Looking Forward…and Looking Back

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Starting a new decade makes me think of all kinds of things. This year will mark twenty years since I graduated from high school. (This makes me feel really old!) It makes me think of all that can happen in the timespan of a decade.

I started this past decade with moving to a rural town after a lifetime of being a city girl. I had two precious boys after years of trying to have a second child. The decade brought two more kids, a move abroad to the mission field, and a move back to Texas. In the time span of ten years, I went from being a full-time working mom to being a stay-at-home homeschool widow. In 2017, my life fell apart. In an instant, all of my plans, hopes, and dreams crashed to the ground. Quite literally.

Over the past two plus years, I’ve had to fight to pick up the pieces of my life and carry on. I had to learn to not only be on my own for the first time ever, but to be alone while caring for four children on my own. I’ve learned the true meaning of exhaustion and the true feeling of loneliness. I now know what it means to live through hell. I’ve been there.

I’ve also learned I’m a lot stronger than I knew, not because of me but because the God I serve gives me strength. I’ve come to a deeper understanding of the truths of God. Now, I don’t just read the words of the psalmist David, I’ve experienced them. Scripture resonates with my soul like never before. My faith has kept me going, even when I was falling apart.

I’m starting a new decade, and I can see hope in our future. I also know there will still be hard days, and that’s Ok. There will always be hard days, but I will do what I do on the good days: just live them. I will do my best, and it won’t always be enough, but that’s OK too.

God has sent me blessings this past decade where I least expected to find them. He has overwhelmed me with difficulty and tragedy time and time again. It’s easy to ask why. It’s natural to ask why. However, we know why. Scripture tells us why: to make us more like him.

Losing the most important person in my world gives me a whole new perspective on life. It permeates my views on things and the way I live my life. I will never be the same. It taught me the things that really matter and the things that don’t. It taught me some important lessons about life and people. Hope and trust. Joy and sorrow.

I feel like I’ve aged 50 years in the last ten, but then again, I’ve gone through more changes in a decade than some people experience in a lifetime. I’ve learned how to live even when I feel like I’m dying inside. I’ve learned that living means trusting – trusting that God has a plan even for great pain. It means trusting him in deep darkness that he will provide a light and a way out. Eventually.

I’ve seen that the saying is true: the days are long, but the years are short. I’m watching my children grow up before my eyes. It happens so fast. One minute they’re in diapers, and the next, they’re teenagers. We must make the most of our days. We don’t know how many we have left. We have such a limited time with these precious little people that God has blessed us with. We must pour into them. Love them. Shower them with grace. Teach them right and wrong. Pour into them the word of God. Teach them. Remind them. Train them. We must find ways to cherish these days, even the long and exhausting ones.

We don’t know what the next decade holds. It may be full of joy or unspeakable pain. Either way, we know that our God will be with us, and He has a plan for our life. He has a plan for the good and the bad. We have the promise that he works all things for our good, and that’s a promise that can carry us through the next decade…and the rest of our lives.

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