Friday, October 7, 2016

Focus Friday: Let's Focus on How Things Used to Be

I'm in Michigan as I write this week. I had a great day today at Breathe Christian Writers Conference and I'm looking forward to more great info and conversation with fellow writers tomorrow.

I grew up in Michigan, but we live in Iowa now. Breathe gives me a chance to get back to my old stomping grounds. In my mind, everything looks just like it did when I lived there, but whenever I get back here and drive past old familiar places, I'm reminded that time does not stand still. My old elementary school, East Elementary, was torn down several years ago. Jackson Park Pool was also torn down, and the Wyoming Public Library where I worked looks nothing like it did back in my high school days.

Gary and I stayed in Holland on Wednesday night and did some bike riding on Thursday morning. We rode to the State Park and walked out on the pier, rode up to Tunnel Park, then rode a little farther to Camp Geneva. I went to church camp there many times as I was growing up. I thought it was great when I attended, but it looks even better now. They have nice new modern cabins, but I was pleased to see some of the old cabins where I stayed tucked way in the back. 
The old cabins are not visible in this pic, but they still exist!
 After our bike ride, we thought we deserved a treat, so we stopped at Captain Sundae out by the lake.

We were surprised to see that a mini golf course and other improvements had been made to one of our favorite ice cream shops. (Seriously, if you haven't had one of their Tommy Turtle sundaes, you must try one!) 

Seeing all of these changes got me thinking about the changes we go through. Hopefully, we do not stay exactly the same as the years go by. We learn and we grow from the experiences we have, the people we meet, and the choices we make.

Sometimes I wish I could go back and reintroduce myself to people who knew me when I was younger. I was so shy in high school. I had a few close friends and I was scared to talk to almost everyone else. I started to open up in college, but I was still awkward and afraid to be myself. Our years on the farm, then at Northwestern College and Western Seminary for Gary, five years at Chandler Reformed Church in Minnesota, and now seven years in Allison, Iowa...each year seems to bring a little more growth, making me a new and improved version of myself. It's exciting to see where God is leading me and how He's changing me, but I can look back with regret if I'm not careful. 

I need to let go of that. I was the best person I could be at every stage of my life. I will continue to grow and change as the years go by. How sad it would be if I were exactly the same now as I was in high school. I'm going to forget about my past deficiencies and keep moving forward, embracing the changes God makes in me.

I'm also going to pray that they keep the Tommy Turtles delicious for many years to come.

"Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal...." (Philippians 3:13-14 NIV)

Can you see how you've changed over the years? How can focusing on God help you to let go of disappointments about your past and embrace future changes that make you more like Christ?

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