Tucked away in between the tree covered volcanos of El Salvador are some of God’s most precious girls. Mind you, with their crinkled faces and brown eyes that light up into smiles, they don’t look like girls any more. Well into their 70’s, they’re the generation of women that mothered me when I came to this land as a bride 20 years ago.
These mothers of mine amazed me during my visit in June. They’re a testament to faithfulness; many have served Jesus in the same ministries for over 30 years.
- They rock babies in their soft laps and change diapers in the church nursery, year after year.
- They teach Sunday school month in and month out.
- They take prayer and encouragement to the sick in hospitals and homes.
- Wednesday nights they go knocking on doors to share God’s love.
- A retired doctor, Martha offers free care to the underprivileged.
- Sweet sister Dorita still prepares snacks for Sunday school kids.
When I turned 50 in May, I thought about what I want my life to look like down the road. My Salvadoran mothers give me an answer. Their faces wrinkled from smiling and hands wrinkled from serving teach me about finishing strong.
Paul describes finishing strong like this: “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13b, 14)
I want to press on and stay in the race until the end. More years and more experience should mean more fruitfulness, right? I want to touch lives and share love. I want to keep reaching out and growing. I want to finish strong.
How do I press on today, so that I’ll look like my sweet Salvadoran mothers in 20 years? What are daily disciplines for going the distance?
Choosing God First
Our daily choices now determine who we’ll be in 20 years, and I want to choose God first. I choose a few minutes with Him to start each day. I want to treasure God’s word and do what it says. And when I don’t get it right, I choose repentance rather than my own way. Like when I have to apologize because I shot off my mouth at the poor woman working at McDonalds. I want to love and obey God as best I can each day.
Choosing God would be easy on a deserted island. It gets nitty gritty when people get in your face. Your toddler wants a drink. Your teen wants to talk. Your husband wonders if you’ve seen his day timer, and your friend says the wrong thing. These are the people God puts on your path for you to love. And sometimes it’s the small things that speak love: a smile or a listening ear even though you have a million things to do.
So I want to press on towards the goal. I want to embrace daily disciplines of choosing God first and loving people, in hopes that my choices today will make me a softer, gentler woman 20 years from now.
What do you want your life to look like in 20 years? Do you have any role models?