I blew the dust off the vinyl cover and turned the plastic magnetic photo pages with care. With each lift, the sound of aged plastic being separated sent my mind back in time to when we used to place those family photos in their reserved pockets. Does anyone remember these?
The recent five and one-half months have been surreal. I had no idea that this Father’s Day would look and feel like this. There’s one less card to buy and sign. One less video chat to queue up. One less selfie to capture.
And as I sit here and type this out, I fight the tightness in my throat as the tears stream down my face.
Refusing to look at any of those old photos somehow made it possible to remember those memories in the backfields of my mind … without totally losing it. I sit cautiously deciding if I can go beyond just the first few pages.
Remembering how my dad would sit and give me advice about life … I can relive those moments like they were yesterday. He would have that solid and protective tone in his voice. My dad was all about the security of his family.
And you saw how the LORD your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child. Now he has brought you to this place.’ Deuteronomy 1:31 New Living Translation
This wilderness we call life, presents challenges that we never could have imagined, often calling us out to push through when the storms seem impossible. The battles that we face are never fought single-handedly. The strength with which we rise up to declare what is righteous and true is not of our own. Our weapons are not forged with human hands.
Yet, all this power is given us through the Hand of GOD in the workings of the Holy Spirit. And just as He protected His Own in the wilderness for forty years, He will carry us through our journey no matter how long it takes. Caring and providing for our every need. Until we reach that place we call home.
But do we remember this promise of GOD during the hard times? When things go black and we are left feeling unequipped to take that next step forward?
I would venture to say that we miss the mark on more occasions than we chose to admit — or can remember. It is so much easier to recoil and throw our hands up in utter defeat. Somehow just having an emotional meltdown seems like the acceptable thing to do. Sulk, be miserable, whine and complain … waking up the next morning with a sorrowful emotional hangover.
And like the children in the wilderness, I have at times found myself walking around in circles. Doubting if I heard GOD correctly. Wondering if I’ve misunderstood His Directives. Feeling alone in the crowd. Hoping that He hasn’t put me on hold. Forgetting about all the times He had miraculously cared for me in the past. Not looking in my rearview mirror.
And the LORD went before them in a pillar of cloud to guide their way by day, and in a pillar of fire to give them light by night, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place before the people. Exodus 13:21-22 Berean Study Bible
The ultimate in body guard protection, Father GOD hems us in whether in the dark of night or the bright of day. He promises that to His Children. Friend, it doesn’t get any better than that!
So why do we frustrate ourselves into a vicious whirlwind of mental monologue that tells us otherwise?
It would be the natural thing for me to high-five you and declare, “we’re human.” But I’m going to buck against that attitude and look to the supernatural for my rebound. It’s not okay to fold my cards and chalk up another misstep. That’s exactly what the enemy of my soul wants me to do. Yes, there is forgiveness to receive; yes, there is repentance to work out; yes, there is a reset button nearby.
There is also the conscious effort to remember His Ways as in the days that He carried us from there to here. I choose to not beat down my blessed memories of times past when my GOD showed up to show off. And like that aged plastic photo holder, it will take real effort on my part to go there. Because it’s good to remember those times. Those are not the only times GOD will make His Presence known in my life.
Did you catch verse 22 in our Scripture above? It reminds us that GOD”s protection of the pillar of fire and the cloud did not depart from His People. While we may lose hope and become discouraged by our circumstances, GOD continues to love on us and protect us.
That rearview mirror holds more that just the present day reflection. It holds a collection of experienced blessings. Moments that give us the fuel to keep pressing forward in confident faith.
My dad would look into my eyes and remind me of the things he taught me. He would tell me to use that knowledge and do well with it. Because he was certain that he had taught me how to do that — he equipped me for the task.
How much more our Heavenly Father pours into us, like the pillars in the wilderness, by day and night, leading us until we arrive?
Before you move forward, Sister, adjust that rearview mirror so that you don’t miss a thing. It will ultimately protect you along your journey.
I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~
LindaRJohnson, TitusTwo Visionary
My thoughts as I read your post, “How blessed you are to have had a wonderful earthly father!” “What wonderful memories you can hold onto!!” And then, “You are human! It’s okay!” You challenged my last thought. I still believe it is normal and expected that we would have that thought and will continue to do so until we are Home with Jesus. The challenge is to not fall back on that as an excuse to not reach for Better. Your dad would be proud. Thank you, dear friend, for sharing your experience, feelings, and conviction.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Jackie: The past will either be reclaimed for fuel to thrust us forward or pull us back into ‘park’ or worse, ‘reverse.’When we are open to the possibilities of what our past has taught us and to use the gifts we presently have (because we will be given more), there’s no limit to the positive and eternal impact we will have on those in our sphere of influence. I’m so glad this found a sweet spot with you today. (((HUGS)))
Oh Linda, how I love when you write about your Dad — even though I know how difficult it is for you right now in looking back & writing it down. But I think it’s important, not only for you, but also for those of us who are so abundantly blessed by your words. I found myself looking back (as I often still do) at my own beloved Dad & his advice to me, which I replay in my mind quite often & I “hear” it in his voice gently reminding me. I still miss my Dad – the pain of losing him so suddenly in 2009 is no longer fresh, but memories of him are.
In today’s writing, I love how you say that “the rearview mirror holds … a collection of experienced blessings. Moments that give us the fuel to keep pressing forward in confident faith.” I love this & I thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts, experiences, and insight through your gift of the written word! You inspire me! Love, hugs, & blessings, Sister ❤️
LikeLiked by 1 person
Kathy Glor: Your words are so thoughtful and encouraging — and so, so appreciated in this season. The view and perspective that we share and for all who have these treasured memories captured in the rearview mirror of life, we live life with such great HOPE, that our experiences will breathe that same HOPE into the lives of others who may have traveled that same road. Blessings to you, Sister!