It’s hard not to think about what is coming up at the end of this week. Friday night, the night New Life parents and friends will gather around to celebrate the graduation of Grace’s 2016 class. For us, it should have been a night filled with the perfect white dress (that we already had picked out in early January), the perfect blond hair (which she had already planned on having Faith do), the perfect nails (which she had begun to grow out, just for the French manicure), and the perfect evening, filled with family, friends and future plans.
I began to think about what we would be missing out on. What we no longer get to enjoy, what we don’t have. And all those feelings and emotions are normal and fine to feel, but this time, as I started to dwell on what I didn’t have, the Holy Spirit reminded me of a few things that I did have.
I did have the pleasure of raising one of the most amazing people I have ever known. I spent 17 years, side by side, with a girl who loved Jesus, her parents, her sister, her aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and almost everyone else she came into contact with.
I did have the joy of nurturing a child who was not without her faults, who struggled with some difficult things, but saw the beauty in the struggle, the beauty in the battle for holiness.
I did have the chance to walk alongside an amazing beauty, who would bend down to lift a child up and cuddle with them, but also, had fight in her, that would only well up on the basketball court.
And above all else, I did have the chance to watch my 17-year-old walk the Christian walk, unwavering and unmoved by outside pressure. I saw a girl who finished the race set before her, all the while, glorifying the One who set up the course.
I could spend this whole week focusing on what I don’t have or what I’m missing, or I could auto-focus on what I did have, the knowledge and memories of one amazing Grace.
Sometimes reality will wake you up in the morning, screaming. And when you lay your head down to sleep, reality will replay the bad over and over, like a movie reel. Sometimes reality is less reality and more the enemy of our souls, who wants to keep us trapped by only what we can see with our human eyes.
Romans 4:17 is talking about the reality of Abraham being too old to have children. The end of verse 17 says, though, that the God that we serve, calls things that are not as though they are.
Am I missing something terribly? yes…But is God still on the throne? yes
Am I sad and often overcome with grief? yes…But does God say He will turn ashes into beauty? yes
Is this going to be a hard week? yes…But is God bigger than any hardship? yes
What I choose to focus on will change my outlook. This week, as hard and sad as it may be, my auto-focus will be set to the things the Lord has told me, not the pain the enemy wants to keep me bound to. This might be a constant refocusing, it may take several times in the course of an hour, but how else do you get the perfect picture, the one that God will hang in the gallery of battle-worn soldiers, who fought the good fight, and finished the race, only to hear ‘well done.’