Monday, September 17, 2012

7 years: A Lesson in Thankfulness

downtown Madison, Wisconsin 

This past weekend I returned to my home state of Wisconsin to visit family and friends. It was a wonderful time, especially because I was able to feel the first winds of fall. Fall is my absolute favorite season and is one of the things that I miss most since I have moved to Phoenix. I often find myself pining for fall and then it drifts into nostalgia for my more carefree undergraduate years.

I was able to visit my undergrad campus with some friends for an hour or so and as we were driving up, I braced myself for the wave of emotions that were sure to wash over me. This was the place that I really learned who I was and who my friends were. This is the place that I truly came to know the Lord. Many will surely attest to the magic that is often the college experience and I often miss it. I miss living in a house with 6 others girls and no heat and I miss the excitement of a new year and I miss the excitement of football games. And sometimes, I just miss the person I was then, good or bad.

I truly believe that the Lord has worked in miraculous ways since I have left college and continued into Seminary and the person I am now is more conformed to His image, but sometimes those feelings sneak in. They combine with those feelings that miss college and fall. They mix with my current fatigue and stress and make me wish things were different. This isn’t a healthy evaluation of my life, but a pity part that frankly does the Lord a great dishonor because I am not valuing where He has chosen me to be at this point in my life and the person He has molded me to be.

This weekend as I walked the campus of UW-Madison, it was 7 years almost to the day I started as a freshman. I came expecting for it to be bittersweet because I missed it so much, yet, this time, it was different. Somewhere along the way, I had chosen to honor God’s calling on my life my embracing every part of my life now, good and bad. Certainly, I miss people and those experiences, but I also value the people and experiences in my life now.  And because I had this mind shift, I was able to learn and remember from my experiences this weekend not from a place of disgruntlement but one of peace and wonder at the journey the Lord is leading me on.

As I sit typing this, my heart is renewed with excitement for the future. In being reminded of where I have come from and what a journey it has been, the fatigue of the everyday has started to melt and my heart becomes excited for the new ways the Lord will work in my life.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  (Jeremiah 29:11)