Can You Go Back in Time?

Jen’s Gem: God will never give up on you!

The other day I returned to my old neighborhood to visit a friend who’d just had a baby. As I drove down the street that I resided on for twenty-three years, I felt like a stranger, an intruder actually. Pulling into her driveway instead of my own was even more surreal.

I glanced at our old house and saw that nothing much had changed. A few planters dotted the landscape and the grass was in serious need of mowing. The azaleas and rhododendrons had bloomed and a mammoth grill was on the deck. I hope the new owners are enjoying it as much as we did.
Of the three of us, my daughter is the only one who misses the house. My son is happy as a clam and I am getting used to condo living. There are a b-zillion positives about it that outweigh the negatives, yet it still doesn’t feel like home to me. It feels like I am here temporarily. 

erhaps it’s the aircraft carrier air bed that’s in my living room. Or maybe it’s the lack of furniture. It could be that there are few “finishing touches” to pull everything together. Whatever it may be, I am hopeful that the newly-opened furniture stores and a few hours with my interior designing friend can make this “house” into a home.

Even as I took a longer look at my old house, I did not feel regret for having sold it. Quite the contrary. It served its purpose and much more for many years. I was especially happy that the overgrown lawn and bushes in need of trimming were not tasks on my to-do list anymore!

I thought about the person I was in that house. At first, happily married and pregnant with my children in a demanding full-time corporate job. Within a decade or so, divorced and trying to juggle it all. Years later, unemployed and launching my baby gift business. After that, another job, another layoff, another business.

During most of that roller coaster ride, my faith was practiced on an occasional Sunday morning or holiday. Prayers were said at night, grace was sometimes uttered before meals, and the name of “Jesus” called upon in times of crisis, like a stubbed toe or broken appliance.

Today is vastly different. When ownership of that house, dwindling finances, and the burdens of single parenthood nearly crushed me, God reached out His loving hand and saved me. He overlooked my paltry attempts at a relationship with Him and decided I was worth another chance.

“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

While I never broke up with God during those tumultuous years, we were like Ross and Rachel from Friends, “on a break.” Like Ross, I had to sow my oats and see what life was like without God running the show. I suspect God was feeling like Rachel, sad for the loss but hopeful of my return.

t took a crisis to get me back, but then again, God will stop at nothing to ensure His kids return to Him. He will allow certain things to happen in our lives so that our eyes will turn upward. While I don’t wish to go back in time to those murky days, I’m grateful for them because without my faith in God and His Son, Jesus, that home and all of its crushing responsibilities would’ve killed me.

Today when hiccups occur – and believe me, they do – I have a friend I can call upon. He’s always there. Never a busy signal. Never an “I’ll call you later” auto-response to my text message. His response is more like “What’s up Jen? Let’s talk.”

What an unimaginable blessing this is! Peace in the storm. Strength in the crises. Wisdom in the decisions. Joy in the promises. Every single time.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

I remember very clearly my personal “state of the state” when my children and I lived in that house. While my physical state right now is a bit in flux as we continue to settle in, my spiritual state, my faith in God, is rock solid. Everything is in its place, despite air beds and partially furnished rooms.

My purpose now, in addition to supporting my family, is to tell as many people as possible about this transformation. It’s why I wrote my book. It’s why I continue to write this blog. It’s why I will soon launch my podcast.

Those who have heard me speak of my walk with God want to know more as they crave the peace and joy I talk about. In the past, when I stood in front of an audience, I shared my knowledge of launching a small business, blogging, and overcoming SuperMom Syndrome. Now? Let’s just say I look forward to the day when my words do more than educate you on new skill. I look forward to encouraging an audience to give a relationship with God and His Son, Jesus, a second chance. 
This week, I’d like to encourage you to let go of the past. Let go of the person you once were and be open to the person that God wants you to be. He’s not going to stop trying so if you’re smart, you’ll let Him have His way. I’m so glad I did.

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