As featured in the latest edition of the Hope City Magazine, Jenny Gilpin writes from the heart to the generations.
I remember sitting down with my ageing mother not long before she attained her biggest promotion in life. She said to me that it was odd that even at 86, she never really felt older than 21. She said, ‘It’s as if my mind is still young but my body just won’t do as it’s told anymore’. I asked her if she had any regrets over the long life she had lived and she replied, ‘I just wished I’d not panicked so much!’ She told me that life was a gift given to us by God and it was a life that needed to be savoured. It was wisdom drawn out from so many beautiful as well as difficult years. This is some of my wisdom passed on to you.
I remember as a teenager I always used to be in a rush – a rush to cram everything in and get everything done and maybe a rush to quickly bypass that season of my life. I studied hard, was a house captain in High School, played hockey, did athletics and put the rest of my time into my walk with God. After my dad passed away when I was 16 years old, it was my time with God that rescued me from spiralling downwards. Teenage years are an amazing opportunity to discover ourselves as well as get to know God, free from the pressure of massive responsibilities. I remember some amazing moments in my mid-teens crying out to God in our weekly youth meetings when hundreds of young people would gather to see huge demonstrations of both healing and the really lost finding Jesus. They were life changing; I was being fashioned as a person in the presence of God.
I loved to run and loved competing in all kinds of athletic competitions, yet I always found myself completely consumed by one magnificent obsession – my pursuit of the presence of God. One thing my life lacked was what some call ‘balance’! Youth however is not really a season to embrace ‘balance’. It’s where the wild at heart become wild for God; extreme, dedicated and on the edge! There’s plenty of years ahead that will require a little bit more ‘balance’. Ecclesiastes tell us to ‘remember your creator in the days of your youth’. The seeds we sow in our young, zealous, energetic years will frame our entire lives. Never compromise your heart-felt standards and desires for the embrace of a handsome guy or a beautiful girl. That comfort is usually only temporary and heartbreaks use up a lot of valuable teen-time!
Perhaps one of the hardest stages of a person’s life can be the ‘I’m still single’ part of the journey. Having spoken to many amazing, beautiful, intelligent and forthright women who find themselves in this place, I think I’ve got one overriding truth for them – never let your concern for tomorrow override your enjoyment of today. Never forfeit your present while waiting for your future. This is the season to awake every morning and live this day powerfully and full of the Holy Spirit, whilst at the same time prophesying and speaking your future into your heart and soul.
In the wait, never lower your faith expectation for what your heart really, really desires.
God will fulfill the desires of all who delight in him. (Psalm 37:4) So stop sweating, worrying and being anxious about your future. God has it already in the bag. Start making the most of your everyday. Savour the season, don’t sweat it!
This season is like a rollercoaster ride we can’t seem to get off! But rollercoasters are exciting right? They take us to extremes of emotion but when we eventually step off we realise that it’s been the best experience ever. This season, as with your teenage years is to be savoured and enjoyed as much as you can because all too soon it’s just a memory! It is a season of fashioning and forging the most precious gifts we will ever be given. I don’t think there is a greater love and a more beautiful bond than the one that we have with our children. It’s time to recognize your value, your purpose and your amazing role in shaping brand new world changers. Through the busyness of raising only one child as well as pioneering a growing church from scratch, I’ll never forget when the Holy Spirit whispered to me, ‘ I love your son more than you do. I’m more committed to him than you are!’ It’s a word that has been imprinted on my heart ever since.
God knows your situation and your children’s vulnerabilities. Dave and I endeavoured to always let Ryan know his value to us even in the midst of our busy lives, but deep down we knew it was God’s commitment to our child that would see him through all of his challenges into all of the plans God had laid out for him. God loves your children more than you do. He’s their defender as well as their strength in times of weakness. Every child has an Achilles’ heel to remind them of their need for Him. As a parent, you can’t fix it but God can and he will, when you put your trust in him. And when you do, you can enjoy the season afresh!
DEAR EMPTY NESTER,
We all eventually find ourselves at that point in our lives when we look around and our homes are quiet once again. The children who you have lived and breathed for the past 20 years have flown from the nest and it’s so easy to feel redundant as if we’ve completely fulfilled our entire life purpose. I have learnt that our heavenly Father wants us to use this opportunity to relayer us with His presence and purpose one more time.
The Holy Spirit will come again to reward us with new faith, new passion and new, fresh purpose in life: remoulded, refashioned and back!
Very back for an incredible season of fathering and mothering that goes way beyond the borders of your house and home. It’s a season for reinvention. And this reinvention is even better than your last! God’s ways spiral upwards, not down. Enjoy the season!
Early on in the life of the church, two sisters came into our world called Siobhan and Colleen. They came from a disturbed background and their mum passed away during the course of time. Now that they’re both married with kids, I have the privilege of being an adopted Grandma! And I’ve taken it to heart! To sit back for a moment and see how God has used your hands and your energies to transform lives is one of the great delights in life. I now realise that we G-G’s (gorgeous grandmas) have a life full of wisdom and God moments that so need sharing. Our insecurities try to tell us that the younger generation don’t want to listen to us, but it’s not true – it’s time to tell the world all you know. The humble will gather!