Looking back is difficult while trying to go forward, so I stopped for a moment this week and let God show me where I’ve been. I took a long, loving look back at my journey and remembered with love and gratitude the events, people and places that shaped my past. I’m reading “Becoming Myself Embracing God’s Dream of You” by Stasi Eldredge, and it’s giving me a new perspective on the influence my past has on my present.
I’ve looked back before, but never in love. Fear filled my glimpses back with shame, hurt, anger, and bitterness. As a result, I’ve tripped, stumbled, and fallen flat on my heart each time I’ve dared to delve into the past. Looking back was frightening, so I learned to let it go, forget about it, and pick up my pace so I could get as far away from it as possible! What a blessing to go from looking over my shoulder in fear to revisiting memories in God’s loving presence.
Letting go is important, but looking back honestly and with love is transforming. Knowing where my journey began and the importance of those sharing it is necessary for complete healing. In her book, Stasi Eldredge tells of a missionary from Ethiopia who works with young girls rescued from human trafficking. He told her that the extent to which the girls are able to tell their stories determines the extent to which they will heal. I cried as I read that powerful truth.
Telling my story is important, but telling it truthfully with love is essential if I am to heal as God desires. I felt His transforming healing this week when I stopped seeing myself as a victim. I am a traveler. I didn’t determine my direction as a child, so the path wasn’t really mine. I was caught up in my parent’s journey, and they were doing what they believed was best for me and for themselves. I learned to make decisions that reflected theirs, and that kept me stuck in the past.
God helped me see that choices are mine now, and letting Him help with those choices is making a big difference in my journey. He always has been and will always be with me. That gives me the courage to go where He leads.
This picture was taken in October, 2007. I was on the Blue Ridge Parkway with a friend who delighted in showing me God’s handiwork. It’s wonderful to have loving companions who hear my heart because they make the journey a joy. A friend once told me that people come into my heart for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. I’m beginning to understand that truth, and it’s causing me to love in a new way. Love is about the freedom to be who I am and the courage to allow others to be the same. That understanding allows me travel with or without company. I know God will be always there to help me see the love and beauty around me. He will also help me look back in love and forward with sweet anticipation of what He has in store.