Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Last week I had an anniversary of sorts.

The summer of 1996 was a turning point in my life. I served on STAR Staff at Eagle Fern Camp, and for the first time began to love studying the Word, thus increasing my love for the Author. I committed to seeking him with my life. I was young, only 14, and I was immature--but I longed to grow. I remember that there was a particular moment the third week I was out there where I was cleaning a toilet (of all things!) and I wondered where I would be in ten years. I laughed to myself thinking, "Yeah right...as if in ten years I'll even remember thinking this!" Amazingly, because I thought I would forget--I never did. That was 10 years and 4ish days ago.

So...the question to ask is, what would that 14-year-old self think of me now? Would she be disappointed? Proud? Excited? Worried? My guess is that she would have mixed emotions.

She would probably be disappointed that she hadn't lost weight (isn't every year the year that's supposed to happen!). She would probably be disappointed by and worried about still being single, wondering what in the world is wrong with her. ;-)

She would probably be proud to have finished college--and utterly amazed at having a job as a FEMALE youth pastor at CASCADE (those of you who have known me long know what a miracle that is in and of itself). But I think she would have been excited about the prospect of doing ministry vocationally--being able to pour time into knowing, loving and encouraging youth. I think she would be surprised at feeling comfortable preaching to youth on a regular basis. She would be happy about being able to play the guitar--regardless of the skills I still feel I lack.

She would feel comforted to know that some close friends still remained, and saddened by the distancing of others that used to be close. She would be disappointed in the choices some friends had made in their lives, but be impressed by the responsibility and wisdom shown by others.

I think she would be encouraged by her spiritual growth--although she might be surprised that her future self often feels as immature and inadequate as she did at 14.

She would be pleased with her improved relationship with her parents and siblings. She would be delighted at the prospect of getting to go so many places and experience so many new things. She would be excited about future summers serving at EFC--especially those as a director. She would probably be proud of having written songs (despite their musically crude nature), and of experiencing the privilege of preaching the gospel to groups here and abroad.

She might be disappointed at never having written a book. She would be disappointed at the disproportionate number of people she has led to the Lord compared with those she has shared the gospel with. She would be disheartened to see some of the mistakes she has made, and by the sins she continues to struggle with. She would be frustrated at herself for allowing her fears to keep her from doing and experiencing things--and from taking advantage of dental coverage paid for by her parents! :-)

She would dread the difficult experiences to come: the falling apart of the youth group that was dear to her heart at 14, the struggles with anger and depression after a car accident, the stress of strange, international quasi-relationships, the the worry of losing the first job she enjoyed, the loss of a sense of security when her car is stolen and her apartment is broken into, and the helplessness of watching loved ones experience heart-wrenching loss.

But she would be comforted to know that through it all, her Savior has proved faithful as her Protector, Provider, Comforter, Sustainer, Friend and Father. And that although, she will have experienced times of spiritual drought, she would also fall more in love with him in times of spiritual rejuvenation. She would be happy to know that not only is he all that matters, but that he is enough to satisfy her. And that on the nights that she feels lonely and melancholy in the darkness, he will hold her while she cries and infuse her with hope and peace and strength.

So here I am. It's my ten-year anniversary of wondering what the next ten years would hold. There are so many things that have changed, but also some that have remained the same. I am so thankful that God is faithful to complete the good work he starts in each one of us. I'm not complete yet, but I am ten years closer. And I guess that's a good place to be. I'm also thankful for for the peace I have. I'm confident that right now I'm exactly where God wants me to be. And I'm excited to see what the next ten years might bring!