I tiptoe across a carpet of lush grass, sweet-smelling memories cushioning my every step. As I round the corner of the building, tears force themselves into the corners of my eyes. My vision blurs. The old oak trees sway to a breezy cadence, unchanged over all the years. My little one notices the emotion on my face. You must be so happy to see your old house, Mommy. Afraid to use my voice for fear of cracking, I nod my head silently.
Are there chapters in your life that are closing too?
I haven't seen this house in years and it's nothing but an empty shell. The peeling window paint and weed ridden overgrowth reeks of neglect. My parents would never have let that happen. I can’t help but to feel a little resentment toward its previous residents, but the truth is that it doesn’t really matter. It’s not mine anymore. Neither is the old, brick school building that molded my God-given gifts into usable skills, nor the lake cottage that housed and nurtured my dreams every summer.
Torn down. For sale. They're gone.
My past dwells quietly within the walls of man-built structures, but my future lays in wait, sheltered within the promise of a forever kingdom.
I peer through the front door and into the hallway of the old house. I used to kick my shoes off here every day after school. It's familiar and comfortable to see the same funky lines of wallpaper popping back at me from the entryway. A tiny flash of a story from the book of Genesis crosses my mind.
Lot and his family were faced with an agonizing instruction when God sent them away from their comfortable and familiar home in Sodom (Genesis 19). His story is a sordid one, but something we can learn from nonetheless.
Before the city was destroyed, the angels told him this:
Now run for your life! Don’t look back! Don’t stop anywhere on the plain—run for the hills or you’ll be swept away.
Lot was scared for his family. He didn't want to leave, so he suggests an alternative plan in Genesis 19:18:
Sir, please don’t force me to go so far! You have been merciful and kind to me and have saved my life. But I can’t run to the mountains. The disaster will catch me, and I will die. Look, that little town over there is not too far away. Let me run there. It’s really just a little town, and I’ll be safe there.
Have you ever bargained with God to run to the next "little town" instead of fully trusting that His original plan is good?
God never asked Lot and his family to forget where they came from, He only promised safety in a new place. Sadly, Lot dragged his feet and his wife refused to let go. She looked back and lost faith. She fell to the ground as a pillar of salt; a metaphorical puddle of tears which comes from a lack of trust in the midst of uncertainty. They lacked vision.
Sometimes the old needs to be torn down or given away to bolster our courage to accept the new. We're all challenged to take the "next step" in our faith journeys. It looks different for each of us, but thriving requires trust that God does indeed have plans to "prosper us and not harm". Change is inevitable. His love is eternal. We have a home and it’s a forever place - one that will never decay.
So, don’t be afraid this week to do something new. Remember the past but don't be chained by it's successes or failures.
I'd love to hear about your "little towns" and "leaps" below!
Putting one foot in front of the other,
If I could just come in, I swear I'll leave.
Won't take nothing but a memory,
From the house that built me. (Tom Douglas, Allen Shamblin, and Miranda Lambert)
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jer. 29:11)
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." (Prov. 3:5-6)
Believer. Wife. Mom. Writer. Marriage and Family Therapist. Accidental Speaker. Crossfitter and Total Book Nerd.
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