Sunday, January 1, 2017

forever is a long time




Writing has always been a love of mine.  And it is even more so when I have music to inspire.  As the first day of the new year has been approaching, like so many of you, I've been thinking about how to begin it.  I've wanted to put my thoughts down as I did here a year ago and reflect on what has been and I hope will be for the days ahead.  The title of this post has been rolling around in my head for quite a while.  At times the words have brought me a little angst, but many times they've brought peace.  As I sat down to write this afternoon and turned on Pandora to my "Quiet Worship"station, It Is Well With My Soul was the first song to play.  Couldn't have been more fitting.

Growing up, Mom and Dad did some really great things as parents.  One thing I have appreciated as an adult is the value they always put on forever.  Of course their expectations for me were set at times with the "Beacause I said so," phrase we have all heard.  But more than that, they really ingrained in me the idea of how might my decisions matter in a hundred years.  Giving rules and boundaries for the sake of them really wasn't their style.  The bigger picture was always the setting, and so when it was time for me to leave their home, I had already learned to think through life with the larger impact in mind.  Does that mean every decision I made was right? Heaven's no.  And please know that those last two words should be bold-faced, quadrupled underlined and in 150 font.  But a compass had been established, and I'm so glad I didn't have to start the journey of finding my way at 18.  

Last week during our stay with family, my grandmother sat me down and gave me a box that contained the necklace you see here.  She had the wedding bands she and my grandfather chose on their 20th wedding anniversary and the cross pendant Popie gave her on their 25th soldered together to give to me.  Of course, I was an immediate puddle when I opened it up.  To see the band I remembered vividly on Popie's finger for most of my life now forever connected to my grandmother's along with the cross... well... there are just no words.  It moved a deep place in me that I can't explain. I've worn it every day since.  It's as though I inherited this tangible piece that embodies forever-ness. A real representation of what our family has experienced since my grandparents married in 1946. Lives lived together in good and bad times, yes, but built in unity upon the One who is forever, for forever.  It's what matters.

Last year I began a campaign I called, "Before My Feet Hit the Floor."  You can read about it here. It didn't take long for this small, tiny practice to become a habit, and now I crave waking up to see what God has to say to me.  Exactly one year later, I continue to hear His voice every morning. So many, many times, it's as though the words on the screen were meant just for me.  They speak to my life at that very moment, they bring comfort, they challenge, they forgive.

In this new year, I'm committing to remember the setting in which my thoughts, my actions, my words to my boys and John and the world reside.  As my parents taught me to do throughout childhood and especially those difficult teenage years, I want to think about the bigger picture, In a hundred years... I want it to come before I respond to a loved one when frustrated, before I make a big life decision, or before I choose even the smallest of options.  In a hundred years... What would happen if that preempted everything?  What kind of wife would I be?  What kind of mom?  What kind of daughter of the King? Perspective.  It would certainly put things into perspective.

So as I lay down my head tonight, I will begin this new endeavor.  I committed to one last year that challenged me the moment I woke up.  This one will close out my evenings of 2017. Whatever is on my heart for the day, whatever is rolling around in my brain that sometimes won't quit, whatever is keeping me from living in the peace God has called me to, I will look at it from the larger vantage point.  Because in a hundred years, it may or may not matter.  In a hundred years will be my forever and that is a very, very long time.  And when my forever matters to me, then it naturally affects the forevers of those I love and of those I might not even know.  And that is what will really matter in a hundred years.

Love and light to all in 2017,
Jen