Wednesday July 13, 2011

i’ve done a lot of wandering in my life.
from Ohio, to Canada, to Kansas, to Pennsylvania.
and, a lot, alot of states in between.
this vast US of A has a lot of gorgeous, breathtaking scenery.

a lot of amazing cultures.
a lot of natural wonders the eyes can barely comprehend.
a lot of history, a lot of stories.
and, so do you
and, i.
each of us has a story to tell….
a story that begins with ‘where i’ve come from’.
who our parents are..
who our grandparents and great-grandparents are or were…
where we were born, where all we’ve lived, what all we’ve done.
and, in a lot of ways those things largely define who we are today.
for some people, that’s all that defines them.
but, for me…..and, i am probably climbing up on a soapbox in this, but here goes……

Where you’re going is more important
than where you’ve been.

when i’m in a group of new people, it often comes up in conversation, the thing of ‘what was your maiden name’ or ‘who are your parents’.
and, i’m pretty confident and proud of my heritage, and my parents.
however, when i mention my last name, and it registers that it is not your typical, and common Mennonite name, i get some pretty in-ter-esting responses.
from the looks of surprise, to the grasping at straws to connect any dots, to the realization that we cannot trace our roots to any of the same ancestors…i’ve seen them all.
and, really?
it is okay.
i’ve come to the place where i recognize that for some people, the thing of All roads lead home is of utmost importance.
i have also come to understand thru a friends once-upon-a-time comment that to some people, knowing where you have come from is very, very important and dear to their hearts, in ways that i had never thought of before.
she made me see another angle to looking at the whole thing of ‘where you’ve come from’ and i deeply appreciate her one little comment that stuck with me more than most any other thing we talked about.

when i stand before the Lord on judgment day, all my connections and where i’ve come from will matter not a bit.
i’m not saying that i live in this light and realization as much as i wish i would.
some day’s, no, a lot of days, i get caught up in the moment(s) and forget that this world is not my home.
i lose sight of where i’m going.
i forget that the people i interact with are on a journey of their own, and where they are going should be more important to me than where they’ve been.
i forget to look at my children in light of eternity when they have exhausted and sucked the life out of me in ways that i think i might not recover from.
i let the little things of this (momentary) life become the big things.
i worry about tomorrow.

but, thankfully, i serve a God who gives me second, third and fourth, however many, chances.
He brings a person, or a situation into my life that slaps me back to the reality of what life is really about.
and, He reminds me that while my life may feel insignificant or of little account, my story, my life can, and is impacting someone, somewhere.
whether it’s my children (and, it is!) or my spouse (and it is!) or my neighbors, or my friends that i rub shoulders with, someone is in some way being impacted by the life i live.

and, while i know that where i’m going is much more important than where i’ve been, where i’ve been can also be of impact and encouragement….
if i let Him and His works in my life shine through.

i’ve thought alot about Lot’s wife the last while, and how she looked back on what she knew, what she loved, where she wanted to stay….and, look what it got her.
she became a pillar of salt.
and, really?
i think it’s in each one of us to have a little of that tendency to want to look back, to want to go back, to want to stay where we’ve always been, where it’s safe.
but, as we do that, we become just like Lot’s wife:
salt that is stuck in one spot looking at where we’ve been and forgetting to look forward to where we’re going.

a couple of times in my life i’ve been involved in groups where we have individually shared our life stories.
the first time i did so, i was not really sure how much to share, what angle to come at it from, or what mattered.

but, as i sat down and thought, as i wrote and as i relived a lot of my past, it was good for me to recognize where i’ve come from, what i’ve come thru…..
and, to think about where i’m going from this point on.
to think about where i have belonged.
to think about where i belong now.
to look at my past and present and realize that belonging is a part of life.
but, the greatest sense of belonging i can ever know, ever wish for, ever share with anyone else, is…
belonging to Him.



22 thoughts on “Wednesday July 13, 2011

  1. I went back and read this through twice.  My dear Rachel, how much I love and respect your spirit!  I have been thinking so much about eternity these days.  Reading Hebrews 11, the lives of the saints before us, and how the believed without seeing the promise fulfilled, how they were pilgrims who knew their real home was in heaven, and because they were not ashamed of their God, He was not ashamed to be called their God.  How much I want this for my life… this one, short life that is temporary, but matters so much.  I keep asking myself… what really matters in this life, what is important.  That I weigh 5 lbs less?  That I have one more dress in my closet?  That I know the names of all the latest and greatest designers?  I had to smile at your opening comments.  I have experienced the exact same situation countless times!!  I am having a conversation with a sweet older lady and she is looking at me with curiosity.  I can tell she wants to ask me that all important question, “Now who is your family dear?”.  I smile and tell her, her mind is spinning until I say, “My family is not German Baptist.” 

  2. Great Post and I can relate to this…really in the end it does not matter who your parents, grandparents etc are. We belonging to Jesus is all that matters! Thanks for sharing and I am gonna read it truely is refreshing!!! Have a great week! Linda

  3. So lovely, Rachel. I read each word carefully. And wished at the end that I would have read and grasped this years ago… I’ve been in Georgia almost 5 years, and it’s only been in the last year that I feel that I’ve really accepted being here… I wish I would have grasped long ago that it’s not about who I am, but about who GOD is. No one knew me or my family when I moved south, and it almost felt like my life started over upon moving here. And knowing that this is probably where I’ll be long-term made it harder. Throw in a new marriage and adjustments with that… Um, yeah. Not pretty.  I love what you wrote here… You have such a beautiful heart!Oh, and I LOVE the picture of the Bible/coffee mug/scrolly table!!

  4. One of the reasons why I like the song “Blessings” that I have on my site is that she sings at the end that  “this world is not our home”.  When I feel a certain way, lonely, sad, frustrated, disappointed, etc, I am trying to train my thoughts to be aware and thankful that life here on earth isn’t all there is.   And isn’t it wonderful to know that we belong to Him?  So safe and gentle, He is.Have a wonderful day!

  5. Rachel, thank you so much for sharing these thoughts today. So often in the past and even deep down inside the thoughts and expectations of others keep me captive…in not being able to look ahead in faith knowing that i’ve come from somewhere on this journey and i’m heading somewhere…but ultimately my life is in His hands and my ultimate journey is eternity spent glorifying him. lately i have been struggling with just what is important in life…if we are all to be about glorifying GOd and making His name known…how am i doing that and is there something wrong with my desire to do something out in the world…if my purpose is not to make him known in that. and if that isn’t my purpose then how can i live so that is my purpose..its alot to think on. but i’m so thankful that he has me in HIS hand…because life would be so overwhelming otherwise. I am so thankful for you and the way which you share so deeply from your heart (and i didn’t think it was a ‘standing-on-a-soapbox’ entry…i found it rather refreshing!!

  6. Amen to what others wrote. ^^^  Loved what you shared, and that you took the time to share it.Our past is part of us, but it does not define us.  Thank God!

  7. I know this post was truly inspired because it speaks to everyone, even those thatare not familiar with the whole, “who were your parents?” type questions… I’m very familiar with those! Just recently I was doing a lot of looking back because we are moving again… I’ve moved nearly every three years my entire life, from one end of the country to the other… experienced all kinds of cultures… and now I’m about to experience one on the other side of the world, Japan. I know it’s going to get lonely and it’ll be tempting to look back… So Thank you for this encouraging, inspiring sharing of your heart!

  8. i always wanted to belong. big, big word for me. and tricky for so many years the way that i defined it.deeply meaningful post rachel. every word. (and you totally have me curious about that friend’s comment.)

  9.  There are many days I still feel “the culture shock” from where I came from. I wish SO often it would go away, but I am beginning to believe it stays “there” for a reason. (to help those who are there perhaps?)  Maybe I want it to go away too badly? ……because it looks SO ugly. This IS beautiful, thanks for sharing.

  10. i found your blog about a year ago, and i love how you  are so real, i can see your Jesus in your blog. I also love all your garage sale finds, and decor ideas.  Keep it up!

  11. I am so glad I read this Today!  I went slow through each word and soaked it in.I often think of the hymn Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus….when we look full in His wonderful face, the things of this world will grow strangely dim….and they do!We just need to stay focused, but it’s SO hard sometimes!!!Enjoy your weekend. =)

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