Recently my daughter turned 21 and she asked the guests at her party to write her a note sharing ‘what they wished they knew at 21’ and because she had young guests as well she asked them to share ‘what they hope to remember when they turn 21’.  I’ve been meaning to put pen to paper for her so now is as good a time as any!

When I was 21 I wish I knew the hurts would heal, I would grow, and life would be good.

When I was 21 I thought my life was all mapped out.  I was in a relationship we thought was heading towards marriage and yet it didn’t.  I remember that day as one of the most painful days of my life.  My heart cried out ‘why!’  I didn’t know why, I didn’t understand why.

My parents comforted me, and helped me hold everything together – and they insisted that I go to church.  If I remember correctly that was as much about putting on a brave face, showing the world I was okay than about hearing from God – or at least that is the reason that my heart grabbed in the midst of pain.  But God is bigger than our motivations.  God spoke to me that day.

The preacher told as story of a man on a cliff painting a picture.  He sat their painting all day, carefully filling in the details, carefully getting the shading just right.  At the end of the day he stood up, pleased with his efforts.  He stepped back to admire and out of no-where came a big splotch of mud – splat in the middle of his canvas!  As he gasped he lept forward in vain to save his canvas.  He looked up at the sky and clenched his fist and yelled – Why did you do that?  And God replied – Look behind you, I just saved your life.  Sure enough the man looked behind him, and in his enthusiasm to step back and admire his work he nearly stepped off a cliff.  The mud flung at his painting had saved his life.

A word indeed for my hurting heart.

I wish I knew the hurts would heal, I would grow, and life would be good.

I did grow and life became good.

Of course there have been many other hurts in my life – and I remember this story nearly every time.  Sometimes God does fling mud on what we are gazing at to get our attention because He has our best interests at heart.

 

What advice would you share with my daughter?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

 

My daughter asked me what I wish I knew at 21 - I wish I knew that mud gets flung.

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