looking back

I mentioned on Facebook that when I tried to do a little “decade in review” a few weeks ago, I drew a huge [insert Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail] blank. I got married in 2005. That I know. But before that? Wasn’t so clear on that.

So a few days ago, I pulled out a journal from 2000 (first thing to note: back then, I actually went through two, even three journals a year, as opposed to now, which is more like one every three years. *sigh*). And wow. Ten years is a lot of time.

I noted some events worth trying to remember, but mostly, actually, I realized that ten years ago was a really hard year. Life was taking lots of twists and turns and ups and downs and I was trying so hard to grow up and hold on and do the right thing. I say life, but really, I mean me. I was the roller coaster, not Life. Call me melancholy and introspective, but the reason I don’t remember much from the first 5 years of the decade is because I was so intensely grappling with who I was, what God was doing in me, who God is, and what it means to live by faith, with hope, in love.

I lived a lot of those five years feeling a bit bruised (sometimes a lot bruised), a tad confused, not always fond of the reflection in the mirror, and wondering how to get past all that and just serve Christ. And while the context of it all was a younger self that is already such a distant memory, as I read the pages of prayers cried, answers heard, and lessons learned, I realize that so much of who I am and my understanding of Christian life came out of those hard knock days.

I’m an idealist and a perfectionist when it comes to me, and it’s not always much fun to recall days of fumbles and foibles and rotten attitudes. And it’s still a bit hard for me to be thankful for life lessons when the learning came through disappointment or pain. But when I turn a tear-stained page and read His words whispered in response — words of hope and strength, faith and promise that are still Life to me every day — I realize how great a grace I’ve come to know.

All that to say, looking back to see where He’s brought me is a good exercise for me. Life hasn’t always looked the way I thought it would, for me or for others — but that’s part of the life lessons learned, part of the shoring up of this foundation I stand on, and if reminiscing brings up unanswered questions and hope disappointed, perhaps it’s yet another reminder that while we’re moving from glory to glory, the fullness has yet to be revealed. We’re living not for the next decade, but for eternity.

He truly is all that is beautiful and worth loving. A day with Him is better than thousands elsewhere.

many floods of water cannot quench Your love
not even death can separate me from You
You do not ask me to understand the power of this love
but to follow and to trust the goodness of Your hand
though the fires and storms of life threaten to consume
if i stand they’ll only serve to make me more like You
lead me, written in 2000, in memory of jake hazelton

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