I have a confession. Throughout this season of my life, I have often found myself looking back at favorite times and wanting to relive those moments for just a little while. I often find myself thinking back to the amazing ways my relationship grew with God during my teenage years, the freedom I had to do things and go places as a single woman, being a part of the National Bible Bee, my high school volleyball team years, the abundance of time my husband and I had alone before kiddo number one came along, and many other favorites. My life has changed a lot becoming a wife and a mom in a relatively short amount of time. Three and a half years ago, I barely knew Andrew; today, we have been married for two years and nine days – AND we have an adorable almost 10-month-old baby boy! I wouldn’t trade my life right now for anything, but somehow I still find myself looking back and missing some of the times I had.
As I’ve noticed this in myself it’s made me wonder “why?” Why do my thoughts go there? Why do I especially think of the past when I’m in the middle of a harder life moment or difficulty?
And this is what I have discovered. You see – those things looking back are what I know. I went through that season and, in a sense, figured it out. Done and completed. Maybe even completed well. I lived it. I enjoyed it. I look back and remember it. I treasure those times as some of my best. But ahead – I don’t know that. I don’t know what it’s all going to look like. I don’t know what the future holds. I frequently fail and often don’t know what I am doing as I falteringly figure out what it looks like to be the woman, wife, and mother Jesus has called me to be in Him. My relationship with God changes and everything seems different as I learn how to love and grow and live in Jesus with the new challenges of today. That’s hard. I thought I liked change and the new stuff of the future, but actually I’ve noticed that I tend to fight change quite a bit – and the growing pains that come with it.
On vacation this last October, I especially felt the pull. Things were a little harrier having a little person with us for what you hope to be a relaxing time away. Right before we left, Oakley got his first ever cold, which made him fussier than his normal happy self and a bit miserable. He cried during the first part of our flight to CO and pooped through his diaper and up his back before falling asleep for the rest of the flight (AFTER we teeter-tottered together in the teeny-tiny bathroom, and I managed to change Oakley’s clothes top to bottom while going through some pretty intense turbulence). Between Oakley’s cold, a couple bad nights of sleep, a disoriented baby, and difficulty nursing, I was tempted to feel pouty and discouraged during the first couple days of vacation. I felt guilty that I thought about how much easier vacations were in the past and wished things were different than they were. I wanted to make a meaningful memory out of our first vacation as a little family, not bemoan it!
As I sat in the Rocky Mountains’ cabin we were staying in, trying to get Oakley down for a nap and partly wishing I was out enjoying myself in the chilly mountain air instead, I suddenly was reminded of something my sister and I had been talking about a couple of weeks prior. We were talking about going through life changes, and how often we want life to go back to how we like it – when everything is going fairly smooth and comfortably. Often though, we change as life takes us on its journey. People around us change. Our circumstances change; and we can’t go back to to the “normal” we had before. My sister shared how she was being reminded to look forward to what the next season of life might bring in all its newness and take joy in that and not pout about what was left behind.
Right then, I asked myself the question, “What new and exciting adventure does Jesus have in store for me today?” Right then, with my little Oakley dude. How was God going to use that little man and the challenges and differences of having him along to bring extra joy and memorableness to the trip?
It changed my perspective completely. I no longer had to hang on to the vacations of the past and try to format this vacation after those. I was set free to enjoy this vacation as it was, in all its quirkiness and family-with-a-baby fun!
Many times since, I keep being reminded to find joy in the present moments that God is giving me and to anticipate what God had in mind for each day. To discover. To learn. To find out what rich treasures are ahead that I may never have even uncovered before. To have new best moments to remember and delight in. To be known by Him and know Him deeper than I have before in ways that I may have never found Him before. To find new friends and to grow richer relationships.
All those things require me going forward.
The word “adventure” inspires me. According to Google, adventure means “an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.” An adventure wouldn’t be an adventure – chock-full of unusual and exciting – without the “typically hazardous” part. 🙂 The adventure of life is sometimes hazardous, hard, and uncomfortable. But let’s go forward into that adventure together. I can guarantee you God does have exciting, wonderful things ahead if we let Him be that faithful Shepherd, Father, and Friend that He is and delights to be. We might even like the “new things” better than the best memories we leave behind. Jesus always takes His daughters and His sons on the best adventures, so let’s trust Him enough to step into that glorious unknown.
All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.