W Publishing Group
WHEN I WAS A LITTLE GIRL, I hated to put on the tight little cotton socks that were part of a four-year-old girl’s wardrobe in those days.My daddy knew I hated the pulling and the tugging. I often dawdled when I should have been dressing myself, so mornings were a hassle for me and my parents. I just didn’t like those socks.
I remember the relief I felt one morning when I came half awake and realized that my daddy was putting my socks on for me. His help made it so much easier for me to face the day. I didn’t have to do what I hated!
At the time, I was a little girl with a little girl’s perspective on socks. I didn’t like them, and there was nothing in me that was going to come around to seeing the necessity of struggling to put those socks on. Knowing my struggle and my little-girl immaturity, my daddy had compassion on me. He came in my room and put my socks on my sleepy little feet every morning for months before he left for work.
When I was old enough to handle the sock situation, though, he stopped helping me out. I could put on my own socks, and so I did. To continue helping me would have crippled my maturity. I needed to grow, to become stronger, more mature and more responsible. He stepped aside, to my advantage.
God has the same heart toward His girls. His plan for us is that we will grow up, not just from little girls to big girls, but from Little Girls to Big Girls who can step into all He desires us to be.
Throughout the process He is always with us, gently nudging us with compassion and help until we can “get it” for ourselves. If you really knew what God had in mind for you before you were born, you would be blown away. Read these words that are all about you, and then we’ll take a look at what God had in mind for His girls.
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God!
They are innumerable!
I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up in the morning,
you are still with me! (Psalm 139:13–18 NLT)
God loves us beyond knowing. That is sometimes hard to believe, because we can’t see God in the flesh, but every word of this passage is true. Three years ago, I went with my pregnant daughter-in-law to get a 3-D baby scan. She had been through the usual sonograms, but none of them showed us the baby’s face.
This time, we hoped for a clearer view of her firstborn. The room was dark and the monitor was hazy as the technician rolled the scanning bar across her belly. Then we saw it: Baby Rachel’s face appeared on the screen. Her eyes, her nose, her little chubby cheeks, and even her hair standing straight up! How amazed we were. Before Rachel left her mommy’s womb, we knew her.
When Rachel was born, we recognized her because we had seen her before. There she was, uniquely herself with her hair standing straight up! When her daddy laid her in my arms, I recognized the face that had been knit together deep in her mama’s belly. I was thrilled finally to know this amazing little baby, whom I had seen even before she had come into the light of day. That early glimpse took my breath away and only made me love her more when I first held her. Later, I thought, If I can feel that surge of incredible joy over the birth of one of my little granddaughters, how much greater is the Father-heart of God toward His girls?
Just imagine how heaven grew silent and His heart must have swelled with joy when—”Whaaaaaaaa!”—you had arrived on earth to become, to be, to live! Another baby girl, created by Him, was born! God is crazy about you! From the moment of your conception, He hovered over every week of your growth in the womb as you came to resemble more and more the person He designed you to be. He watched intently as you made your way into the world, screaming, writhing, and adjusting to earth’s air.
His complex little girl had been launched on her journey, which already was recorded in His book.
He knew your beginning.
He knew the family that would shape you.
And yes, He even knew the struggles you would have along the way.
He knew them then and He knows them now. You can say without doubt,
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God!
They are innumerable!
I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up in the morning, you
are still with me!
He doesn’t leave you during the night. He doesn’t get busy and forget you are here facing challenges. He is with you!
No matter how long your journey has been so far, He has been beside you every step of the way, hovering, listening, standing back and watching, and waiting. Perhaps He has even shed tears for you, His complex little creation, because He, like any good father, will never overpower your will. He launches you. He watches you. He loves you. He longs for a relationship with you, but He never forces it. He shows you the best way and then waits to see if you will choose it.
God created you and equipped you to make good choices, but sometimes you, like all of us, take detours and make messes that bring you pain. Sometimes life inflicts pain without your help.
Circumstances and people dash hopes, divert dreams, and betray love. Even so, He always wants the best for you, always calls you to a higher place, always makes a way for you to become the woman He has in mind. His sweet promise to shape your life lovingly will never fail:
That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him.
(Romans 8:28–29 MSG)
So what does God have planned for you?
What does He call you to?
What does He want you to accomplish on your journey?
What does He want to accomplish for you?
I believe we take these questions with us through life. On certain days we may sense that we know what He wants for us; on others the answers to those questions are nothing but a big puzzle.
Whether we know the answers or not, we can rest in the confidence that God is with us. The older we become, the easier it is to see how He connects the dots, to recognize how He has moved us from one event to the other, from one acquaintance to another, and from one circumstance to another.Nothing is out of His view, nothing is out of His care, and nothing is out of the range of His promise recorded in Romans 8:28–29.
When you make the choice to love God as best you can, God will take care of tucking His great plan for you into the details of your life. He wants you to become the great and gracious woman He intended. As He had plans for His Son here on earth, He has plans for you. They may be different from what you expected, but as you grow and mature—as you make the emotional, spiritual, and mental transformation from Little Girl to Big Girl—you will find yourself letting go of your preconceived notions and resting in His good plan for you. Little girls have dreams that are frequently unrealistic or simply not the best. When I was a little girl, I had the lofty dream of becoming an obstetrician, never mind that when it came to science courses, I was challenged, to say the least. But I just knew that I could be birthing babies all the days of my life. I still love to watch babies being born on TV, but that is about all that is left over from my little-girl days. I had some “want tos” for my life, but God had another idea. I’ve learned that He gives us not only the “want to” but the “how to” if our desire is really His plan. He works in you to will and to do His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). The key to it all is to be mature enough to recognize that His good pleasure is best. Your good pleasure is second best or maybe even disastrous, but those are truths we learn along the way.
God never created anything to remain in an immature state. Last spring, when a bird chose the wreath on my front door as her nesting spot, I got to see this truth up close and personal. I watched the whole process of baby-bird launching with amazement. When those little birds hatched out of their shells, they were perfectly healthy and full of potential, but they weren’t mature enough yet to fly. They looked like birds, they cheeped like birds, and they had all the equipment of birds, but they couldn’t do what birds are created to do—fly! Only when they grew up would they know the purpose of their existence. They would be a real, live bird (or, I could say, a Big Bird!) The mother bird (having matured herself ) knew this. Consequently, for a limited time, she put her life on hold and nurtured the peeping young birds until their feathers began to grow. At that point, the mature mama bird began stripping the nest of its soft materials. She withheld food from the fledglings, and then (I held my breath) she withdrew her protection. I watched, hoping and praying she knew what she was doing. These birds were hanging in a wreath above a cement porch. The cat who lives here knew it. I almost couldn’t watch, but I also couldn’t not watch.
Then, as if on the appointed day, in a big flurry of hope and determination, somehow Mama Bird made those little balls of fluff and feathers believe that choosing to fly away was more appealing than choosing to stay in the only home they had ever known. She knew if they stayed there, they would soon die. She insisted they choose maturity. It was the only way they would survive.
Birds don’t have a choice about whether to grow up or not. Either they do or they die. They live and survive by instinct, knowing inherently what to choose. It’s that simple.
We people, on the other hand, can decide whether to grow up or to stay immature. Because of God’s nature, He has given His humans the free will to choose our responses to what happens in our lives and our feelings about Him. He gives us everything we need for life and godliness and then waits to see if we will choose it. Unlike birds, people live and survive by wisdom, a gift that always requires us to choose one thing over another. We can choose to be wise or we can choose to be foolish. (The consequences, however, are not ours to choose.) And unlike instinct, wisdom is learned.We have to learn what we must do to be wise, then make the choice to embrace what we have learned, and ultimately practice it as a way of life. This is the journey we take from immaturity to maturity.
Immaturity longs to be older, wiser, bigger, and more in control; maturity is being older, wiser, bigger, and more in control. Immaturity is dependence; maturity is independence. Immaturity is impulsive choices based on emotional reactions; maturity is thoughtful, sound choices. Maturity is full experience and delight. Hands down, maturity is the preferred state.
It is always fascinating to think that there is some wonderful plan for our lives, if only we can find it.Well, we can find it and live it. I love the scripture that says, “ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’ ” ( Jeremiah 29:11 NIV). The finding and the living hang on my choice to cooperate with God.
I want to become the full-grown, fully mature, grace-filled woman that He envisioned before I was even born. I want to be the full-size, grown-up version of that wonderfilled baby girl He knit together in my mother’s womb. I want to be so in tune with Him and His thoughts and ideas for me that I can know and celebrate on a daily basis that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
I want His dream for me to be a reality. Do you want anything less? I doubt it. The question is, how do we find this “future and hope?”
The great thing about becoming a Big Girl is that God knows we are becoming. You don’t discover the whole life all at once. God is such a loving Father that He doesn’t condemn us for what we are not. Just as you don’t condemn the three-year-old children in your life for not knowing how to tie their shoes, your Father doesn’t expect you to know and do what you are not big enough to handle. That is not His way. This great God of ours works in us to make us all we can be.He does not just sit on the sidelines waiting for us to trip up while we try to be a bigger girl than we are. He just longs for us to grow and live each season of our lives to the max, and He empowers us to do it if we really want to.
And that’s what being a Big Girl is all about: living life to the fullest in all ways, in all places, and in all situations.
We have embarked on a journey—a journey to become all that we can be with all that we have been given. This is not an adventure for the fainthearted, you’ll see, for becoming a Big Girl means that you will have to examine your beliefs, your thoughts, your motives, your actions, and your speech. The journey might rock your world. Some people in your life might not want to relate to you as a Big Girl. They may like you better as a Little Girl.
Finding you living as a Big Girl who knows who she is and what she is about may cause them to question themselves and your relationship. They may go so far as to question your heart, your motives, and your authenticity. Let me assure you, it’s all right.
When you grow, things are never the same. You can’t escape change. Once you have become a Big Girl, you will love it so much, there is no way you will go back to being a Little Girl, no matter who is confused and unhappy about it. Some people just can’t handle change, even when it is good. That is why nature has us beat all over the place with its patient acceptance of change.
I’ve never seen a tree try to go back to being a seedling. The glory of the tree is being a full-grown, fully mature tree.
I’ve never seen a grown bird try to nestle into a nest in order to become a dependent chick once more. The glory of the bird is to be able to fly and ultimately to care for its own little ones.
I’ve never seen a fully-opened rose try to make itself into a tight little bud once more.
Such reversal goes against all the laws of nature and the great heart of God. He longs for all of His creation to be all it can be, and the fulfillment of this vision only comes as we reach full maturity.
What do you think? Do you want to go for the journey? Do you want to find out what being a Big Girl is all about? Then come with me. The adventure has only begun.