What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Year of Lessons

Saturday I turned 28.

I have always been the youngest of the ladies around me. The youngest married. The youngest mother in the church. The youngest elders' wife. The youngest of my friends. But this year, in particular, I am noticing I no longer am. It is a really weird feeling to hear that someone is actually younger than I am, when for so long, I had to practically hide in shame of my age. I hated to tell people.

Now, I no longer am the youngest wife, mother or woman in church or in relationships and, while still YOUNG, I am no longer ashamed of being "too young" to be respected. People can respect me-or not. Some people will respect me because I act respectably and some people will not regardless of that fact. The truth of the matter is I can't MAKE people respect me which actually lifts a huge burden for me.

I have learned this and many other lessons this year. In honor of my 28th, here are 28 things I have learned.

#1) The person I am today is not who I am going to be tomorrow and that is one of the most exciting truths in life. I am not done. God is not finished with me. New mercies are fresh every morning.

#2) A woman doesn't have to wear feedsacks or be frumpy to be modest. Those who say so are not speaking out of modesty issues, but out of heart issues of their own. Nor does she have to wear dresses every.single.day to be feminine.

#3) Friends who always try and make you feel guilty about being who you are~ really are not friends at all.

#4) I can step in chicken poo while barefoot and not upchuck. REALLY!

#5) The most difficult things to do in life are usually the most worthwhile.

#6) Listening to debates, lectures and sermons while working is really refreshing and enlightening. I like when my mind and my hands work simultaneously.

#7) Husband kisses are well worth waiting for.

#8) Sometimes what you think are gifts are actually curses and those little things that you don't give second thought to, usually are the best gifts there are.

#9) If people gossip to you-they gossip ABOUT you.

#10) If women gossip, if women complain about their husbands, if women can't control their children, if women are never satisfied or joyful-avoid them. You will not help to raise them up, they will bring you down. Similarly:

#11) Sometimes you can have a bigger impact on someones' life by NOT talking or participating or even arguing for Truth. Sometimes, quietly DOING what is right when you think no one is watching will make a greater impact.

#12) A husband that defends you and stands by you is a treasure.

#13) I CAN teach a child to read. Who knew?

#14) Raw eggs in smoothies aren't that bad. In fact, you don't even know they are there!

#15) A faithful husband is not brought about by my own perfection, but by God's grace.

#16) When you are so mad you could spit fire, keep your mouth closed.

#17) Words are dangerous. Thinking before you speak is sometimes not good enough. Sometimes, you need to step away first. Sometimes you need a night to sleep on it to gain a new perspective. THEN think before you speak.

#18) I need to be creative. I need to sew. I need to write. I need to bake. I need to garden. I need to take photos. I become a sourpuss if I am away from handmade/ hand-making beauty for too long.

#19) Just BECAUSE I sew and I garden and I bake and you don't doesn't make me better than you. You have different talents than I do. Do not judge me or make me feel guilty for being who I am. Understand that your value is found in different areas.

#20) Happy wrinkles are beautiful.

#21) You can never please everyone. Ever. Try not to become consumed in being ACCEPTED by man. Think only of standing before God. Think only of how HE sees you. Strive for HIS delight and acceptance and don't worry about those people that are always causing problems in your life.

#22) The treasures worth storing up are those in the hearts and minds of your children.

#23) I am most beautiful when I see myself in my children.

#24) The best way to teach your children is to show them. Teach them to be creative by being creative yourself. Teach your children to love learning by seeking out knowledge. Teach your children respect by being respectful and patience by being patient.

#25) Joy is not something that you just FEEL, but something that you seek. Find joy in sparkling eyes, in a good meal, in butterfly powder left on your fingers, in the compliment of a child. Seek it, FIND it, and delight in it and you will find that it will consume your heart.

#26) The government does NOT have your best interests in mind. Don't trust them. Also-don't trust people just because they are well-meaning. Don't accept truths just because that is how you were raised or because it is easier than finding out for yourself. Always SEEK TRUTH. Don't just trust that things are as they ought to be.

#27) At 28 and after nearly 8 years of marriage, I want (and NEED) to be courted as much as I did when I was 19. Maybe more.

#28) Every moment can be wasted or used fruitfully. However it is played out, I am not the victim, but the choice-maker.

and one to grow on:

#29) My life is the most satisfying, heart-throbbingly wonderful vision I ever could have hoped for and I wouldn't change a thing about it.


Veronica @ A Quiet Heart said...

Happy Birthday!! :)

I have also been the youngest of the ladies around me in virtually ever situation I've ever been in...pretty much still am. :) I constantly go back to Paul's encouragement to Timothy that we are not to let anyone "despise" us because we are young, but that, instead we are to be an example...

I just love seeing your pictures with your children...it is so obvious that you find such joy in them - and with them. :)

And, I just have to add a hearty AMEN to each item on your list. :)

May the Lord continue to bless you in the year(s) to come!! :)

Bonnie said...

Yep, even though I was (just) 24 when I married, I was (and am still) the youngest in my set.( Especially when B. is 10 1/2 years older)
this is a fantastic list, and I wish I had thought of doing something like this when I turned 30. Maybe I will for 30 1/2.

LOVED all the pictures!

Bonnie said...

P.S. Happy Birthday again!

Elisabeth LaMouria said...

Wow, thank you and Happy Birthday! I feel just like you felt. I am the youngest AND with the most children, and since my husband is older than me, we have friends who are WAY older than me. I feel like I don't belong anywhere....and that's OK. Thank you for the 28 reminders, they are true for many and most of them were true for me. You are a very strong woman, but you sound like you know your place in the world. What a refreshing perspective. The photos were beautiful and your message powerful. Thank you!

Leah O'Connor said...

I love this post Rebecca. It makes me value you all the more (even though you are only 28...kidding). I know what you mean. I married into a family with sister in laws all older than me and now they are all my best friends, but it took a long time to find who I was in the family. I still am learning and I will be for the rest of my life - actually in every area. After reading your post I found many similarities between you and me actually. I was engaged at 19, married at 20, and had my fourth baby a month after I turned 28. I have 5 children now and I'm 34. I love my life. I love that God gave me such a wonderful husband, who I love far more than I did when I married him almost 14 years ago (and it's hard to beat how much I loved him then), and I thank God that he placed me in such a wonderful family. I love your blog. Thank you. (And yes I think smile wrinkles are beautiful too.)

Michael said...

Happy Birthday! You do have a beautiful family and we are very glad to know you. Have a Blessed day!

~ Mary ~

amy said...

Happy Birthday! I am 27, will be 28 in August. I have always been the youngest. Married at 19, baby at 20, pastor's wife at 24, all my friends always in their 30's. But finally I'm getting close! (I know, they're all older now too.) Oh well. I have always hated telling people my age because of how young I am.

Nicole said...

Thanks from another youngun! I was engaged at 20, married at just-barely-22, and had my first child at 23. I'm now 28 and have a 5-year-old, a 3-year-old, and a 1-year-old. Everyone assumes that I'm older, because it is very rare here on the East Coast to find someone as young as I am who is married and has three kids. I'm always the youngest, too...so thanks for the encouragement!

Rebekah said...

Happy birthday! This post was really an encouragement, I loved it. It's great to be the youngest in a way because it means you're actually ahead...right? ;) I never realized that you don't actually FEEL older when you grow up. I love your pictures by the way and I wish we lived closer because I'm sure we'd be good friends! :)

The "Z" family said...

Forgive me if I am envious that you realized at 28 so many things that it took me much, much longer to understand.

#21 is a biggie...and S-O-O-O-O important for your personal sanity and spiritual growth.

Love the last picture with you and the children at the bottom...you look radiantly beautiful!

Sending blessings your way,
Kris Zerby

momawake said...

Happy Birthday! Great post. It was very encouraging and convicting to me. Thanks.

Louise said...

Happy Birthday Rebecca!

I loved this post, so beautiful.

I am another one who can relate to being younger than everyone else and although now at 30 I am no longer the youngest I do have the most children out of nearly everyone I know!! So I am still the odd one out.

Pink Panda said...

Happy Birthday! You also BLOG- you should mention that and you touch my heart often with your combination of pictures and words. That's why I read your blog and I don't even know you. But I would love to get to know you more. :)

Full of Grace said...

Happy Belated dear sister :)

Leah T. said...

I hope you have a wonderful birthday! It sounds very much like you did!!! :) I loved reading through your list of lessons learned. Most of them are lessons I've learned as well.

It's funny I was 22 (almost 23) when I got engaged and barely 23 when I got married. We weren't blessed with children right away. I was 25 when our oldest was born. Now here I am at 33 just a few weeks away from welcoming baby #5 and I still feel so "immature". I am currently the youngest wife and mama at our church. (I was when living near you, too.) I remember when I was a teenager looking up to women who are my age. I think to myself "Am I really old enough for people to be 'looking up' to me?" and "Do I really have the ability to be the Titus 2/Proverbs 31 woman I always wanted to be?" I guess like Leah O. said I'm still me just in a 33 year old body. :) And I still have so far to go and so much to learn!

...they call me mommy... said...

Rebecca...AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!! What a great post! I love the lessons...they are so true!

Happiest birthday! :) My big 3-0 is this year! :)

Caroline said...

Happy Birthday Rebecca! I hope you had a great day. You are such a good example to me. You truly are inspiring. Miss you guys, and can't wait to see you at the party in June. Caroline