Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

6.29.2010

A Life of Remembrance

I opened my eyes after a short but peaceful sleep. Before my mind went to the day’s tasks, before my eyes focused on the ceiling above—even before I really awakened, an endless loop played in my brain, almost as if I had been unconsciously dreaming it all night long. To a tune entirely unfamiliar to me rang the words, “Remember, in the days of thy youth!”

I thought on this phrase, slightly shocked and utterly delighted that it would be the first thing in my mind that morning. I may be a musician, with themes from Mozart, and staves from hymns, and improvisations from my own spirit constantly running through my head; but I am not accustomed to waking up with a verse set to music composed in my sleep. It seemed, though, that God had given me those words and music.

I knew the words came from Ecclesiastes—a beautiful book that I actually hadn’t read in months. A quick search yielded the passage:

“Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them (Ecclesiastes 11:9-12:1).”

As I meditated on this passage all morning, I realized that God had given me—and all children and teenagers—two choices. I could spend my youth as a fool, rejoicing in my vigor and seemingly everlasting life. I could join the crowd and stare at my reflection in my hip sunglasses, ignoring the foreground of next year and the backdrop of the next decade, and the panorama of the next century. Using the excuse of being a hormonal “teenager” my peers and I could choose the life of arrogance and selfishness which society excuses because of our “not-yet-fully-developed” brains. If I slouch down in blissful apathy, however, I will not get away with it. God promises to judge me for my wasted youth: “but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.”

Then there is the other option. Discipline, dedication, and determination—getting to know my Creator requires all of these things. How much richer the experience, though, if I chase after Him now! How much better to prepare now for the time when “the evil days come…when [I shall]…say, I have no pleasure in them (Ecclesiastes 12:1).” Life now will be so much fuller and more constructive, and life in forty years will be all the more precious because of half a century of groundwork laid.

For me, the decision has always been patently clear, though my reasons have changed over the years, and carrying out the commitment is not always easy. Long ago, as a very young child, I looked at rebellious youth and the anguish they caused their parents, and I decided I would never be that. Today, I have made the commitment to righteousness for a very different, very selfish, very simple reason: I want to get to know my Creator in the days of my youth. I want to be His, and I want Him to be mine. I yearn after Him and crave His company—and how much the sweeter will His lovingkindness be when trials and tribulations of life buffet my way?

God was not done with me that day, though. That very afternoon, I ran into a guy I hadn’t seen in a year. His zany humor and zest for life never failed to delight, but along with that quirky character had always been a love for God and his parents. Now, though, something was missing. I recognized the face, the mannerisms, the voice—but I had absolutely no acquaintance with the soul inside. In the one conversation we had, I was devastated to see him mocking God. His sweetness had soured into arrogance; his vivacity had fermented into wild abandon; and his love for God had dissipated into an apparition. After he left, I cried over his lost youth and his lost influence, knowing that God has promised—and will be faithful to—judge him. This boy has forgotten God—but he has only to repent, and God will forgive him and take him back! For this I fervently pray.

Young or old, God holds all of us responsible to get to know him. Here I am, with one short month left in my teenage years, grateful for almost everything that has transpired in my life, but still regretful of many things. This day that God has granted me today—and tomorrow, if He so wills it, and this year, and this decade—but most importantly, this life (however long or short it may be) will be spent getting to know my Creator. If I seek Him now, I know that when I am old and gray I will be able to look back on my life with gratefulness to God—for a life of remembrance.

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14 comments:

  1. Mikaela, you and Lauren are so mature and deep for your age that it astounds me at times. I love your vivid descriptions about everything. Even Muslims believe that Allah holds us accountable for our actions from a young age, and that it is best to build our relationship with him since then.

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  2. MK--I thank you for the compliment! I just visited your blog and enjoyed looking over it and learning about a culture entirely different from mine.
    Unfortunately, we are not at an understanding on religion. You seem to go to great lengths in your comments to bring out similarities between Christianity and Islam, and I do not deny that there are similiarites. However, they are as similar as a zebra and a cow--both are black and white, have four legs, a tail, and a face with the usual additions, but that is where the similarity ends. If you respect Christianity so much that you wish to align Islam with it, then consider abandoning the latter and joining the former. There is nothing productive to be gained by pointing out the similarities between the two. If you are confused about our stance, please read Lauren's comment on her post "For Fear of Music."
    This is obviously a topic of interest to you, so I would encourage you to keep reading our blog as well as search the Scripture so you can observe first-hand the differences between Christianity and Islam.

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  3. Thanks so much for this post! It is so true that in modern-day America the label of 'teenager' has completely changed the worldview of most young people. Standards have become so low, both moral and academic, and things like rebellion and laziness have been explained away until they are expected, when before the 1920s the concept of the teenager wasn't in existence. In the Biblical Hebrew culture, especially, children were expected to act and think like adults from 13 years old. Thanks for being one to recognize our Christian duty to be mature in this age where sloth and unintelligence is expected in people our age. Many blessings to you and your ministry.

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  4. One of my favorite book in the Bible! Ecclesiastes teaches so many practical wisdom in life.. This post is an enlightenment! God bless.

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  5. You know, you are just amazing. Wow, since i came across your blog yesterday, i realized there is so much more about this our God. I am so inspired by you words can't believe you actually put all these together. You girls are blessed. Keep the fire burning.... And, the days of thy youth? Pls, keep it diligently. God bless you.

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  6. Thank you, Mikaela, for once again penning a deep, transparent and throught-proviking post. I enjoyed it very much. Partway through, your words reminded me of the book, "Do Hard Things," written by Bret and Alex Harris, which challenges young people to rise above the "low expectations" of this age and "do hard things!" Pursing passionately after the Creator is and should be among those things that youth aspire to. Thank you again!

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  7. What a great encouragment this post was to me this morning :) I am 23, and my husband and I were just married about 2 months ago. I have felt myself making an interesting and exciting transition out of my youth, and into the beginning of a new kind of adulthood. And yet, as a young wife I am charged with the same kind of "discipline, dedication, and determination." I want to experience the fullness of God in my new marriage just as I wanted to experience Him in my youth-- and there is SUCH blessing in it. Thank you for bringing this truth to the fore front of my heart and mind.

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  8. Gog bless you, keep the fire burning!

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  9. Camille: Thanks for bringing out the background on this modern teenage syndrome! I half expect to see a new name for the 20-30 year olds emerge, because even they are acting like lazy, overgrown children now.
    Meg: I agree--Ecclesiastes is delightful! The truths to be gained from it are inestimable, and the literary beauty of the symbolism and poetry is truly gorgeous.
    Lilbyt: Thank you so much for your kind words. I am indeed a blessed young lady, and have my parents, family, friends, church--and of course, God--to thank for guiding me in the paths of righteousness. Thanks for joining us here--we're honored to have you as a reader!

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  10. Mikaela, I agree with the other posters, this is truly a thought provoking and very insightful post. Though I am no longer a teen ager, I find Ecclesiastes one of my favorite books, it is so full of wisdom and advice, and so very true. I know being a teen ager is not easy, I work with teenagers, and I see both the struggles and the low expectations most adults have. Truly, the wisdom of Ecclesiastes is for any age; even in our adulthood we are still tempted to go our own way, to find easy solutions to problems that sometimes seem insurmountable. I think it's great that you have made your decision so early in life, because it will be tested over and over, so hang on and God will pull you through.

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  11. if u live your life doing everything with discipline, dedication & determination, u will meet Him. just as u have this conviction, i do too.
    very encouraging post. thanks for this.

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  12. Ruthie: I haven't read that book, but I've heard so many good things about it, and I'm honored by the comparison!
    Chelsy: I feel like I am getting to know you, and I feel like sisters at heart. Thank you so much for your faithful and sweet comments! What an amazing and exciting transition for you indeed--God's words are so applicable to all of life's changes, aren't they?
    Alessandra: Aah...thank you for the encouragement, the kind words, and the application to all ages. Remembering our Creator and serving Him is certainly a lifelong endeavor.

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  13. What beautiful words of truth. And I agree with Ruthie; your thoughts sound so similar to those of Alex and Brett Harris. I highly recommend the book, since your understanding of God's plan for teenagers, spelled out through His word, is very much like the message of Do Hard Things. And how wonderful that the journey won't end at the closing of this month for you!

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  14. Anjali: You said "if u live your life doing everything with discipline, dedication & determination, u will meet Him. just as u have this conviction, i do too." Actually, I do not have this conviction. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast." Thus, I could live my entire life with discipline, dedication, and determination, but it will do no good--nothing I could possibly do would make me worthy to live eternally with God in heaven. God is the only one Who saved me and Who can save you, through His gift of salvation.
    Elyse: Thanks for your comment! I know--it is great that this journey we're all on never ends, isn't it? We should educate children more that adults never reach perfection--life is always about growing. ;-)

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