Milestones. What are they? The first definition of milestone that I found is “a stone set up beside a road to mark the distance of miles to a particular place”. In a sense, we set up stones to reach personal destinations. We set goals for our families, goals for our physical wellness, goals for our careers/occupations/ministries, and the list goes on. We even set spiritual goals. “I want to read the Bible in a year.” “I want to make sure I spend one solid hour with Jesus every single day”. Marriage goals. “My husband and I will spend an hour each day connecting and have a weekly date night and a week away every year”. Family goals. “I want to spend one-on-one time with each of my children every week or month.” Family night once a week. All good things, right? It is ingrained in us. Even for type “B” people like me.
Milestones = Goals
I am 53 years old. I got saved at 9. 44 years with Jesus. I remember a retreat I attended a couple years ago. The woman leading this small retreat did something that made me think. She drew a timeline on a white board. On this timeline, she put my age at the time, 51. She then drew an arrow to the end of the timeline, right around 80 (being the average life span). She pointed to this space between 51 and 80 and asked, “What do you want this space to look like?” I said, “I want to bear fruit”. I then had to evaluate, what milestones was I setting up to be able to bear fruit?
Secrets of the Vine by Bruce Wilkinson is a small book based on Jesus’s last conversation with His disciples. It speaks to Jesus being the vine and we (believers) are the branches. God, the Father, is the vine-dresser. Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” - John 15:5 The first, and most important milestone I had to set up was abiding in Jesus as the vine. All other milestones, like those mentioned in the first paragraph, will sprout from this.
Milestones = Celebration
The other definition of milestone is “an action or event marking a significant change or stage in development”.
The Martinez Family recently reached a few milestones. My firstborn, Marissa gave birth to our second grandson, Theodore James Pierce, on New Year’s Day 2023. What a joy! Ryan and Marissa are amazing parents to both of our grandsons. Ryder, who is just about to turn 2, is learning and saying new things everyday. Milestones for him seem to occur every single day. We celebrate those! The list goes on of all the milestones in childhood and then on to adulthood. Abi, our 3rd daughter, recently married Zach. What a day!! Lots of tears of joy on that day! Huge celebration with lots of laughter and special moments of reflection of their dating years. When I think about our children and our family right now, I honestly could not feel more joy! Just today, my youngest daughter, Brianna, bought her first car. And yet, there are still many milestones to reach!
It truly is exciting to watch our kids reach these milestones. It sometimes even seems more exciting than reaching our own milestones. I wonder how much God loves watching us reach milestones. In fact, I think He especially delights in watching His kids reach spiritual milestones. Those moments where we realize that our life is taking a turn for the better because of a spiritual epiphany. Maybe it is a really strong sense of His hand over a situation that changes us permanently. “When the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all truth.” - John 16:13
The Greatest Milestone = Salvation
It starts with salvation. That, by far, is the greatest milestone. Because I was saved at an early age, I didn’t really notice my life change a whole lot. I seemed to just ease into God’s family, not being fully aware of the greatest life-change of all time. Yet, He is patient. He matures us. Then, He makes us aware of His presence in our lives all those years. He guides us to a new place of acknowledgement of His unconditional faithfulness in our lives. At so many points in my life, I have thanked Him for drawing me to His Side early in life. I always prayed that would be the case with my kids as well. Thankfully, He has answered my prayers over them. Watching our kids reach spiritual milestones is cause for great celebration!
I recently learned a new word in Hebrew, “zakhar”, which means to remember. In the Hebrew culture, to remember, is “considered a forward-moving practice.” Let’s remember all that the Lord has done for us and celebrate it. As a ministry, we are celebrating some milestones. We just reached 100 podcasts!! We are looking forward to celebrating more milestones in every area of our lives and ministry!