Time for a Re-Do
by Christine Carter
"So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off,
his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him." (Luke 15:20)
It is already 3 weeks—almost a month—into the New Year. I do have goals, as I have had every year for some time. Most of us do. And there are so many different ways to approach our lives.
We can live on purpose, trying to fulfill the purpose God has for us. We can live moment to moment, letting life direct us. Or, we can feel entitled like we deserve good things and no hardships.
Sometimes we jump around between the three. When we come to the end of ourselves, God is the only hope that remains. This I have discovered to be true, and I am thankful that God still holds out hope for us no matter what.
In all honesty, I never thought life would be this hard.
Growing up in a Christian home and going to Christian school and to church every Sunday, I developed a combination of feeling special—that the world revolved around me and my life— and feeling that God wanted my everything, which meant I was pretty meaningless and insignificant apart from Him.
This strange balance of ideals was a little confusing. It can still be confusing, and I am in my mid-forties.
So how do we navigate these ideas, how do we reconcile them?
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for harm, to give you a hope and a future”, and “He must increase while I must decrease”.
And if we want to see heaven, we must be willing to give up ourselves, our possessions, and maybe even our, brother, sister, father, or mother. Let me tell you from personal experience, it is not always easy.
Though God wants nothing but the best for us, He asks us to be willing to let go of anything else that will get in the way of our relationship with Him. How can this be?
Maybe it is a matter of trust.
Believe me, I have tried to hold onto things secretly for many years. I held tightly to my idea of how my life was supposed to be. That happily ever after ideal of a perfect home where everyone is happy and fulfilled, with 2 kids and a dog in tow. But life is messy, and my house gets messy. We aren't always happy, but we have each other, 1 12 year old son who keeps me on the edge of my seat, and 2 often brawling cats.
If I let go, what will happen?
What I have learned the hard way is that God knows what’s best for us, and when He asks us to trust Him, it’s because He does have a hope and a future in mind for us.
How much anxiety and stress could I have avoided with a little more trust?
If you feel like I do, this new year could already use a do-over. Let’s start fresh where we are. Hold on to God’s promise that He is able to do abundantly more than we could ask or imagine. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite verses from childhood.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.”
Sometimes we learn everything we need to know for life’s challenges long before we fully understand their meaning.
About the Author
Christine Carter is a working mom of a 12-year-old active son Marquis and has been married to her best friend Brent Carter for almost 15 years.
She attends Bethel: the Church at Philadelphia Mills, where she has been attending for almost 12 years.
She is currently a Quality Assurance Specialist at Gate 1 Travel in Fort Washington, PA. She resides in Levittown, PA, where she has lived for most of her life.
She is currently attending John Brown University’s online program where she is working on finishing a Psychology Degree which she began at JBU in NW Arkansas in the 1990s. She expects to graduate in May 2021.
She has always enjoyed writing, and poetry has been her method of choice. She believes that if you have a talent or a gift from God, or a desire to be used for His kingdom, He will make a way. You simply need to be willing.
You can read Christine’s Diary of a Prodigal Daughter column on the 3rd Friday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.