Just a few short months after my college graduation I found myself eating fish soup in a pristine cafeteria in Finland. I was attending a briefing conference that marked the beginning of my year of ministry in Tallinn, Estonia. Just before the soup I heard Cas Monaco give a talk on how she handled her first year living in Russia. She called it, “My Regression in the Christian Life.” It was honest, compelling, and in the years since then I am still encouraged by what she taught me that day. At that time I would have never imagined that I would have the privilege of serving on a team with Cas. She has become a dear friend, she is an amazingly gifted leader, and I am still learning so much from her!
I hope you enjoy this guest post from my dear friend, Cas Monaco. I encourage you to go and read more at her blog:http://thruadirtywindow.wordpress.com/
“First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage.” I skipped many a rope to this little ditty when I was a child. Growing up always held such allure, didn’t it? How were we know that between the slaps of the rope and the words of the rhyme, the gritty, grimy, grisly stuff of LIFE happens? We had to learn the hard way that love never comes without heartache, marriage and the baby in the carriage isn’t always God’s plan for every little girl skipping rope, and that it’s part of “little-girl DNA” to dream.
On a different note, I’ve been wondering if there’s a little jump-rope ditty projecting the future beyond first love and babies? “First comes a hot-flash, then comes a memory slide, then your husband’s lovely hair falls off.” I kind of thought that by middle age I’d be much wiser, more beautiful, and far more confident. Instead, I work hard to keep age at bay. Rather than finally acquiring the ever-allusive beauty, I have to work really hard at covering up the ripple effect of time spent in the sun and the grey that grows in my eyebrows. I’m not more confident, really I’m not. I have to watch my step a lot more closely (I’m quite confident I cannot jump rope) and I am every aware that I must watch my tongue with a greater vigilance. I’ve come to discover how much I don’t know – and will never know.
I’m aware of an intense amount of change swirling around me – the world isn’t the same today as it was a week ago. I’m burdened for the next generation of believers coming up in a world that demands so much more and gives back so much less. I’m still quite motivated to cheer them on and train them up and run the distance. The gospel is far more important than I ever realized.
The most surprising part of aging is the sense I have of God’s presence all throughout my day. He was with me today as I scored a pretty winter white sweater at The Loft for $4.88, and at Old Navy where I bought Bob a rockin’ pair of skinny jeans for $19.00. As a young believer I often prayed I could remember He was with me all of the time. I now know it takes time and practice.
With maturity comes freedom to admit my brokenness both outside and in; freedom to know I can’t do everything, and only a few things can I do well. And, I can honestly say, I look forward with a different sense of urgency, and faith, for His return.
As a freckle-faced little girl, jumping rope and chasing boys, I had a totally different dream for my life. I’m so glad it didn’t come true. God’s plan is far better. As a wrinkling, greying, slowing, middle aged woman in a postmodern world, I don’t lose heart, and neither must you, “Though our outer woman is decaying, our inner woman is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction, is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”