Did anyone else watch Growing Pains when they were younger? Kirk Cameron, swoon. I don’t remember any of the episodes, I just wish I could re-watch them today, it seems fitting. If that exists on Hulu or Netflix and i’m missing out, please tell me!
I woke up this morning from a really realistic dream that painfully reminded me of a season that ended by showing me God’s ways are not my ways. Looking back I can now see all of the good that has come because God’s plans were different; but to say there is no pain or a little bit of bitterness would be lying. I knew for awhile that I wanted to write on how to look at the past with no regrets, I just wasn’t planning on that day being today. It’s a little too real, the wounds feel a little fresh again.
If we are honest we all have seasons that we look back on with a little pain, maybe even a little regret, anyone else out there feel me?
It’s also true that sometimes God takes you through those seasons to teach you, and grow you. I had a lot of fun, I was doing really exciting things, and had it not been for those moments I would definitely not be where I am today. I know God used it for good, but why does looking back, knowing it was part of God’s plan, still sting?
I was designing recently, and one of the words used in the study name was Abiding. So, naturally, because I am a closet nerd I looked up the greek word. I love the verses in John 15 that say:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.”
Abide in this context of John 15 uses the word μένω menō : to remain, abide. Not to depart. Continue to be present, to be held, kept, continually. To wait for one continually I love that, and I love the reminder of those verses.
As a believer we are to bear fruit, it is by that others will know we are Christ’s disciples. If we do not remain (abide) in Him, we are pruned, thrown into the fire, and for believers that looks like being refined. I think some seasons are like that, refining. Yet we abide in Christ. Waiting continually, not hoping he shows up, but knowing He is with us even in those “winter” seasons. We are held, and kept continually.
The painful reality of my day today was that something that started out as a DREAM threw my entire day off, I was thinking about past seasons, thinking about things I would have changed all together, and little moments I would rather forget. All in all, the memories are not bad. Yet, I let those sour notes get me down. If Christ is continually pruning me, and i’m bearing fruit, then nothing is wasted is it?
God didn’t put me somewhere and desert me, no He was with me, I knew I was where I was supposed to be. I’ve learned so much more about who He is because of that.
What if those seasons we look back on with bitterness are meant to remind us of God’s faithfulness?
That’s my word today: Abide. I choose to abide in Christ. Knowing that He has used all things for His good.
I will make the mental choice from this moment forward to not look back with anything but thankfulness for the way God has faithfully led me. I pray you do that too.
“Faithful forever, Perfect in Love, You are Sovereign Over Us.”
Now, I must finish my “i’m-sorry-for-being-sour-today” blueberry coffee cake for my sweet roommates. They’re saints for living with me 🙂 -Linds
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