Advice To My Youngest On Turning 13

Dearest Cayley,

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I can never say I Love You enough nor will I stop 😉 It’s crazy you are now thirteen. What would I be doing once your sisters left home if you had not come along? How blessed I am to be given a second chance at mothering. In some ways I have grown and often times I feel green.  You are very unique and so different from your sisters.  A decade later I have found that technology has changed the parenting dilemma.  Regardless, I know God choose to bless us with you for such a time as this.  Together we sharpen one another. So I complied 10 thoughts I desire for you to remember as you continue your life journey.

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1) Never forget you are fearfully and wonderfully made, yes made in the imagine of Christ who delights over you as He is a masterful creator.   (Psalm 139:13-16Ephesians 2:10 ) Comparison is the joy killer of being content with your many beautiful features. Never allow the media or others to dictate what true beauty should look like.

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2) Love the Lord with all your heart and get into the habit of beginning your days by putting Him first. You will often feel that there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. Time is something we all treasure, something we wish we had more of, but it just seems to slip so quickly through our fingers. We think if only I had more time I would spend it praying or reading the Bible, helping people, or making a difference.  (Proverbs 16:3; Luke 4:42, Matthew 14:13)  The poem The Difference is a good reminder of keeping God first.

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3) Remember to love and listen to your sisters as they are two of the wisest women I know.  Support one another. Talk to one another regularly by being the initiator as you have more free time. Be there when they need you and they’ll be there for you. They really do love you that is why they both flew in to surprise you for your 13th birthday. Sisters are forever friends.P1050675

4) Be bold, take chances as those who don’t take chances don’t make advances. Dream big because you serve a BIG God. Strive to reach the full potential of your calling in life. (Jeremiah 29:11).   Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to everyone through your speech,  by the way you live your life, in your authentic love, your faith, and your purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)

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5) Continue to travel while you are young. We hope that through our various family excursions we have given you a love for adventure, exposed you to various cultures, taken you out of your comfort zone, and shown you how big and yet small the world is. May you bring the good news to those wherever you go in the future. Isaiah 52:7; Romans 10:15

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6) Enjoy life! Gather often with your friends, have fun, laugh a lot and enjoy the relationships God has given you. Also your best friends will be those who bring out the best in you. Never substitute face-to-face interaction with that of the internet or social media. According to a study, people are happier and laugh 50% more when talking face-to-face with friends or via webcam than when they use social networking sites.

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Cari, Cayley, & Laurena

7) Cherish your human connections with friends and mentors who invest deeply into your life and you will grow wiser and richer.  Appreciate and remember those who have poured richly into your life (your sisters, grandparents, teachers, Sarah T. Danielle A., Mrs. Moore, Mrs. Teresa, Ritz, Mrs. Cheryl D., Grandma Coleen). Allow them to speak truth into your life so you can learn something new. Proverbs 13:20

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8) We love you unconditionally, always, and forever. No one will ever love you like your dad and I love you.

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9) Be humble, teachable, and enjoy the learning process. Be a lover of learning as you gain the education needed to carry out the tasks for which God has designed you.  (Proverbs 9:9; 12:15; 11:14; 19:20-21; 15:22; Psalm 1:1-5).

Some of my greatest lessons have been learned through the pages of books. I have gained incredible insight, knowledge, and experience of various authors.  Reading exposes you to a world of imagination, showing you nothing is impossible.

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” Charles William Eliot

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10) Smile a lot and keep singing God’s praises. A smile draws others to you. The joy and love of the Lord are yours – so smile! Aim for joy found when putting Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last which creates true JOY. Being happy and enthusiastic is always a good choice and the joy of the Lord is your strength.   (Psalm 28:7; Nehemiah 8:10)

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In conclusion, do all things with Love. Love is so important to God that is is mentioned hundreds of times in the Bible. Love is referred to as the greatest commandment of all. Christ is love. John 13: 34-35 As we learn to love God’s way we provide the world with a tangible picture of Christ to the world.

I look forward to finishing the book Love As A Way of Life by Dr. Gary Chapman who writes, “Love is an attitude, that says, “I choose to focus my life on helping others.”  I appreciate those who use the following seven characteristics to define a loving person providing so much room to grow:

  • Kindness: Discovering the Joy of Helping Others
  • Patience: Accepting the Imperfections of Others
  • Forgiveness: Finding Freedom from the Grip of Anger. Life’s way too short to constantly be mad at someone.
  • Courtesy: Treating Others as Friends
  • Humility: Stepping Down So Someone Else Can Step Up
  • Generosity: Giving Yourself to Others
  • Honesty: Revealing Who You Really Are

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Pain Is Inevitable, but Misery is Optional…

“Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional. We cannot avoid pain, but we can avoid joy.” Tim Hassel

Currently my Energizer Bunny pace has greatly decreased as a result of chronic back pain and an unexpected foot surgery which has me using crutches and an air cast boot for about four weeks.

I am choosing to view this down time as an opportunity to rest, read, and refocus my life direction.  I jokingly have called this season my “half a century tune up,” as I turn fifty in May.  It’s my desire to get my body in better shape so I can be more productive for God’s kingdom work in the years ahead.

James 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

Did you noticed that James used the word “when” and not “if” in regards to trails we will encounter?  Yet so often I am surprised when difficulties come my way.  Honestly my first response to trials is usually not joy but I have learned to look for the joy amidst hard times.

A few things I’m choosing to be joyful for include: God’s word, the availability of my in-laws during this time of need, Cayley’s servants heart, Jon being in town, how quickly I am recovering, the wisdom of my health care providers, health insurance, handicap tags 🙂 , friends, music which eased my pain, etc…

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Tim Hassel said, “Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional. We cannot avoid pain, but we can avoid joy.” In this life it’s a guarantee we will encounter trials whether relationally, financially, physically, mentally, etc..  but how are we, as believers, to handle these trials?  When we respond with joy verses “poor me,” it will cause an unbelieving world to take notice.

I appreciated the wise words of Andrew Murray, who suffered from a terribly painful back injury. I find comfort from the below story.

One morning while he was eating breakfast in his room, his hostess told him of a woman downstairs who was in great trouble and wanted to know if he had any advice for her. Murray handed her a paper he had been writing on and said, “Just give her this advice I’m writing down for myself. It may be that she’ll find it helpful.”

This is what he had written:

“In time of trouble, say,

‘First, He brought me here. It is by His will I am in this strait place; in that I will rest.’

Next, ‘He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace in this trial to behave as His child.’

Then say, ‘He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow.’

And last, say, ‘In His good time He can bring me out again. How and when, He knows.’

Therefore, say ‘I am here (1) by God’s appointment, (2) in His keeping, (3) under His training, (4) for His time.”

How are you responding to the trials in your life this week? Do you find joy in your current trial or are you resentful and angry?  What lessons are you learning or have you learned?  Praying that you choose to find the joy verses misery. Blessings.