“Never forget what Jesus did for you. Never take lightly what it cost Him. And never assume that if it cost Him His very life, that it won't also cost you yours.”
~Rich Mullins

Sep 5, 2013

Seven Years of Change

It has finally come. I've been thinking about tonight quite a lot over the past couple of months. Tonight marks a turning point for me, a loss of something I will never get back.

Tonight is my last night as a teenager.

And while that is so exciting and I look eagerly forward to what God will do with me in these next few years, I can't help but say good-bye to these past seven years with a twinge of sadness.

I remember so clearly the day I turned 13....we spent it at the newly opened Cabela's that was just twenty minutes from our house. Everyone who called to wish me a happy birthday inevitably asked, "Sooo...how does it feel to be a teenager?" And I inevitably answered, "No different than it felt to be twelve!" But I lied. It felt different....just a teeny, weeny little bit more grown up.

Looking back, I was so naive. Over the past seven years, God has changed me in ways that I wouldn't trade for anything. And I have also changed in areas that I wish with all my heart I could go back and undo.

(at thirteen and twenty) :) :)

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At thirteen, I had little to no idea of what responsibility was.
Now at twenty, there are times I feel overwhelmed with the responsibilities of life.

At thirteen, Mom told me, "guard your heart!", and I thought, "Wow, I must be a really good girl...this is easy!"
Now at twenty, boys suddenly don't have cooties and guarding my heart is a whole lot harder than I realized.

At thirteen, I had this vague, never admitted idea that because I was homeschooled, my parents were Christians, and I had said "the prayer", I was going to heaven.
Not at twenty, I realize that my faith has to be oh-so-much my own. That nothing anyone else did or is doing can earn me points with God. And for that matter, nothing I can do will earn me those points either.

At thirteen, I was so innocent...so trusting and willing to believe.
Now at twenty, I question. I doubt. I've been hurt, built walls, and find trust hard to come by.

**               **                  **

I've learned that you can do almost anything in life with God and hard work. Naturally, I don't have talent. Period.
People hear me play the piano and say how it must be so nice to have musical ability...and I laugh. Me? Musical ability? Oh honey, you haven't seen the tears, and the pain, and the years and years of hard work and playing the same five notes over and over again.
I post my photography on Facebook and people say how wonderful my work is and how blessed I am to have such an eye. What eye? I'm only showing you the top 10 of the thousands and thousands of pictures I've taken. You haven't heard the critiques and the "don't show that to anyone else" that my dear family and friends have used to train me. You haven't witnessed the excitement of running out to get the one shot I've been dreaming of for months.....only to not be able to get it.
All that to say that my mom has always stressed that the most important thing to learn is how to learn. If you can research and practice and be disciplined, talent isn't that important. Oh, it's nice and wonderful to have talent, I bet.....but not necessary.

I've learned how important it is to enjoy people! A problem I have is that I tend to be slow to trust and open up, and as such, I have few close friends. Another thing my mom says is that, "The most important thing in your life is your relationship to God. The second most important thing is your relationships with other people." Not until close friends have left have I started to realize the extreme value of fellow believers. Don't put off a friendship...dive in headfirst, allow yourself to be vulnerable, and don't build walls when you get hurt. Cause people leave, and you miss them, and have regrets...about things you could have done differently.

I've learned that life doesn't work like books and movies. This has been a huge lesson for me. I tend to have gargantuan hopes and expectations, and when real life doesn't meet up with my idealistic mental world, I despair.
The friend got cancer.....
The baby horse didn't live....
The questions come....
The hero doesn't ride in.....
And God is still good and in control.
Just yesterday morning, our vet (who also happens to be a very special man and a strong believer) told me a story that will stick with me a while.
"Many years ago, we and another couple were starting a home church. This other couple was very dear to us and extremely vital in the progress of what we believed was God's will.
Then it happened. A drunk driver at a speed of 100 mph hit them as they were out driving one evening. He killed the wife and her father, and severely injured the husband.
Over the next couple of weeks, I wrestled in agony with the question, 'Is God still good?' I just didn't understand how this could have been part of the plan. Then one morning, I went in to work at the zoo. As I walked back to the aviaries, I noticed a strange thing. All the Wood Ducks were standing in a perfectly straight row, with their heads tilted at a funny angle - right eyes on the ground, left eyes turned up towards the sky. I asked the lady who worked back there, 'Is this normal behavior for them?' Immediately, she replied, "Oh, there must be a hawk around." I looked up, and sure enough, above the mesh netting of their enclosure, a hawk soared.
As I left the ducks and went on to the rest of my day, I glanced back one more time. There they were...still all standing in that funny position. And I thought to myself, 'You stupid ducks....can't you see there's a net between you and that hawk?'
And it hit me. That's what I was doing. I was acting just like those ducks....looking and only seeing the bad, the scary, the evil horrible part that loomed over me, flying low, casting a shadow over my entire life. But in between me and the evil - there's God.
He's saying, 'Can't you see? I've got you covered. The evil can't get to you no matter how hard it tries because my love covers you, protects you, and surrounds you. You can trust and rest because you're beneath the net of my love and power.'"

I've learned that life goes by so fast. One moment I'm looking forward to something that seems it will never come....and the next moment, it's just a memory. And because of this, I have to love life right where I am, as imperfect as it may seem. It's more than contentment, it's finding joy in the little things of life and always having your eyes open to what God is trying to show you. Even if it's a line of Wood Ducks.

I've learned that I put far, far too much thought into and too high a priority on getting married. Often, I feel like the Prince in that wonderful silly movie "Ever After" when he says,

"Do you really think there is only one perfect mate? And how can you be certain to find them? And if you do find them, are they really the one for you or do you only think they are? And what happens if the person you're supposed to be with never appears, or, or they do, but you're too distracted to notice?
"Let's say...God...puts two people on Earth and they are lucky enough to find one another. But.....one of them gets hit by lightning. Well then what? Is that it?
"Or, perchance, you meet someone new and marry all over again. Is that the one you're supposed to be with or was it the first? And if so, when the two of them were walking side by side were they both the one for you and you just happened to meet the first one first...or...was the second one supposed to be first?
"And is everything just chance or are some things meant to be?"
Lisa, Lisa, Lisa...cant' I just slow down and leave things in God's hands...instead of trying to handle situations on my own?

Which leads me to the next thing I've learned.....stay out of God's way! He knows what is best in such an infinitely greater way than I do; how can I ever have the audacity to think that He's wrong? Trust. Faith. That's what it comes down to. The questions will come, and the world won't make sense, but for heaven's sake, don't think you're the one to fix it!

And while I can speak eloquently about all these wonderful things I've learned, it's rare that I remember to put them all into practice. So I really hope this doesn't sound like I've got it all figured out....cause I'm a far cry from there.

**               **                  **

I wonder - where will I be in the next seven years? What will I have to show? Will my words, actions, and thoughts have brought glory to God...or will they be wasted?

I'll end with some of the Scriptures that have come to mean so much to me....

"being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;" Phil. 1:6

"And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Deut. 31:8

"And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:19

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matt. 6:33-34


  1. Well Sis, it may be a bit early, but a happy birthday is due. :)
    Keep following God - that's all I got to say worth listening too. :)
    Happy Birthday. :)

    1. Thanks, big brother :) And following God...that encompasses just about everything one could or should say.

  2. Happy birthday! I really enjoyed this post. :) Trusting God is something I struggle with, too, because it's so easy to forget He's there and in control. But it's good to remember that He has a Plan and that He will guide us where and when He wants us to go. :) Have a good birthday!

    1. Thank you for the birthday wishes and I'm glad it blessed you!!! I don't know how I would make it through if I didn't know He had it all under control!

  3. Beautifully done, well said, and You are special because God said! I am so thankful that you are my sister in Christ and I look forward to what God will do in your life in the next seven years :))) Lord willing. We never know how much time we have but you are learning to live by faith, step by step, moment by moment, in God's grace. I know it is not easy, but that is why we need a Savior! We were never able to do it on our own. However, Life with Christ is an A M A Z I N G journey! Enjoy and keep looking to the one that loves you with an everlasting love, for His grace is sufficient! Have an awesome day....welcome to "adulthood"! so to speak, although I think you have been moving that way and maturing before now :))) Much love, Mrs. G.

    1. You are so right.....thank you for all your encouragement and love!!

  4. Wow Lisa! Thank you so much for taking the time to write this post! You've given me so much to think about and chew on. Life is so short! I can't believe how fast time flies! We have so little time to glorify God here on earth, and we often get caught up in the small, insignificant things of this world. We need to redeem the time!

    I want you to know that your life is a huge blessing to me. I've known you for about seven years. :) I see you growing, striving, learning, pressing on and following Him. You've taught me so much. You are an encouragement to me in so many ways! I am very thankful to have you as a friend. I hope you have a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Love you!

    1. Emily, YOU are such a blessing to ME! Thank you for always being so willing to chat. Blessed by you in so many ways ;)

  5. Sliding in at the last minute to say Happy Birthday! :) Welcome to the 20's club.

  6. Happy birthday, dearest Lisa!! Thankyou so much for this post, it SO encouraged me. Honestly, I could've written all of it, even down to "Ever After" quote!!! I feel like that quote too often to admit. :P You are an incredible young warrioress of God, Lisa. I can see Him working in and through you in such mighty ways. Keep chasing after His heels, and following His footsteps, allowing Him to continue recreating you into the perfect Lisa you will one day be. Love you so much girl! And I hope you had/have a fantabulous day!!! xo Heb. 12.

    1. Thank you so much for all your encouragement, my awesome friend! So grateful for and blessed by you!!!