Discipling young women is one of my biggest joys and challenges. I love their honesty, perspective, and humor, but it’s been a long time since I was in high school or college. Sometimes I get frustrated relating to and understanding the choices and decisions young people make. This week as been one of those times. So, I began asking the Lord for help

And he answered by giving me an awful memory.

When I was in college, I broke up with an amazing guy I was dating and returned to an unhealthy and dysfunctional relationship with a guy I had dated in high school. I’ve always been embarrassed about that and wondered what the honk I was thinking. This morning, the Lord helped me figure that out.

I realized today that I didn’t break up with the amazing guy because I was stupid, sadistic, or selfish. I broke up with him because I was scared. I left before he could. Although this man was almost perfect, I didn’t believe I was. I returned to someone who had issues and wasn’t very amazing. I returned to someone who felt safer because he was

More like the person I thought I was.

I realized this morning that I left Mr. Incredible because I didn’t think I deserved him. I didn’t think I could “keep” him. I chose Mr. Wrong instead because I had no imagination for someone knowing the complicated, ugly, sometimes dark things about me and loving and accepting me despite that. And when you think you are underserving of better, you make decisions and choices,

desperately, hopelessly, fearfully, and nonsensically.

Although this was difficult to think about, God also reminded me of something else. The Lord eventually brought that incredible guy back into my life. Jesus increased my imagination for the point of the cross when he brought Mr. Incredible, my now husband of thirty years, back. Back to love, forgive, and accept me.

Martin Luther said, “The article of justification must be sounded in our ears incessantly because the frailty of our flesh will not permit us to take hold of it perfectly and to believe it with all our heart.” How do we sound Christ’s forgiveness and love incessantly in our ears?

One way is discipling young people when you’re old. Doing so forces us to remember. Their honest and difficult questions, doubts, and struggles bring us to our knees and in turn, remind us of Jesus’ love, faithfulness, and provision in our own lives, yesterday and today. It not only allows us to relate compassionately to those we lead, but it also helps us take hold of and believe the gospel for ourselves, with fresh beautiful, deep, and relevant glimpses of God’s love, patience, and mercy,

Yesterday and today.