People say hind sight is 20/20. Perhaps there is some truth to that.
As this chapter of our lives in Seattle is coming to a close, I wanted to take a moment to glance in the rear view mirror and reflect on the past 4 years of my life.
Grace and I got engaged on Sept 19, 2003, about 4 years ago. Since then we've gotten married, moved to a foreign country - I mean, Washington, made new friends, said goodbye to old friends, went through 2 pregnancies, bore 2 children, bought our first house, fought cancer together and the list could go on and on. In all of this, my faithful wife has clung to my side sometimes laughing, sometimes singing, sometimes crying and sometimes dancing. When looking back the temptation sometimes is to play the game of "what if" and dwell on the negaitive. What if we had lived here, or worked there, or bought that house, or did this differently?
The reality is that I can't change the past, but I can change the way I see it. History can be used as a tool to help me properly focus on the future. I don't mean focusing on the next place to live, or the next place to work, or the next house or any of that. What I mean is that I should use the past to help me set the direction and vision for the future. The next place to live, and the next job, and the next house will naturally fall into place within that vision.
If I'm driving a car down the freeway and I keep my eyes focused on the rear view, I will inevitably end up in a wreck. But if I use the rear view properly, I will glance back every now and then to see my position, and then refocus on the road ahead so I can make it safely to the destination.
Here are just a few things that I have learned, and resolve to do better looking forward:
1) Love and obey God with all of my heart, not just with my actions. It would not necessarily please God if somebody asked me why I gave money to a specific need, and my answer was "because the bible says so". Doing Christian things in and of themselves don't please God. But serving God joyfully from the heart does. God has really taught me a lot these past 4 years while attending and serving at Grace Bible Church. I especially think of Dave and Gale Light who were always there for us. Spending time with them over dinner, or after bible study, or after Sunday school and seeing how they didn't just want to do the "christian thing". They wanted to understand the bible and obey God from the heart, even if that meant that people would call you crazy.
2) Be a man. Providing for the physical needs of my family isn't enough. I need to lead my family and point them to Christ as their sufficiency. I need to be a husband who really knows my wife and children and desires to shepherd and protect them. Having lunch with the Luses after church, or observing Chris Green bring his sons with him to work at the memorial store, or watching Jesse Germick interact with his children in our kitchen are just a few examples of how I've learned so much by seeing the bible lived out through families over the past 4 years. I trust that the Lord will continue to grow me in this area while living in Minnesota.
3) Live rich. Those who know the Lord intimately, know that God teaches His children so much through trials. The past 4 years has had some difficulties, but each of them has been a rich blessing from the Lord. Yes, even cancer. I don't ever desire to go through treatment again, and I wish others never did either. But if you've read our cancer blogs, you've seen how much we've grown through it. It has been good for our family to rethink our priorities, and focus on what really matters in life. Our hardships have not made us rich in wealth, but rich in love for God, and for people.
Dave Light, Gracie and I at our going away party
Our Sunday School Table
Our last sunset
Our last dinner with the Abbotts