I recently read and article by a 40 year old written to her 20 year old self. It reminded me of this article I wrote in my mid sixties. I’ve updated it now that I’m 72. It would have been nice if I could have told my younger self to learn all of those lessons well. They were foundational to what God has done with my life since then.
1. I graduated from my three year diploma nursing program, but couldn’t finish my degree.
2. I only attended half a year of Bible School.
3. I just managed to get married before my mythical expiry date of 23 years.
4. I only worked in neurosurgery at Mayo Clinic for 6 months.
5. I miscarried my first baby.
6. We spent 14 months learning we were not cut out to pioneer a church.
7. I went back to working in newborn nursery and was there while it turned into a NICU.
8. My first son was born and I learned how much I still didn’t know about babies.
9. We pioneered another church. (We weren’t slow learners, we just had so much more to learn.)
10. Our second son was born shortly before I turned 30.
Now at 72
This is what happened with each of those early steps.
1. A degree in nursing was not going to be important to where I was going.
2. That half year of Bible School began my lifelong love of Bible study. It was a great foundation.
3. After almost 50 years of loving, learning, and companionship, the date we married really was not important.
4. Neurosurgery was not my life’s calling and I’m glad.
5. Though I lost that baby, God has given me so many sons and daughters over the years.
6. That first church pioneering experience was our first classroom in the real world.
7. My NICU work was the end of my career as a nurse, but then I began using my medical knowledge for my family’s health and helping my friends. Because of that background many trust me with their personal concerns.
8. Our first son married and gave us two wonderful grandchildren. He is a very involved dad and valuable employee.
9. In the last church we built strong foundations and learned lessons we still teach today. This church launched us into our almost 40 years in the nations.
10. Our second son is well respected in his field for his knowledge and skills.
I had no idea in my twenties where I would go, what I would love to do, or how important those trials and failures would be to me and all those I’ve shared with over these last 50 years.
Life will not be as you imagine it. There will be surprises, a few bad ones, but mostly good. Live life to the full. Pay attention and learn from your experiences. You will have plenty of opportunities to use what you know with people God sends your way.
Our twenties really are just a starting point, not the destination! Actually, we can say that about each decade. Each one builds on the last, so build well!