“If you could go back 20 years, what would you tell yourself?” That’s the question I was given. Well….hmmm. There is always the obvious, “You better learn to control what you eat now, because your metabolism is going to be basically non-existent when you reach 50”. Of course, “Spend as much time as possible with your kids because part of them won’t even live in the same state as you.”
I really had to ponder this and see what I could say that would help me. I thought of giving words of encouragement because I now have a better understanding of what a godly man I married. 20 years ago we would be coming up on our 12th anniversary and were heading into some pretty rough years for our marriage. I would want to tell myself to hang in there and be faithful and strong. Try to tell myself to work to see our marriage while walking in Wayne’s shoes and the responsibilities that he has. (Eph. 5:22-33) I would want
to tell myself to remember the truth of God’s word and stay steadfast. The whole “make wise choices” bit. Maybe even remind myself to “hold fast without wavering”. (Heb. 10:23)
I thought about my children and what could I tell myself that would help my children on their Christian journey. I would want to tell myself to study with them more, to make sure that they were developing their own faith. I would want to tell myself the perfect path to take with each child. I would want to try to do a better job of focusing on the individual personalities and needs of each child. (Prov. 22:6) I would want to warn myself of people and places to avoid where my children were concerned. Even though my family took “bad company corrupts good morals”, very seriously. (1 Cor. 15:33) I probably would tell myself which ones were going to be the most like me and need more “encouragement”.
But to be honest after I mulled this over and tried to come up with exactly what I would want to tell myself I realized that if I could go back 20 years I might just mess things up. I probably wouldn’t listen to myself anyway, I’m stubborn that way.
My marriage today is strong and such a blessing to my life. I cannot even put into words how much I love Wayne. “My beloved is mine and I am his.” (Song of Solomon 2:16) If I went back and tried to warn myself I might take a different path and the path we took is what brought us to this amazing place in our marriage. Why would I want to mess that up? We are now truly “one flesh” and it is
because we battled for our marriage. (Matt. 19:5-6; Eph. 5:31) It wasn’t just our sexual relationship that bound us together but we now think as one. We now understand that our marriage can be used to strengthen the kingdom, not just make us “happy” while we abide on this earth.
My babies, oh, my babies! I can’t help but think of Jesus as He looks down on Jerusalem and says, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.” (Matt. 23:37) As a Mother you want to protect your children from EVERYTHING, the “let me kiss it and make it better” attitude. But as our children turn into adults they take on the responsibility of their own choices, their own lives. So again, if I went back I’m afraid that I would just mess things up if I tried to save myself some grief. I can’t go back and undo anything and when I dwell on that, Satan gets in there and tries to get me with guilt and doubt about my parenting. Could I have done a better job? I suppose so. But I know that 20 years ago I really worked with my children and did all that I knew to teach them to have a relationship with God. Wayne and I worked very hard to teach them all along the way. (Deut. 6:4-9) To put the Lord and His people first. (Matt. 6:33)
So, if I could go back 20 years I would give myself a big hug and a box of tissues and I would tell myself, “Keep striving! Continue to put the Lord first and you will be blessed.” “For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.” (1 Tim. 4:10) Then I would sit and play with my babies for a while, probably a good, long while. Then I would come back to 2013 and count my many, many blessings and put my trust in God because I know that He is in control. I would pray like David and say, “But as for me, I trust in Thee, O Lord, I say, “Thou art my God. My times are in Thy hand.” (Psalm 31:14-15)