“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

10 Year Old Girl

On September 12, 2001 a girl was born. Her eyes opened to a country in pain and a world in shock following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York. The relatively peaceful world that existed just days earlier had been rocked and shaken. People questioned God's existence on that day. How could He be a loving God and allow something like that to happen? Others spoke of repentance, salvation and the realization that None of us are guaranteed we will live tomorrow. 

In a world of chaos, hate, war, and sin, that girl would have to grow up deciding whether she was in the world or of it. Whether she too would succumb to the hate, the constant state of anger everyone is in, or if she would love the unlovables. 

Even a 10 year old struggles with perception, wondering if she is pretty enough if she is smart enough, if people like her. When she hears people laughing after she's walked by, she wonders if they are laughing at her. This is a cold, unloving world we live in... and she struggles. She is anxious about what the future holds for her, her family and the world. Sometimes times are tense in her house. The money's not what it used to be, the fuses are short and she finds herself yelling back at her family when she knows she shouldn't. 

But she is one of the lucky ones... because she knows Jesus. She has hope for the future, hope for her struggles and even for the world. She knows that when the time is right, Jesus will return and scoop her up and take her away from all of this pain, anxiety, anger, hate, and sin. She can rely on Him daily for strength and love. She knows that He will never ever ever leave her side, no matter what happens. So she smiles, the way a 10 year old does, with enough wisdom from lessons learned to be dangerous, but with enough curiosity left to be Really dangerous. 

The danger she posses will cause the enemy to lay repeated traps, roadblocks and temptations in her way. And who would blame him? No one ever said the devil was stupid. He knows where the danger lies, but so does she. The roadblocks might slow her down in her race toward the prize. The traps might catch her foot and make her fall. She might even be injured for awhile. The temptations might catch her eye and pause her progress, but nothing will bind her up because the Son has set her free.

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free....So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:32,36) 

And I am free indeed...

"Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again." (John 3:3)
I was "born again" of the Spirit, and this week I turned 10 years old.  I was at the University of Kentucky I had just joined the Army ROTC, when the World Trade Center Towers fell. I knew my world of joining a peace-time Army and just doing a few push ups and running a few miles would no longer be a simple future. I had struggled for many years looking for answers on how to cope with the issues of my life. Knowing that I couldn't do it on my own and that there Had to be something more powerful out there to make the oceans and the mountains. I had been going to church for probably about a year and attending Fellowship of Christian Athletes meetings for a couple months with my new friends. What had I been waiting for? To get the "party girl" out of me? Who knows, but the idea that I could have been on a plane or working in a tower... or going to class or crossing the street and my world could end at any moment. I wanted to know that I was saved from eternal hell. I wanted to start living my life for and with my creator. I wanted to live with joy and hope for a beautiful future. So I did. I made my decision then and there. It hasn't all been rainbows and butterflies... ask me about it if you dare ;) but it is my beautiful life and I am working to live one day at a time and enjoy one moment at a time, accepting hardships as a pathway to peace... taking, as Christ did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it and trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will and let go of mine. Knowing that I can be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

Reflection Question: Have you begun living your life for and with God? Have you asked Him to come into your heart, to dwell there, forgive your sins (past, present and future), and to make His will your hope for the future? ...the Good news is, you can do that right now if you want :) Please let me or someone else who is a Christ Follower know if you have made that decision!

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