Tuesday, April 08, 2008

To Jubilee on your 13th Birthday

Dear Jubilee,

Today is a special day! Though it may feel like any other normal Tuesday, today is the day that you "officially" enter the world of teenagers. No, you don't miraculously feel any different now that you're 13 instead of 12, but you now stand on the brink of years that will test and mold you. Decisions made in the coming years will help define who you will become.

Teenagehood is not seen in a very good light by most these days. Children look forward to it as a time of freedom and "doing your own thing". Parents cringe as it approaches and groan that they "hope they can survive the next strange years". In the Bible, however, turning 13 was not looked upon as an escape from responsibility; rather, it was a welcome into the adult world.

You know 1 Timothy 4:12, but it is worth repeating: "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example to the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity."

The world will try to tell you that you are now entitled to be disrespectful, lazy, rebellious, shallow, apathetic, and loose morally. However, the Bible calls you to something far greater! In fact, it calls you to be an example! This verse is a great one to take as a motto for your teenage years. In your speech, strive to be respectful and considerate of those around you. Live your life as one of discipline and perseverance. Love your family and friends, and even when they make mistakes, remain loyal. Don't buy into the trap of thinking "when I'm older I'll deepen my spiritual walk." Begin now, spending time with God, reading His Word, and following Him as He leads you through these years. And finally, be a radiant example of a pure young lady in the midst of a dark world.

I know that you know all this. In fact, you already are a beautiful example of a godly young woman, and you are already living your life according to these principles! This is a reminder to never give up! Even when those around you are loosing focus, remain fixed on the goal of bringing honor and glory to God.

The devil will use these years to try to tempt you in so many ways. He'll try to plant seeds of doubt, rebellion, and strife, try to tell you that you're "better then most teens" so you should just quit trying, and try to convince you that adults just "don't understand what you're going through". Don't listen to him! Stay close to your heavenly Father Who will give you the strength and grace to go on boldly! "Set your mind on things above" (Colossians 3:2) so so that there's no room for Satan's lies. Remember that "No temptation has seized you except that which is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted He will provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)

There's a reason why these years are called "The Tumultuous Teens". You will wonder about a lot of things and try to find things that define you. Your emotions will seem to run wild, going from exuberant to despairing, silly to serious, all in the course of a few hours at times! You'll probably have a lot of questions about life and why things happen. The good news is that God has given you people to help you walk through these things! As Proverbs 1:8 says, "Listen my son (or daughter) to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching". I know that often you think that they don't really understand or see the whole picture, but ultimately by following and respecting their authority cheerfully, you'll find that they really knew best after all. This may be one of the hardest things, but by listening to the parents and respecting their decisions, you will find wisdom. You also have many siblings that have gone before you. Proverbs 11:14 says, "For lack of guidance a nation falls but many advisers make victory sure." You may feel sometimes like you have 6 parents all telling you what to do, but remember that we just want the best for you. All of your siblings are here for you if you ever need anything, and you can learn a lot by getting advice from those who have walked through life a few steps ahead of you.

With all these things to do and learn, it can be easy to try to grow up too quickly. It's true that 13 marks the beginning of becoming an adult, but you are still young. You're wise in saying that you want to enjoy your childhood while it lasts. It's only here for a short while, so don't grow old too soon! Enjoy the times you have to romp in the woods, read many books, and play many games. Your girlhood is a precious thing!

At the same time, however, use these coming years to prepare yourself for adulthood. These are some of the best training years of your life. You've already learned so much and prepared well, but there's always more to do. Remember that your primary "job" right now is that of being a student, so stay diligent in your home education! Study well as you do booklearning and work to retain what you learn. Now is also a good time to learn the home arts: cooking, cleaning, sewing, and so on. You already know a lot, so continue on. Remember, home is a great place to practice these things!

Finally Jubi, be yourself. We've already talked about becoming disciplined, and I don't mean "be yourself" as "do whatever you feel like doing." Rather, I mean it as not changing your personality to conform to whatever is in style. You are unique and one-of-a-kind, and don't be afraid to show it! Your talents and abilities are amazing - pursue them for God's glory!

You will be going against the flow of today's culture, but you are not standing alone. Sometimes it may feel as though you are, but remember that there are those that have gone before, those all over the world going through it now, and many who will come after. Join the generation "rebelling against the low expectations of an ungodly culture." Through the technology we have these days, you can connect with many like yourself in addition to the close friends you have around here. The Rebelution is a great place to start!

I love you Jubilee, and I'm ever so thankful and blessed to be your sister! I can't imagine life without your special self! I know that I'm not always the best big sister, but remember that I'll always be here if you need me. You probably know best of anyone that I'm not perfect - you've seen me in my hight and lows. I in no way have these teen years all figured out! Remember though, that I'll always love you unconditionally and that I want God's best for you. I'm excited and thankful that I'll get to watch you start this journey into young womanhood.

Have a wonderful birthday! Even though we celebrated last night, I hope this is a special day for you.



thepatriot said...

Happy birthday Jubilee!!

Ella said...

Happy Birthday, Jubilee! I echo everything Anna said. YOu are blessed to have a sister who does something like this!

Kelsey said...

What an amazing letter!

Rebekah S. said...

Uggh, I haven't been on here in sooo long!! I'm so,so sorry! I wasn't even on my own blog for 2 weeks at one point. I'm going to have to write up a new schedule for myself so that I can accomplish all that I need/want to in a day!

I've been missing your sweet comments on my blog, so whenever you're not too busy, please come visit me! :)

Have a blessed day,


Maria Pauline said...

Happy Birthday Jubilee!!

Elijah Lofgren said...

Happy Birthday Jubilee! May God bless you as you are not a teenager! Take Anna's wise advice! ;)

Bonnie said...

Happy Birthday Jubilee! What a lovely post!!