“We all have one past, but many possible futures,” stated Canadian hockey player Guy LaFleur, in an interview at his retirement (as quoted in the February 2014 newsletter of RZIM ministries).
24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. (The apostle Paul speaking in Acts 20:24)
Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. (Proverbs 4:25-26)
Oh to be able to empty myself of yesterday and walk forth into tomorrow with great expectation! To live in the moment with hope that what comes will be filled with the Lord’s tender mercies and grace is to really live freely in Christ. And to know that the struggles of the day will work itself into a beautiful tapestry of my eternal life that has already begun, well, that’s really head-y man!
When I was researching yet another new dietary approach to the illness I endure, I realized how many times I have done this work before. Over and over again I have sat here at our computer and continued to research solutions to the treatment failures in the past. I admit that the new ideas don’t always come from the Lord, however. Who else would come up with a way to make turnips to fit a Candida, mold-free, and low oxalate diet? (Chuckle.) I believe it is the Lord who inspires the best of what comes from me through the Holy Spirit and then provides just enough energy to get me there. For example, I had an unexpected, Divine appointment with a friend who happened to be in the lobby of our doctor’s office on Friday. She needed prayer badly! The Lord in his mercy used me to step out in faith and pray with her right then and there. The fellowship moved each of us. The moment would have been missed if the Lord had orchestrated the events for me to leave the building just a few minutes earlier or later . . .
But really, until I started writing this I always thought that deep down inside I was someone who carried the events of my sordid childhood on my sleeve. My utility to this world was somehow limited because of my past. I thought that the facts that I came from a broken home, witnessed and experienced abuse, grew up lacking basic provisions at times, and didn’t find Jesus Christ until I had spiraled out of control as a young adult limited who I would eventually become someday. Even if my outward appearance showed a measure of success, the inner woundedness kept me from enjoying it. For example, I have had to remember to smile: the joy just isn’t there a lot of the time to beam out from within me. This should have changed when I found Jesus and entered into a personal, saving relationship with Him. He redeemed my sin and began to fill the emptiness in my heart reserved only for Him. Why wasn’t it enough?
I’m not sure I have the answer to that just yet. I do know that sometimes we are our own worst enemies, eh? We get in the way of what the Lord has planned for our lives, the opportunities he places before us and noticing the lovely little niceties he sprinkles around us to show us His love. His love is always around us. It’s my opportunity to let more of it dwell within me and let my eyes find it around me too. And when that happens, more of Him flows through me to others, to my work, to my walk in this life with Him. I can see that it is happening despite my weakness; I just haven’t recognized it enough. I’m worried about appearing humble and making sure I “keep the gate closed” on the sordid remnants of my past. Maybe I don’t need another few years of psychotherapy to figure it all out. I just need to wait on Him. He is leading me more than I realize! And if that means anything to you, well let’s give God the glory! Like Patsy Clairmont says in her book of the same title, God Uses Cracked Pots (1991) like me.
We all have one past. Healing the hurts from our past requires grieving, reflection, restoration, and the passing of time. But carrying it around and letting those wounds drag down the current day that has enough challenges of its own is a mistake. Cut the ties to the past and live mindfully in the present. Don’t deny who you are or your unique story. Tell it to others who need to hear . . . talk about it with your heavenly Father who has sustained you to grow you into the man or woman you are today. The possibilities of an amazing future awaits, adventures big and tiny, and we don’t want to miss them do we?
Say, I saw a gathering of robins (that signal the first sign of Spring in the Midwest) playing in a couple of feet of snow the other day when I was coming home from that doctor appointment. I was exhausted as I turned the corner in my truck and some yucky stuff happened later that evening. All of these events were in the mix of the activities of my day. The bottom line is that the robins are back! That is just sweet enough to warm my heart and the tips of my fingers in my fingertip less gloves as I type into the wee hours of the morning (until it’s time to take my final saliva sample for a lab test at the correct time interval, that is!).
Talk about cracked pots . . . JJ