Looking back

Sometimes I miss the past.

Running around outside, playing with the other neighborhood kids. 

Softball tournaments. Marching band competitions. Youth group. Common ground.

College life, living with my friends and no “real adults.” The inside jokes among friends that stayed up until the wee hours of the morning together. 

The thrill of the boy I liked looking in my direction. The first time he also showed interest in me, asked me out on a date, held my hand. The first kiss. A party with all our friends to celebrate the most significant words I’ve ever promised in public. 

The excitement and adventure of moving out-of-state with one part-time job between us. 

The certainty of finding our home in Lacey. The friends and family we made there. 

The snuggles and giggles of a tiny human who believed we were the two most important people in the world. And then even more snuggles and giggles as two more tiny humans joined our family.

The craziness of three kids under five. The fun of just running around the house with a flashlight in the dark. Or just running up and down the hallway chasing each other. 

We’re in a new season

We still get glimpses of simple fun like running up and down the hallway, but with our kids shedding their diapers and spending more time at school or with friends, I’m realizing we’re in a new season. One where they have more opinions and interests that sometimes are different than mine. It’s making me nostalgic and long for the past a bit.

But all those memories I listed don’t include the exhaustion of working a full day following night after night of 3 hours of sleep. Those moments where you just long for enough time to take a shower or go to the bathroom by yourself. 

Or taking it back further, the uncertainty of how someone felt about you, and that drop in your stomach when they said “we need to talk.” Or the fear of not knowing what to say and staying silent, being too timid to reveal what I really thought, being afraid no one would understand me.

Despite the new challenges our current season brings, it also ushers in a little bit more freedom as a family. We’re old enough to go to a movie together. Traveling isn’t quite as big an ordeal. We can have deeper conversations, sharing stories, books, and thoughts together.

God’s will for my life

I’ve said it for years and keep being reminded of it: every season seems to have its good parts and its challenges. And as I’m moving into a new season, I’m reminded of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Give thanks in all circumstances

By taking time to remember the things I’m grateful for about this season, I can remember the previous seasons fondly without longing for them the same way.

In this season, I’m grateful that we’re part of a kind, generous church body I’m excited to get to know more. 

For a husband I’ve grown closer and closer to over the years, who I feel sees, appreciates, and loves me. 

For kids that are getting old enough we can do things without a stroller and diaper bag in tow. 

For a job that challenges me and leaves me feeling like I’m using my skills to make a difference, working alongside coworkers I enjoy. 

For the extra time at night to blog, help with church marketing, read a book, study the Bible . . . okay, it doesn’t actually feel like enough time, but because of the season we’re in I feel like I have the freedom to create and learn and grow and expand my interests—if only there were enough hours in the day!

Pray without ceasing

Constant prayer is about staying connected to God. By (working on) praying continually, regularly, and deliberately, I keep my focus on Him and what He wants for my life. In addition to benefits I’m sure I have no perspective on, I can also see that when I’m more consistent in prayer, He helps reign in all the directions I want to go and prioritizes my time. 

It’s easy for me to look at all the things I want to do and feel scattered, but when I pray for peace and direction, I start to see what to do now—not necessarily where it will lead to, but at least the next few steps. I start to see some of the things to say “yes” to, and some things to say “no” to.

Rejoice always

There are always reasons to rejoice in what the Lord is doing. I can’t always see it, but I’ve seen enough evidence of Him weaving things in my life together that I know He’s at work. Even when it’s hard, I can be joyful!

Appreciating where I am now

No matter what season of life you’re in, there are moments you’ll look back and miss. I’m trying to focus on gratitude: for the seasons I previously had and how they shaped me into who I am now, for the season I’m currently in and how God’s using it to prepare me for the next one, and that I have a Father who’s guiding each of my steps in the direction He wants me to go.

God, please continue to direct my steps. Keep me focused on your priorities, not mine; on your will and desires, not mine. Thank you for the path that’s led me to where I am now and all the ways you’ve blessed me along the way. I look forward to seeing what you’ll do next!

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