In a conference I attended recently, the speaker used an analogy of the difference between a rear-view mirror and the front windshield. His analogy was that the front windshield is so much larger because it is more important that we see the road in front of us than the road we have just traveled. The over-arching idea is that our present and future deserve much more of our attention than our past. I have thought of that comparison several times since, usually when I am lamenting something in my past and trying to focus on what is in front of me.
I think, though, it is healthy for us to occasionally take a look in the rear-view mirror of our lives, see where we have come from, celebrate our achievements, mourn our defeats and get ready for the next chapter in this journey of life. It was just a few short years ago when I found myself single and on the verge of an empty nest all at once. I remember that time as being filled with much anxiety over how I would cope on my own, and I remember wondering how this could have happened to me! This wasn’t the plan I had mapped out for my life! If you know me well, you know I almost always have a plan, a list and a tote bag. Everything stays neat and organized that way!!
Looking back on that time now, I see one consistent thing. God constantly held me in the palm of his hand, much like a parent shields their young from harm. It wasn’t an easy time, and there were moments where I certainly didn’t respond as if I knew God was in control! If I look back, though, I can see He was in complete control. He led me in the paths of new wonderful friends who are accepting and affirming. He led me to a church position that was exactly what I needed to find my path in ministry again. He led my children to a great school where they have received education and instruction for bright futures. In many ways, He gave a new voice to my song and a new opportunity to share that song.
Looking ahead (through the windshield), I see another crossroad coming on the horizon. Another child is contemplating her future away from the “home nest”. A milestone birthday is approaching. Important decisions are going to be made regarding family and ministry. Honestly, I don’t have a plan. I don’t have a list. (I always have a tote bag!) I am confident of this, though, God will walk all the way with me to this crossroad, and then He will guide me along the path that is best for me. In my anxious moments, I will remember that nothing can separate me from the love of God.