Every summer we travel to a cabin owned by my husband’s extended family. It’s located in a remote, peaceful spot in Northern California overlooking a lake. Its very remoteness is one of the best parts of our trip: our cell phones don’t get service and there is no TV. This technology break is something I have increasingly appreciated, as I seem to become daily more tied to my electronic devices. hope
I think it is especially important for busy parents to seek out such space, in order to reflect and assess.
This year I was struck by what a powerful gift it was to have a once-yearly time to look back on the changes and events of the past year. As I hiked the paths near the cabin with our baby daughter strapped to me, I remembering hiking them last summer, unsteady with my 7-months-pregnant belly. Interestingly, then, most of my thoughts had been looking forward to this summer. What would it be like to have a new baby again? What would she be like? How would her brothers be handling the change? And, perhaps most importantly, would her dad and I have slept at all in the months since her birth?!? hope
I had no idea then, of course, that two short months after we arrived home from our trip and just two weeks before I gave birth, that I would be diagnosed with breast cancer, that the ensuing year would be filled not only with the milestones and blessings of the first year of our daughter’s life but also with the milestones and trials of cancer treatment: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. hope
I kept thinking about all my worries and anxieties of the past summer, and I wanted to tell that former me that she was worrying about all the wrong things. Yet I also wanted to reassure her that things were going to be fine. Because, oddly enough, that pre-diagnosis me was a lot less peaceful that the post-diagnosis me. I don’t think it would be much of an exaggeration to say that I am a different person than I was last summer. God has taught me so many things—about grace and hope and reliance on Him–and in the process I have changed, hopefully more into the person God designed me to be.
It’s a cliché, yes, but what a difference a year makes. hope
It’s a valuable thing, to take the time to look back and see where we were and compare it to where we are now. I’m not talking about New Year’s Eve resolutions where we resolve again to lose weight or finally get organized. I’m talking about assessing where we are on the path to Christlikeness, the path that all Christians journey.
Because if we are following Christ, then we should be changing year by year, becoming more like him, demonstrating more of the fruit of the Spirit. As it says in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
Even though my journey has had a lot of switchbacks and even moments where I felt I might have reversed direction entirely, when I reflect I can see that there has been real progress too.
When’s the last time you paused to notice how far you’ve come?
Click on Julia’s book, Mom Seeks God, to read more or order a copy.