Have you ever written a letter to yourself? I mean, a REAL letter? Not one of those thought practices of "what would you tell your 13-year-old self" or writing your obituary. Well, I did. And then I promptly forgot about it. Until I found it last week. And wow, was I stunned. I discovered my 4-year letter.
When Your Past Confronts Your Now
In August 2015, I bought a 70 page, medium weight, acid-free drawing book. I'm not an artist. But I wanted a way to unlock the more creative side of my personality. Honestly, I probably read a book, or listened to a podcast that encouraged me to do just that. And on the cover, I wrote this declaration from a devotional book by Rick Renner titled 365 Days of Power:
"I boldly confess that I am focused, concentrated, and determined to run my race! God has called and anointed me; therefore, I can do exactly what He has asked me to do. I have no excuse for failure or any reason to slow down or quit, for God's Spirit in me is ready to empower me to run this race all the way to the finish. Doing it halfway will never do, so I am committed to seeing this all the way through. I declare this by faith in Jesus' Name." Dated August 25, 2015.
Reading it again, I still feel the same way. But, like everyone else in the world, I had no way of knowing what the next six years would bring my way.
There aren't a lot of drawings in the book, but there are a lot of pages with sticky notes containing thoughts, quotes, and scripture verses.
4 Years is a Lifetime
As you know, I'm on a continuing journey to be the woman I confessed I would be in August 2015. And I'm doing that without the physical presence of the one person who always believed in me, my Richard. Purposefully I say "physical presence" because his words fill my brain when I'm considering the future. What I didn't realize was how important MY words for my future would become until I ran across the 4-year letter I wrote on July 28, 2017, dated for July 28, 2021. Even though it isn't quite four years, it shakes me to the core. I haven't done all I said I would do. However, the good thing is I haven't finished the four years; there's still time.
Nervously, I want to share that letter with you, without editing. Why? Because I plan to write a 4-year letter to myself every year for the rest of my life, on my birthday in May. I hope it will encourage you to do the same.
July 28, 2021
I know there were many times you despaired and questioned the path, your abilities, and the outcome. Yet, here you are today, resting and rejoicing in the fruit of your labor. As the Psalms say, the LORD has revived you and caused you to flourish. You fed on what the earth brought forth in the first and second year, and began to sow and reap great harvests in the third. (2 Kings 19:29.) You have continued to grow and spread out your influence and legacy.
The promises of Psalm 45 have come true right before your eyes. You have served many women and brought them to Jesus. He has given you many opportunities to speak to the masses. He has opened doors of favor you didn't even imagine.
You have oven felt like Much Afraid in Hinds Feet on High Places-yet always you were Grace and Glory and lived the promise of Psalm 84:11-"For the LORD is a sun and shield, the LORD will give grace and glory, no good thing will He withhold from those who walk with integrity". And though Sorrow and Suffering were your early companions, the grace of the LORD showed you how to embrace them as Peace and Joy.
You learned the enemy reproached God Himself when he threatened you with disaster and failure, and learned to rebuke him and resist him in the knowledge that God never fails, and those who trust Him are never ashamed. You learned to stand confidently in your gifts and help others do the same.
You trusted the promise that the LORD gives you power to create wealth, so you learned how to do the work at hand and let the LORD bring the increase.
His Hostage Heart has been used globally to bring the hearts of millions to the LORD. You are fulfilling the mandate to be an ambassador for the LORD to bring reconciliation. But you learned to keep your hands off of it, so that the LORD receives all the glory.
You've achieved your desire to finance Calista's college journey, and soon Ian will follow along. Also, with financial support The WORK Foundation is growing, and many women are being mentored. Their lives are being transformed.
The Work at Home Queen gave birth to Women of the Royal Kingdom-and when you finally saw it-your heart was filled with peace. From that day to this-you've walked confidently in the process, knowing finally the path to take.
Donna, at 57 you wondered how you could make it work. You spent too much time questioning your abilities, gifts, talents, and skills. When you stopped doubting and starting doing-everything changed. Today, at 61, you are more vibrant, energetic and focused than ever before. You learned to keep a light hold on your weight, and the extra weight fell off. You learned to love your quirky style and embraced your looks and personality. You learned to stop worrying and start resting-and you've enjoyed watching the power and influence of the LORD in everything.
You are looking for new mountains to climb because the LORD made you that way. But now you enjoy the journey and rejoice in the obstacles because you know they will reveal new opportunities and a greater glory of God. He's got this, and He's got you.
Now, get busy! There are more lands to conquer!
The Next 4 Years
Obviously there are some things to complete: the book, the foundation, the college funds, the weight. Yet, there are some things I've achieved. I have embraced Sorry and Suffering to experience Peace and Joy. And I learned that when I let God be God, life is easier. The dream of Women of the Royal Kingdom lives on inside of me, and I am still a mountain climber. Therefore, some of what I envisioned for 2021 is still in front of me. But that is the beauty, isn't it? When we continue to know our path is in God's hands, we know it will be good, even when life feels crappy. And, because His Hostage Heart is still a flame inside of me, and Women of the Royal Kingdom (WORK) looms even greater inside of me, I can trust they are the LORD's vision for me, too.
Your 4-Year Letter
So, I have one question for you...
Will YOU write a 4-year Letter to yourself? Grab a piece of paper right now and date it for 2025 and put it in a safe place so you can read it then. Really, my love, what do you have to lose? And, on the outside chance you aren't around to read it, or it gets lost and then found by someone who loved you, or maybe even a stranger, your words to you will carry incredible weight.
It isn't the same as your journal, because your journal is about what IS. Your letter is about what is POSSIBLE.
And, just as I admonished myself in 2017, I challenge you...
"Now, get busy! There are more lands to conquer!"