Today is my grandson’s birthday–he’s twelve–and has been having some issues in that transition time between childhood and adolescence–doing things he wouldn’t normally to fit in. We can all relate.
It took me back to when I was twelve–glad I don’t have to go through that again! And some of the things I’ve learned since then. So I decided to share the letter I wrote to him.
“Today you are twelve!
In Jewish culture, the one Jesus grew up in, you would be considered a man today. They would call you a Son of the Law. And you would read and recite in Hebrew. You would then be considered responsible for yourself–your choices. It seems pretty heavy to me for a twelve year old, but judging from the Jewish mothers I have known, I doubt if they really get to make too many!
Twelve was a hard year for me. I became very aware that people weren’t as good as I thought. (I didn’t know yet that we were all a mixture of good and evil, that we are born with two natures: one that responds to God and one that responds to evil.) So I became very disillusioned with people–very disappointed in them, quite cynical, actually.
I hope that doesn’t happen to you. It took me years to pull out of it. I may not be completely out of it yet, but I understand it at least. Some happy things I have learned since then, that perhaps you can learn from and avoid a lot of pain and pitfalls for yourself, are:
1. Making good choices are so important: good choices make a good life and prevent pain.
2. Mistakes are not sin, (unless you allow them to separate you from God, so take them to God no matter how you feel–He is kind), and failure is not final and seldom fatal, but both are good teachers if you can embrace the pain.
3. God is all good, there is no evil in Them at all–none, nada, zip. They won’t ever let you down. They can’t. It’s not who They are. But there will be times when you feel like They do. They know suffering here can build character. And They want you there–happy forever. They want you fulfilled and happy here too, and will use most anything to get a relationship with you.
4. Doing what you want (aka rebellion or indulgence) usually brings suffering long term, once you’re past the flash of gratification. Typically, it works against the laws of your being. But if it pleases you to please God, you can do as you please.
5. Taking care of your body is so worth it. It makes your mind work better, makes your attitude brighter, promotes motivation and dreams, and it really makes getting old easier. (How many grandmas do you know who can stand on their heads at 66? And who take no medications?)
6. Discipline is not a bad thing, and self-discipline is a great gift to give yourself. Put good self-care in now and later it will come automatically, leaving energy free for creative endeavors.
7. Nobody will ever love you like Jesus. You’ll never be sorry for investing there. That is one of the decisions I reaffirmed at twelve, and I’ve never been sorry.
Happy Birthday! Have a wonderful day and year!
I was looking for a book for your present, when I heard God say, “Why not give him yours?” Somehow I thought mine were too…but I guess not. It certainly is bringing two of my great loves together–you and God. Hopefully, the books will get there today.
I love you,