Youth Restored

shutterstock_95623018(1)God speaks to us in a myriad of ways – you know…His word, blinding light, a donkey – and most recently in my life a beautiful seventeen year old girl bursting with energy and love.

You see I went on a women’s “retreat” for lack of a better word for 5 ½ days last week and throughout this whole week of undistracted time with the Lord, He really had an opportunity to talk to me about some things. I was obliged to listen.

This particular time with the Lord dealt with many deep seated hurts, longings, issues. In effect – a life changing experience. In an activity that we were asked to do, I used crafts to create something that I had not since I was in elementary school. I truly felt that it was a reminder of youth, fun, spontaneity. I had been accused of being too serious, too “deep” and told to lighten up more times than I care to admit. As a young teenage mother, I learned how to be practical. Now, don’t get me wrong, I knew how to party. There is a truly big difference in someone being light-hearted and fun-spirited and someone who can get drunk and think they are having a good time. Very, very different things. But I digress…

In the midst of my healing during this last week, a day was spent mourning my youth. Granted, I didn’t even know that I needed to mourn my lost youth. I was the kind of girl who just felt like you had to move on, what other choice do you have? God said otherwise. And into my life walked whom I now affectionately call my “little sister in Christ”. Bouncy and bubbly she showed me a reflection of a part of me that had been missing. Spontaneous fun, laughing, joking – no worries, no responsibilities. She showed me what it looked like to love the Lord unabashedly and without restraint. She showed me how exhilarating it could be to sneak out at midnight and scare the pants off of your sisters in the house down the road. (Haha!)

At the same time God did something for me that showed me how much He cares about the desires of my heart. A longing of mine had been to go to university to study – 1) because I love to learn and 2) because I truly longed for the experience to meet people and form relationships with people from other parts of the country. That is one thing I had always envied about people who went away to college, the lifelong relationships they made (and the friends to go visit on vacation!). Needless to say, on this retreat there were 27 women from 10 different states. I told the Lord that this was like college! And I clearly heard Him tell me that that was how much He loved me. I later found out that this was the first time there were that many women from that many different states at this event. Coincidence? I think not.

He forgives your sins—every one.
He heals your diseases—every one.
He redeems you from hell—saves your life!
He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.
He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal.
He renews your youth—you’re always young in his presence.
Psalm 103:3-5 (MSG)

God crowned me with love and mercy and He renewed my youth. If you see me singing at the top of my lungs in my car or dancing down the street, you should really come and join in. Life is more fun like this. 😉

Written by Jamie Stapleton

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