate everything that she is to Him and to His purpose for your life.
At 25 I am far from that, but by His grace there sure is steady growth in my everyday life. I have a lot of regrets on how I chose to spend my time before. I wasted my time on the most meaningless of things. Today, I would love to go back and do a few years over again. But as we know, all things will eventually turn out for His good and His name will be glorified (Rom. 8:28).
As I write this, I can hear Cher’s song: If I could turn back time…if I could find a way…
I learned how important it is to live a disciplined and obedient Christian life. Especially this past year, I have grown so much through His Word and by the Spirit’s guidance in every step of my way. I am grateful to be humbled by Him, and time and time again, be broken in myself and in my fleshly ways and to always return my focus unto the Lord and his sovereignty. I often wish that I had started studying the Bible sooner and if I was still 15 years old, I would do that above everything. I am grateful to now receive daily wisdom and Truth from the Bible and to see the life-changing power of prayer. Returning home after a long day’s work, I’ve learned that it’s okay to most days just walk through my door, go down on my knees and say, ‘God, it has been a hard day, but You are here…’
1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.
He has truly turned my darkness into Light, which is what my website and the word, LUX, mean to me.
I wanted to start this letter off with something like:
‘Estie, the next ten years of your life will be a big growing curve, start climbing your mountain, girl..’, or maybe I should have started with: ‘Estie, one day your whole life will change from what you now know to be real.’ Or perhaps: ‘Estie, time waits for no one. In a blink of an eye, you will be 25, a full grown woman in your own right with the world out there waiting for you…’ Or I could’ve started with: ‘Es, the journey ahead will have more stormy days than smooth sailings, don’t give up though…’
And then I decided on:
Estie, now you are still a 15-year old girl, with a lovely sparkle in your eyes and a soft heart full of big dreams, but in 10 years from now, you will be on the steadfast shoulders of the One who have set your feet upon a rock, walked with you through valleys and waves and made your steps secure.
You have seen nothing yet.
The best is yet to come.
At 25, your life has only just begun.