While dialoguing over their yesterdays with family and friends, most all have heard the expression, “Back in the day.” This expression usually precedes an introduction to an about-to-be-communicated story of former times and enjoyable memories. As of late, I have found myself pondering over this phrase, while returning to dwellings and certain eras in my life.
Recently I had the opportunity to travel home to visit family. One day I was sitting in my mother’s den, watching both her and my sister go through picture albums. Narratives began to unravel as they reminisced of days gone by. As they continued this regimen, I sat quietly and pondered intensely over many things.
Later in the day, I traveled to see additional family members. After a time of visitation, I left to return to my mother’s home. During the drive back, I found myself doing some reminiscing of my own as I passed by familiar locations that prompted various memories.
I found myself recalling those “back-in-the-day” periods and places that had marked my life in some form or fashion. Instead of returning immediately to my mother’s home, I decided to revisit some of those places where I had once spent so much of my time.
One road led me to a parking lot of a once-familiar dwelling. As I sat alone in my vehicle, remembrances of my yesterdays began to resurface. An array of thanksgiving flooded my soul for how God had grown me during those previous seasons of my life.
As I continued to travel down other previously traveled roads, I found myself driving by a mentor’s home where God had used a precious widow to teach me of His ways. On another road, I visited with a dear woman in her front yard who had meant so much to my family, and who loved Jesus more than anyone I had ever met.
As I continued to travel down particular roads, remembering dreams I had once cultivated, fun times I had shared with friends, and detours I wished I had never taken, my heart began to stir with a deep awareness and thankfulness of all that God had done for my life throughout the years, as well as the place to where He has currently brought me.
I have often witnessed people who long for those days of old and even wish they could go back. I, on the other hand, am not one of those individuals.
That was then—and—This is now.
“Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:18-19).
The place, the period, and the season God has brought me to currently has served as one of the most wonderful periods of my life.
I love the story of Ruth. After suffering a great loss, Ruth left behind everything she had ever known—family, friends, and a home—to follow her mother-in-law to an unfamiliar place. She embraced a new future instead of holding on to her past. Ruth never could have envisioned all the blessings that awaited her as God orchestrated her steps to a field where she would be noticed, protected, and provided for by a man named Boaz. Later, she was united in marriage with Boaz and blessed with a beautiful child. Through her lineage, our Savior came.
“But Ruth said, ‘Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me’” (Ruth 1:16-17).
Embracing the new thing God is doing in my life has not always been easy, but I can say with certainty that it has always been worth it. I never dreamed God would call this small-town girl to travel down the paths He has called me to travel. Yet, I am so thankful He gave me the grace to answer His call.
On the other side of God’s call to go were blessings I never envisioned.
Oh what I would have missed had I listened to my fears, my doubts, and even those voices attempting to thwart me from moving forward to the future destiny God had awaiting. I want to share some important truths that I pray you and I will both grasp and always remember.
Fear will sit you down and cause you to shrink back. Yet, saying yes to the call of God will move you forward to your destiny.
Doubt will cause you to ride the waves of unbelief. Faith will keep you anchored.
Not everyone will understand the call of God on your life.
Not everyone will support you as you move forward to the new thing God is calling you to do—some from a lack of understanding, and others from jealousy.
Not everyone will agree with your transplanting to a new place, and some may even cease their friendship with you.
But REMEMBER THIS: You and I will not stand before those “Everyones.” Rather, we will stand before God.
I learned early-on to move forward with Jesus—and leave those “Fears,” those “Doubts,” and those “Everyones” to His care.
Though none go with me—I still will follow.
While journeying down roads previously traveled, we can enjoy those memories and those precious moments from our yesterdays. I will always hold dear my precious memories, but I pray to hold tighter to the hand of Jesus as He ushers me to move forward with Him wherever He leads. For on the other side of His call to go is where I long to be more than any place else in this world.