My, my, my... that is certainly a different face than the reflection I'm looking at now. A few more wrinkles here, a bit more sag there, and some pounds that have built up on various body parts (sneaky weight!) - you certainly look a tad different. Yet you have the same twinkle in your eyes I sometimes catch when I am looking at myself in the mirror - that impish childlike delight that hasn't left since youth, that sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't force to grow up a bit more, that secretly I hope will never leave.
Look at that... it's still there!
I hope you, in the span of 20 years, will hold onto that childlike delight and faith, knowing that it's been put there as a jewel of beauty by God; that Jesus Christ has that self-same twinkle, which is why I hope you have grown to resemble Him so well.
I don't know what life will be like for you down the road, but I am getting more of a sense of how it is now. Some days, it seems the world is as it should be and all is right with creation. Other days, canons explode from all sides, and I wonder why God keeps us around on this earth at all. Those days of frustration, I'm coming to understand, are the days where His most profound lessons and deepest forms of presence are within me and within others and within creation. Hang on, girl. Hang on.
We are having this great week of discussion surrounding women's equality in the home, church and the world. I don't know if you, being me in 20 years, will be married with children, married and childless, divorced, single mom (sex or adoption), or still single. Right now, anything seems to be possible. I believe that a woman is fully equal with a man in function and role, if not in form. I mean, I'm not quite sure how I'd react the day I wake up to find a penis dangling between my legs. Should that ever happen, I'll let you handle that one! ;)
Yet more than women's equality, social issues concerning women of today, I have some hopes for you based on what I'm learning this week:
1) Everyone has a voice... be gentle in tone, firm in conviction, yet steeped in the desire to listen. For all the theology that is out there, the desire to listen to another's POV is one of the single greatest forms of grace you can ever offer, and one of the single most humbling gifts to ever receive
2) May your world be slave free. I am working and living towards this now, especially in light of most of known trafficking victims are female - both of legal age and still as children. While the broken pieces of slavery will take lifetimes to heal, may the practice of it be done with by the time you look into the mirror in 20 years
3) Choose love and forgiveness now, before crap hits the fan. If you choose these things instead of anger first, seeds of bitterness against those who would oppress your womanhood, your identity in Christ, your calling, or your marital status cannot take root. Choose it now, if you've neglected it. Prune it and nurture it if shalom has already taken root.
4) You are complete. Married or single, parent or childless, you are a complete and full person made in the image of the Almighty God. Times of loneliness come to everyone, and they are potent. Yet do not let these times lie to you by whispering it because you need a man to create a home. I pray that like single men would also believe that they do not need a woman to 'lead' in order for them to create a home. You are constantly in the presence of God - just you mind that!
5) You will have stumbled and fallen a good deal by this time, I imagine, if my life up to now is any indication. God's grace is there... you know what to do.
and last, but not least:
6) Never lose your love of Honey-Nut Cheerios or Ben&Jerry's Half-Baked Ice Cream... elevate hard conversations, never back away from them, do not fear them; but always have a way to celebrate them.
Eshet chayil, Erin!