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I’m building a time machine. It’s almost ready. It’s made from an office chair, one of those hair dryers you sit under at the beauty parlor, a bent TV antenna, a couple of black lights, a Mr. Spell, and lots of aluminum foil.

I’ve got my first time destination all figured out: I’m going back to when I was ten years old. I’ve got some things to tell ten-year old Abby that I think she’ll find useful. Here’s what I’ll say:

At every opportunity I want you to play. I know you’re getting older and you can’t wait to become an adult but you may never have this much time to play again. So get out there and swing on the swing set until you think the posts will pull right out of the ground. And when you get really high…jump. You may not always land on your feet but when else can you fly in your own backyard? Speaking of jumping, untangle those jump ropes and get hopping. I don’t care if you’re singing “Cinderella Dressed in Yellow” or “Apples on a Stick”—just jump. Listen, I’m really serious. Someday, you will suffer from motion sickness just from swinging. Your stomach will drop right to your toes with every lift of the swing. You’ll also be so concerned about your bladder control that jumping rope will only be possible if you’re wearing an adult diaper. Enjoy carefree playtime while you can.

Next I want to speak to you about your sisters. I know they can drive you crazy. Being in the middle of two girls who are alike in as many ways as they are different is challenging. It stinks that you’ve had to share a room with one or both of them all your life but you’ll get your own room soon. I promise. Not too long after that, you’ll be in college with a roommate in a dorm full of girls. You’ll be entirely equipped to deal with all of those double-X chromosomes. Until then, there may be some days when you will wish you were born an only child. You will rub the bruises your sister covertly inflicts on you in the backseat of the van and cover your ears as doors are slammed in fits of rage but you’ll eventually come to see these sisters as the greatest gift from your childhood.

Boys: Right now you’re wondering why God—in all His abundant wisdom and mercy—created them. They’ve gone from buddies who play tag with you on the playground to mini-men whose rank smell and bodily functions disgust and perturb you. And still, in spite of these aversions, you will have a secret crush or two whose identity will neverbe revealed to anyone. You will watch these boys from afar, doubting that they even know your name. Wanting their attention will encourage you to change parts of yourself—your clothes, your likes and dislikes, your personality—but you won’t make those changes. You will stand firm in the essence of you-ness and your reward will be waiting for you your freshman year of college. He’ll be six feet tall with brown hair and dark hazel eyes. You’ll know him when you see him. Well, Ten-Year Old Abby, I guess that’s about it. You’re going to make a lot of mistakes in the next few decades but it’s going to be okay. There will be triumphant moments of new birth and despairing moments of inexplicable loss. And in between you’ll have days where you just load the dishwasher and fold laundry. The main thing you need to remember is that there’s a fair and loving God who’s watching your life unfold on a heavenly, big screen with anticipation and pride. He’ll use His Word to rebuke you and send His Holy Spirit to set you back in the right path from time to time but He wants you to get to know Him more intimately with each passing year. He already knows everything about you—even the secret crush.



Time Machine

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