September 20th yet again. This time of year always causes me to look back on life. It seems like everything in life dates back to September 20, 2012. This last week I was walking through the apple orchard and it suddenly occurred to me that it was “that” time of year again. The time of year when there’s just a few leaves on the ground and fallish smells in the air and I stop and wonder at how different things are than they were before my sister’s wreck. I stop and remember the chaos following it, the emotional rollercoaster my family survived together, and the miracles God provided exceedingly abundantly above what we dared to ask. This year as I walked through the stickery weeds in the orchard, I had to ask…How in the world did we get here from there?
How did I end up with two sisters married, another in college, and a brother who’s half my age but tall enough he reaches my chin? How did I end up working half-days in an adorable coffeehouse, diving into a huge art course, and trying to hold things together at home? How did I end up knowing I need to make changes before I destroy my digestive system altogether, but no energy with which to do it? How did I end up wasting so much time? And how in the world did I end up with this much selfishness and pride and trouble saying things I shouldn’t? Three years can do crazy things to a person.
When I look at where “here” is, I’m not altogether proud of it. I’ve let things slip that I shouldn’t have. I’ve forgotten which are the rocks and which are the diamonds in my life. I’ve wounded and scarred my own family with words I never thought I would dare to utter. I’ve brushed off and neglected friends, instead clinging to the ones that “get me” the most. I’ve let mental and physical exhaustion keep me from being the person God wants me to be. I think it’s good to look back on your life now and then to realize how different it is from what it was…and sometimes how different it is to what it should be.
And yet, there’s so much from the last three years that I’m so crazily grateful for. I’m grateful for God’s miracles, and how persistently He chased after me and loved me during the deepest struggles I’ve faced in my short life. I’m grateful for how He’s led and stacked one lesson on another, opened one door after another, and made me get out of my comfort zone so ridonkulously many times. I’m grateful for His patience with my selfishness and pride, and how He’s eager to teach me to let them go in favor of loving and serving Him. I’m grateful for His patience in teaching me to trust and obey even when I’m scared to death to take the leap. I’m grateful for these messy, hard, unforgettable three years. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am – and while where I am has a huge amount of learning and changing to do before it’s anything admirable, I’m grateful for it too.