When I was 21, I had a little baby boy on my hip and friends who didn’t live in my city. I never celebrated my 21st birthday like everyone else; I was happy and doe-eyed in love with my husband and baby daddy, and I thought that was enough.
In the years up until that point, I was always at church or working and serving in ministry. I loved people. I loved serving with other people. But, then I had a baby boy, and I cut ties with commitments, serving, and letting other people pour into me.
Fast forward to yesterday. Yesterday I was driving home at 9:30 PM after a full day of walking alongside some amazing people, and I couldn’t even get the words of thanks to come out of my mouth. I drove with tears in my eyes. I kept laughing, because for the first time in a long time, I felt like I was standing on top of the mountain, feeling that mountaintop breeze after enduring valleys and hills.
The year after my third son was born, I walked out in faith. It had been a few years since I connected with others beyond the forced, “Hi! How are you? I’m great!” I decided to live in a fullness I thought I couldn’t inhabit, because for once, I believed in what God had said about me.
I always knew that I lived within the parameters of Christ’s love, but I never really knew what that meant. I thought it only meant that I was forgiven, even when I repeatedly messed up. I didn’t know that I meant I could live differently.
I still remember the day I felt compelled to talk to a woman I didn’t know, and how I never reached out to her. I gave God some serious side-eye, because who was I to do something uncomfortable like that? I wasn’t anyone special. I didn’t have all the answers to what it means to be a woman of God.
I forgot that I was living in Christ’s fullness. I thought women who walked in a way I admired had something I didn’t, but I realize now that those women are just like me. They have different talents, sure, but I live in the same fullness, the same forgiveness and redemption.
I wish 21-year-old me knew that.
So, I’m telling you, in case you need the reminder I didn’t have.
Christ makes us different. He allows us to live different, better. He saves us from our mistakes and downfalls, and He does one better: Christ allows us to connect with others we feel scared to talk to. He allows us to do impossible things because there is nothing He can’t do. He allows us to be women who do things we never thought we could.
The best part? He does it all. We get to watch Him. When we say yes to His plan or when we decide to walk in the way He directs, we get the front-row seat. We get to watch Him, in all His glory, do what He whispered in our hearts.
And you’ll find yourself driving home one night with tears stinging your eyes. The thank you’s from your lips will only be laughter, and when the words finally escape, they’ll be thick with emotion and gratitude that God is who He says He always was.
PS – If you’re looking for somewhere to connect, some women to do life with, join us at Rally. We’re currently going through the book Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst. Find us on Facebook by searching “Rally ministry”, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to have you!
2 thoughts on “Just Like Me”
Beautiful post, Janelle! I’ve been wanting to comment for some time. I have a minute today! Living in the fulness of His love and letting the life of Christ flow through us–to tears of joy? Yep, I’m all about it! It can be hard intuit stage when we’re focused on babies and husbands and the newness of it all to think of ourselves as ministers of Jesus Christ, but we are that! Thinking of that–Maybe you have heard that in ancient Israel a soldier was generally give a year off from the army when he got married so he could focus on hi bride & starting a family. That’s cool! I was a little older (almost 30) when I was having that first baby, but it changed my focus for a time as well. Everything was so new, and I understood the weight of holding a little one in my arms.
Yet, I love the stage of life where I am now, where I can partner with others in telling the world how great our Savior is!
I’m thankful for your mountaintop experience! I know we can’t live there, but my experience is more like the mountains and less like the valleys when I keep my gaze heavenward, and look for those everyday encounters. Thankful with you for a God who fills us and fulfills us when we partner with Him!
I agree so much–when my gaze is fixed on heaven, all the experiences can feel more like the mountaintop. I love that history of the soldier in Isreal. Motherhood and babies is such a rich and important experience for me. It makes up much of who I am. Thanks for sharing, Vicki! I always love your insights.