Dr. Jackie Minor
FACING A MILESTONE
Milestones aren’t something we often think about until we experience them. As I approach a major milestone in my life, thoughts have been whirling about in my head. What is a milestone anyway? I suppose the answer is a bit subjective. We each face different challenges in our lives. A major milestone for me, such as a big birthday (hint, hint), may not be a milestone for someone else. Webster defines milestone as “a significant point in development.” I think most would agree a milestone is an important event in our lives.
Milestones often force us to change who we are, redefine our thinking, make decisions to move forward, or perhaps completely overhaul everything we have come to know. If this is true, every educator I know faced a milestone last year teaching through a pandemic; we will face another milestone teaching this year after the pandemic! Milestones often mark the start of a new chapter, and they typically provide an opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been and where we are headed.
Some milestones (e.g., graduating from high school, getting married, starting a family, beginning a new career, losing a loved one) come when they come. Other milestones (e.g., reaching a personal goal) are the result of tenacity and hard work on our part. Milestones are a part of life, and some are divinely orchestrated for our good.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
You may have already figured out my next milestone. It’s a birthday, and it’s a big one! I’m not really dreading it. I have never feared aging. God has taught me so much through each season of my life. As I grow in my walk with Him, I have a confident expectation and excitement of what He has left to accomplish. I want to use my next milestone as an opportunity to appreciate where I’ve been, see how far I’ve come, and celebrate God‘s faithfulness.
I equate it to climbing a staircase with multiple landings. As I stop on this landing (60 steps up!), let me share with you a few things I see as I look down my staircase.
A nine-year old girl crying her eyes out on the altar asking Jesus to come into her heart.
Loving parents and grandparents who protected me and took me to church.
An insecure teenager seeking to fit in, working hard to be her best but never quite feeling popular enough, pretty enough, or smart enough.
A young woman spreading her wings, growing in her faith, making mistakes, and learning to trust God in a corrupt world.
A bride who married the love of her life, the man God chose for her.
A new mom getting a glimpse of how deep God’s love is for us as she experienced a kind of love she never had before.
A working woman trying to manage career and family while realizing time in Bible study and prayer were necessary for survival.
A mom on her knees pleading for her children.
An over-extended working wife and mother who temporarily lost sight of her kingdom purpose.
A distraught daughter who lost her dad too soon and had to trust in God’s sovereignty when nothing made sense.
A middle-aged believer who heard the call to support teachers.
An empty-nester seeking to take risks and to grow in her walk with the Lord.
The founder of a ministry for Christian educators who is relying on God 100% to provide direction.
There is so much more I could share, but I want you to know something. Despite all my mistakes, shortcomings, and losses, God has been faithful. There is something so comforting in knowing that no matter what milestone comes my way, I can face it head on because I am never alone. God is always there. He always has been, and He always will be.
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6
I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! Psalm 139:7
As I look back over my life, I can see His provision and protection. Although I may not understand everything this side of Heaven, I have peace and a confident assurance that the next landing I come to will yield even more blessings. There is still much to learn and much work to do.
You may not have a big birthday coming up, but there is no doubt you have recently passed a milestone in your life. Before you get too far into this new school year and the next milestone, I hope you will take a moment to stop on the landing and look down your staircase. Identify how far you’ve come, how much you’ve grown, and how God has been faithful to you too!
Let’s thank God for the milestones in our lives and be filled with anticipation for our next one!
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6