Well, here in Tennessee we set our clocks forward one hour. It’s called, “Springing forward.” It is easy for me to be hopeful this time of year because after the cold, dreary winter months when it appears most of the plants and trees have died, they suddenly burst forth with new life. The weather is warming up, the flowers are budding and blooming, and once again, I get to wake up to the birds singing. It’s a time of new beginnings.
I’m reminded of what the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:13, 14.
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
There is some danger in looking back. The Apostle Paul had a background of persecuting the early church before he was converted and really came to know the Lord Jesus Christ. I imagine it was quite painful for him to think about the damage and pain he caused, not only to the followers of Jesus, but to the Lord Himself.
I don’t know about you, but I have regrets when I look back over my life. Can we conscientiously live without having regrets? I really don’t think so. But we must be careful to not camp out there. We are human so we will mess up. (“Mess up” sounds so much better than “sin,” don’t you think?) But hopefully, we learn from those mess ups and as a result, become better people having had the experience.
Interestingly enough, today marks the second anniversary of my husband (David Hughes) and best friend’s home going to heaven…..the same day we “spring forward.” Two years ago I thanked the Lord that I didn’t have to go through those first difficult months of grieving during the dead of winter. I honestly think it would have been more than I could bear. God has shown me grace and mercy in so many ways.
Last year on this day, my daughter told me our first grandbaby was on the way. That lightened the grief of that first anniversary.
For most of today, God allowed me to see big, beautiful snowflakes float from the sky. Watching the snow fall is one of my favorite things to do. (We don’t get to see that often in Tennessee, especially in March!) It may be prideful, but I felt like the snow today was a special gift to me from God. I believe my God is that personal and cares that much for me. He showered His mercy on me in helping me to not just “get through” what could have been a very sad day, but be joyful and thankful in it. That is God’s amazing grace.
I wonder if we can fully appreciate our loved ones while we still have them with us. It is so easy to take them for granted. I wish I could have 15 minutes to once again tell David how much I appreciate and love him. I tried to do that often while he was with me, but I long to express it even more now. But I think he somehow knows that. And I believe he would feel the same way if our situation was reversed. David gave me such a gift when he told me a few weeks before he died, “Gaye, when my time comes, let me go and don’t look back. You’ve been a better wife to me than I could have ever asked for.”
So there is a fine line in reflecting on our past. If we can look back and are motivated to not make those same “mistakes” again, but rather, live more wisely, then that is good. But we if look back too long and become depressed about things we can’t change, it is nonproductive and steals our joy and effectiveness of today.
I have not “arrived.” I am not what I want to be, but I’m not what I used to be. We can joyously spring forward because, although we will mess up again, we have a loving Savior walking with us, teaching us, and guiding us, and forgiving us if we ask Him. First John 1:9 is one of my favorite promises in God’s Word.
Recently, a preacher admonished the congregation with, “Live in such a way that you won’t dread looking back.” That’s a good goal.
Keep looking up,