What a week—I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced so many emotional occasions packed into a seven day period. Since my body doesn’t seem to process stress very well, I often turn to writing to help the cause. I call it my therapy. My hope is that my words benefit you, my readers, in the process.
First, there was my daughter’s last dance recital on Sunday. Then, we celebrated her high school graduation midweek. To put the icing on the cake, pun intended, my baby girl is 18 years old today and joining the ranks of the adults. This may not sound like a big deal, especially if you’ve never heard Hillary’s story, but I can assure you it seems monumental to me. She defied the odds and overcame a congenital diaphragmatic hernia. We brought her home from the hospital after 88 days in intensive care following her birth. Not coincidentally, I wrote about every one of them! I think that may have been when I first discovered writing as a form of therapy.
Celebrating Hillary’s 18th birthday today is a real milestone in my mind, one that I haven’t taken for granted. During her last year of high school there was a need to go through old photo albums in search of pictures to share at various end-of-year functions. This led to quite a bit of reminiscing on other milestones in her life and served as a reminder of God’s faithfulness in the past. When the going gets tough and it seems God is distant, we would be wise to intentionally look back at the trials He has brought us through in getting us to this point. It is a great faith-building tool. It reminds me of this passage from the Old Testament:
So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.” (Joshua 4:4-7 NIV)
To serve as a reminder that God stopped the flow of the Jordan River in order to allow the ark and the Israelites to cross, Joshua commanded a man from each tribe to bring up a stone from the river. These stones would later be piled up at Gilgal to serve as a memorial to God and this mighty act of His. I studied this passage several years ago with my small group and was encouraged to collect “stones” of my own to commemorate God’s great work in my life. These spiritual markers could be any item representing the life-changing events that God has used to mold and shape me. Remembering helps keep us going when the seemingly impossible enters our lives. By looking back, we are reminded that with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)
As I look back at how my daughter’s life started and the many hurdles she has jumped along the way in her 18 years, I can’t help but think of these words from David’s prayer after the prophet Nathan shared his revelation with David regarding the building of the temple:
Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said: “Who am I, Lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? (1 Chronicles 17:16 NIV)
I don’t necessarily know where you’ve started, what you’ve been through, or how far you’ve come, but I would imagine you, like me, are able to see some significant life-changing moments in the rearview mirror, moments that God has used to shape you into the person you are today. Will you join me in giving thanks to God for bringing you THIS far? To Him be all praise, honor, and glory. Amen.
(Written in honor of the birthday girl—From your first picture to your most recent, you’ve come a LONG way, baby!)