Written By Debra Ayis, Nigeria
I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing to you from the tail end of 2017, a perfect time in which I find myself reflecting on my achievements and failures and reviewing what the year has meant to me.
I believe I have grown a little this past year, graduating from a child in constant need of attention and milk to an adult ready to try some steak. But there’s so much I still need to learn, so I hope by the time you read this, you would have made progress beyond expectations. That you are continually learning not to be anxious, and to wholly and truly trust in God in all circumstances (Philippians 4: 6-7). That your faith drives the wheel and fear takes a backseat. That your decisions follow the path you believe God is leading you to take and not simply “logical” reasoning. You have done this in the past, so I am hoping you can continue to do this.
Remember to continue dreaming, striving, and putting your best into everything you do. But in that process, do not forget to enjoy the moment, and do not let delays and challenges draw you into a pit of despair and discontent. Always be content in the now, and be grateful with all God has blessed you in the present. No matter what the situation is.
Even if you are going through the greatest physical, mental, or spiritual battle you have ever faced, always remember what God has faithfully brought you through, even though it took longer than you had expected. Remember how you applied almost 100 times over several years to your dream job before you finally got a position in that organization? Remember how you never gave up, and how you kept up the faith and pushed forward despite what people said?
In the spirit of owning the moment, I hope you are happy in your own skin, remembering there’s only one you and God loves you just the way you are. You are the apple of His eye; He knitted you while you were in your mother’s womb and He loves you unconditionally. As you continue to endeavor to be more like Him, remember to let Him shine through the real you, and not a version constructed for society’s benefit.
I pray your faith in God has grown stronger by now. That you have indeed grown deeper in your faith. I hope that the zeal for God’s house has burned brighter and you have become an integral part of not only the church community, but of any community you find yourself. I trust you have had opportunities to open your arms and your heart to people. To host those who need a place to sleep, to open your home to church events, to volunteer with increased passion, and to build His house with joy and a thankful heart.
I hope you have been working hard, but still have time for friends and family. Have you attained a better balance in all aspects of life now? I know it’s been an uphill battle, but I hope you don’t give up.
Remember how you were so inspired by Paul’s accounts that you were fearless in sharing the gospel, especially during your school years? With all my heart, I pray that you are still stepping out of your comfort zone to do so. That you have moved past fears of rejection and found the courage to share the gospel with anyone God brings your way. Remember to let that light shine, remember that you are the salt of the earth, and remember the great commission to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.
Above all else, remember to stay focused on Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith, who willingly went to the cross to secure your salvation. Remember you have been bought with a price. Continue to live a life that aims to glorify God.
If you continue to do this, I am 100 percent sure you will turn out all right!
With much love,
Your younger self