Ages 5-20 You find yourself hiding the craving for affirmation, a deep rooted need really, to feel some kind of validation. Ones that never came. Lurking its place were words that left marks worse than hand prints on growing skin. You hungered for words like, you are enough, you are smart no matter how hard you struggled trying to concentrate when life was, how do I say it, broken? Gosh, they were doing their best. You were too. Verdict: Try harder, please everyone, and smile or something, maybe just try to look cute doing it. Cry and then find a reason to smile about anything, or maybe hide it altogether, only crybabies let people see that hot-mess. Hide it all while telling Jesus everything, fall in love with him, he will be the only constant. Become a student of the word, not the world. I promise, God will use it.
Ages 20-25 Oh sweet Jesus, you are all over the map emotionally. Your life is good, mostly. Marriage is freaking hard and so is ministry, but hey, try to do it all because you are supposed to. You are a pastor’s wife and a Children’s pastor who has to work full-time. Get your crap together. Do it all and make yourself incredibly sick and tired, miscarry a few times. Feel like you’ve done something wrong, it’s supposed to be easy, right? Wrestle with depression, wrestle with validation from everyone you are working so hard for, find yourself empty when validation looks like a blank stare sometimes. Run from the crazy, stop creating it. Just stop it. You know where your worth comes from. You know that long love affair with Jesus that you’ve had since you were little? Where’s that girl? Find her. Find the one who is fun with crazy, deep faith. Go find her, she’s been MIA.
Ages 26-30 You have no position really, no big title like you thought you would have, but you gave birth to purpose. Four of them really, two girls, a marriage worth fighting for, and you. You cradle your miracles and kiss their beautiful faces and for the first time everything makes sense. Those pressures? You call them out one-by-one and reject them and replace them with the Word and truth. Those unspoken, man-made rules– you reject those as well to find yourself centered at home like a joyful mother of children, settled in your skin and your evolving calling. And you like you, you really do. You like this woman you are becoming. She’s still a mess, but her mess actually matters this time. You will merge the graceful pieces of you with the awkward, and you will laugh at it. Be your own sitcom. Keep going.
Age 30-35 The dreams come again, the ones you chased wildly hoping to become something more than what you knew when you were ages 5-20. You rock your little growing world to sleep, your hair is messy and so is your house, but you’ve rediscovered the art of play and wonder from those miniature versions of you and God whispers, “You finally get it now, you finally get it. You found me out of the spotlight so I could shine on your character instead of the highlight reel of upfront ministry. Teach your daughters to dream by actually doing those things I’ve hidden in your heart. Enough talking, lets try some action behind those words lest they become empty.”
You can’t teach the things you are scared to do without the gift of try.
Be scared trying. This world says “be independent” but that’s messed up. You are supposed to be dependent on God. He created you to need others, you stink at that. Learn to need people again. There’s a huge difference between togetherness and neediness. Your vision is much bigger than yourself. Those people you are drawn to will be a part of that mission blazing wild for broken girls.
Till there’s no more broken, trapped girls. Keep going.
Come out from the shadows, you’ve learned so much there. Here’s some pages, fill them. Stop asking, “With what?” Just fill them without rules and restrictions because for the first time your heart is the furthest thing from restricted, girl, it’s all the way free.
Age 35-39 It all fits doesn’t it? Your changing skin. You cover up the gray that frames the face that God made and uncover your heart, wide-open to let everyone in. The validation, that tricky little thing you used to crave, it has now been replaced with words of affirmation that you rain down on people while learning how to talk a little nicer to yourself because after all, you are a woman of God in that blessed place where your calling is constantly taking on different shapes and you’re good with that because you know God has you.
40? You’re almost there, it’s just getting really good now and really hard at the same time. You could care less about a title or position because you are brave enough to make your own. Comparison isn’t your thing anymore. Grace is. Keep finding that girl, the silly one, the deep one who wants to drink it all in and think about it slowly, the afraid one, the jacked up one…and share her with whoever God asks you to and live life like you’re passing out gifts everyday– all of them. The big ones and the small ones, but treasure those unnoticeable ones unseen by others, and the wrestling ones because those are the things that made you someone I really like.
Linking up with my dear friend, Suzie Eller to chat about validation.
It’s been a wild ride, you too? I love doing life with you so much.