This year on my husband’s birthday, we went to hang out at my parent’s house. After we finished singing happy birthday and eating cake, we decided to go for a walk to the nearby ballpark. I spent a lot of time at this particular park as a child. My mom told me when I was a baby, I got hit in the head with a baseball during a game there (I hope God convicts you if you’re laughing at me. Just joking!). I have so many memories there of skinned knees, getting goodies at the concession stand and sneaking down to the river when I wasn’t allowed. As I grew older, the park seemed to get smaller and less exiting. However, I still enjoyed walking down the paths and sitting on the benches overlooking the river. I especially loved sitting there with my son’s late father 15 years ago.
This particular time, I took note of how much it changed over the years. Many things were added and many things were removed. Even though I still visited often, I never really paid attention to all the differences. I guess I was too busy since my life was being transformed right along with the park.
That bench my daughter is sitting on in the photo above is the same bench that my son’s father and I would sit on. It’s the same bench where my hopes and dreams seemed to drain out of my body through each tear I cried as I sat there pregnant, helpless and lost in the months following his death. And now, I see my beautiful two-year-old daughter sitting there as the sunshine peacefully washes over her. The baby girl I’ve always wanted. I hear my tender-hearted and rambunctious 4-year-old son laughing as my amazing husband chases him around the trees. Our teens are off in their own worlds and too cool for us now days, but they are also our greatest joys. Their wise comments during our deep discussions about life never cease to amaze me. We couldn’t be more proud of them.
Typing this brings tears to my eyes. What once was a place turned from fun childhood memories to darkness has now been redeemed. What once was a life full of pain, hopelessness and desperation has now been restored. God has given me life and He has given me life more abundantly. Each smile that spreads across all of our children’s faces and each “I love you” that comes out of my husband’s mouth are not taken for granted. I soak these little moments up. They are His gifts.
Could I go through another difficult season in life? Absolutely. Jesus said we would have trials and sorrow in this world. But He also said to be courageous and take heart because He has overcome the world. See, back then I didn’t have the knowledge of Christ’s redeeming love like I do now. I mean sure I’ve always believed in God, but the depths of life, death and everything in between held no true substance to me. It wasn’t until I got to know Him personally when everything truly changed. I had to get to know Him not for who the general world said He was (or wanted Him to be for that matter), but for who He truly was and currently still is. He was never a crutch and surely was never some fairy tale of the sky (in fact, it takes more faith to believe in evolution than it does to believe we were created by something higher that requires no creation itself).
I now stand proudly and confidently declaring (and whole-heartedly believing) that He is my Rock, my Salvation and my Redeemer.
If you’re already aware of His redeeming power and love, give Him some extra praises today. If you do not yet have an active relationship with Him, give Him a chance. Seek Him persistently with an open heart. Look around…all this stuff is only temporary. Choose boldly to invest in something eternal – Something that loves you more than you love your loved ones… Something that loves you more than you love yourself. Life is so much sweeter with Him. Believe me.
I pray you were blessed and encouraged!
The bible is rich in powerful wisdom, beautiful analogies and inspiring stories that help us to better understand God’s character and successfully grow in the midst of life’s ups and downs. There are so many scriptures that tie into what I shared today, but I will leave you with this one for now.
“God can restore what is broken and change it into something amazing. All you need is faith.” – Joel 2:25
I encourage you to mediate on them throughout your week. Study the context. In addition, pray for God to show you exactly how you can apply them to your life now. Nothing is too small for Him to use; you just never know what He’s up to! And as always, I am on this journey with you so let’s do this!