“I never want to lose the story-loving child within me, or the adolescent, or the young woman, or the middle-aged one, because all together they help me to be fully alive on this journey, and show me that I must be willing to go where it takes me, even through the valley of the shadow.” Madeline L’Engle
When you look into your past, what is your first reaction? Do you smile or do you cringe? If I’m honest, I’ll confess that I often cringe. I have so many embarrassing stories I could tell… especially about the times I shared my testimony in public when I was just a teenager. I often think, If only I hadn’t said that! If only I knew then what I know now… If only…
“If only” is an unfortunate phrase because it speaks of regret. The only regrets we should have about our youth are our sins against God or others. We shouldn’t feel regret over immaturity… growth and change are a part of life.
I don’t know what stories you have in your past that you wish you could erase… maybe you have none. But the fact is this: the whole journey counts. All of it. The parts that make us proud and the parts that make us cringe. The parts the world sees and the parts only God sees.
God is not looking for people who have it all together, he is looking for people whose hearts are his… people who are willing to lay it all on the line. People who are willing to be used in spite of themselves. Basically, he’s looking for people who are willing to make their journey, blunders and all, an offering of love to him.
I wrote everything above before I read the headlines today . . . Billy Graham is with the Lord. Talk about someone whose life was an offering of love! I’m sure after 7 (8?) decades of ministry he had many stories to tell. I’m sure there were things he learned by age 99 that he wished he knew at 19. Perhaps he even made a few blunders here and there. But what does it matter? He was faithful… and more importantly, God was faithful.
Let’s embrace every season of our journey; let’s rejoice that God has chosen to capture our hearts and to use us in spite of our shortcomings….
God is not afraid of our imperfections. He is not limited by our limitations.
Let’s be “fully alive.”
We are who we are because of what he has done in us along the way.