I had coffee Wednesday morning with the hope God promises in Jeremiah 29:11. Her name is Alexis and I’m so privileged to share a tiny part of her story. I love watching our Father work in her life, and I’m blessed by how she responds to His hand.
We talked about the trip she took to California right before Christmas. She and her friend Brook had decided to share a grand adventure for their birthdays, only a few days apart. Brook dreamed of spending hers in a cabin in the mountains. Alexis’s choice was a ride on the Santa Monica Ferris Wheel and then a long walk along the beach. Both dreams were realized in wonderful ways, with stops along the way to hike the “easy” trail where their cabin was located—harder than anything they could have imagined—and an exhausting drive to watch the sunrise over Grand Canyon; but they did it and both views, she says, made it all worthwhile! The fact that she would choose to drive across country at all was amazing, since only last summer she’d been nearly killed by a deer that hit her car—and then her. The recovery was long and difficult but she never turned loose of her conviction that her Father was there in the middle of it all. She is, however, learning to turn loose of the guilt and condemnation Satan whispers into her ear each day. It’s so hard for some of us to accept we can’t be perfect…
Wednesday was a great day of just kicking back and socializing. After all, I’d earned it! I’d spent Tuesday finally taking down my Christmas decorations. Ugh! Lunch with my friend Nancy was too rare a treat. She’s the kind of friend you could call in the middle of the night and know she’d gladly spend whatever time was needed to pray. We truly have been the best of friends for years. She’s my encourager and accountability partner and we’ve been through a lot together… still work together on projects… but too seldom just sit down and talk.
Then after lunch, home for a short nap—a-h-h-h—before coffee with the future that’s the second half of God’s promise in my life verse. Mary is a high school senior, waiting to hear she’s been accepted at the college of her dreams. It’s looking promising. I honestly don’t think they could make a better choice. This child of privilege is one of the most conscientious, hardest working people I know. Who wouldn’t want a student who, as a high school junior, earned a six-week internship in government studies at the College of William and Mary! But, she says, if it isn’t where God wants her, she’ll try her best not to be too disappointed.
We got acquainted with Mary through her sister Anna, now a nursing student, who came to our house one winter as a high school sophomore to wash our windows. She was working to pay for her first mission trip to Mexico. She soon had our windows sparkling and we had to literally make her come in out of the cold, she was so determined to get it all done. I can still see those poor little cold-reddened fingers. We fell in love with her right then and there and feel more blessed than we ever should be when they claim us as their “other grandparents.”
Mary promises to let me know as soon as she hears, and as I drive home I pray for other young friends who bless my life: Cassidy, Alexis’s sister, a student at Ozark who’s planning a life of ministry and training to volunteer at Choices Medical Clinic; Breonna, who’s now a nursing student at ORU; Heather, who’s pouring her life into homeschooling her two girls and teaching them to love the Lord and learning as she does; Lexus, who loves her family so much and is keeping her promise to finish high school well and make good choices for her future.
But here’s the promise that excites me. These young women truly are the hope of our future. Though Lexus is still learning that God really does have a plan for her, her instincts are to serve; and every single one is so mission-minded it takes my breath away. It humbles me to remember that while young people my age were taught all the do’s and don’ts of “Christianity” and had fun singing “there’s a fountain flowing deep and wide,” I’m afraid the scope of our vision—at least most of us—was to be faithful at church and youth group and quarterly youth rallies and listen patiently to missionaries who occasionally came to report on work that somehow seemed really foreign, these women are living out His plan in its fullest.
Alexis confided the week before they left that their greatest prayer was that God would bring at least one person every day they could tell about Jesus. Of course, God is ever faithful to answer prayers that honor His heart and their stories of servers and Spirit Wolf the Forest Ranger and walkers along the beach would fill at least a couple more posts.
Cassidy’s pilgrimage to Israel last year was deeper and wider spiritually than all our praise choruses could ever describe and I can’t wait to see where God will take her when she graduates, though I’m praying selfishly… I really hope it won’t be too far away.
Breonna, who’s not even quite eighteen, and her younger siblings have made more than one trip every summer to serve inner city and street people in Chicago and Houston and other metropolitan centers, and last year she also served a six-month internship with Youth With a Mission in the poorest areas of Panama and other Central American countries.
Mary excitedly greeted me Wednesday morning with “I have all my money for my mission trip to Costa Rica!” (Where, by the way, our granddaughter-in-law Sasha’s parents also serve as missionaries.) She’s worked at several part-time jobs to get there, even though she studies hard and carries a heavy extra-curricular load, and I’m proud of her.
While Anna’s nursing career is at that all-consuming point in school and work now, her heart is ever with the women and children served by Bell Joy, the ministry with which she interned last year.
And though God has mercifully given me the privilege of taking His truth to the nations in Serbia and Eastern Europe and my heart will always be with my Serbian sisters and brothers, what brings me the greatest joy is the thought of daughter Kim and granddaughter Skye and her friend Anna serving the street people of Dallas through the Beautiful Feet Ministry a year ago.
And grandson Seth, before his med school days, spending several summers serving Rapha House and the children of Cambodia caught in sex slavery. And grandson Kyle lovingly confronting students on campuses around Colorado with the truth of God’s love for all children, born and unborn. And our son Steve, building churches and homes for the poorest along the border of Mexico. And daughter Kellee, now a nurse, who, even as a teenager managed to find and minister to those in medical distress.
So don’t believe all the doom and gloom you hear about Millennials and Gen-Xers and other younger generations. There will always be those who are led astray by their own great folly. (Proverbs 5:23), but God always has a remnant (Romans 11:5) and in this present day, they are on fire for Him.
“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” (Jeremiah 29:11-12)
Have His plans for you taken your breath away lately? Are you calling on Him… coming to Him… praying to Him? He’s listening.