I have an aunt who introduces me to people by saying, "This is my niece. She's so smart. She's a Technical Writer. She makes flower arrangements, and she lived in Italy.” I then must explain to said stranger what I do in my career, because as impressive as it sounds, no one knows what it is. I then have to clarify that living in Italy was almost a decade ago, and I don't speak Italian. It's so funny. This happened recently, and I found myself secretly frustrated with the sharing of these details of my past.
You see, 33 years of living is full even though not long. There were seasons where I lived recklessly sinking in sin, financial hardship, loss of friendships, and heartbreak. It's filled with so many detours and shifts that I sometimes battle with the fact that my life today looks nothing like I had hoped or planned. It's not entirely bad. It's just different. Some days the differences in my life compared to others in my peer group causes an ache, and I lose heart. If I'm honest, it makes me feel like a failure.
What I've come to appreciate about my aunt is the reminder of the good things from the past. Her words are the affirmations in my life declaring God’s goodness in my past. These memories are just as real as the less than pleasant ones.
When I was sinking in sin, God rescued me and took me on an incredible life-changing journey in Italy. It was that chapter in my story where I had space and time come to know Him more intimately and for Him to show me who I was called to be. Italy being a piece of history for my life encourages my heart today to believe that there are things that I don't even know to ask for in my future (Encouragement: Ephesians 3:20). It reminds me that just as far back as that journey was so are the sins of that 26-year-old girl (Encouragement: Psalm 103:12).
It's been in my career, while I'm not always passionate about it, I've seen increase and stability that I prayed for as I was trying to finish college. I’ve experienced unspeakable favor.
Making flower arrangements was birthed from an incredibly painful season where I needed to be pulled from the pit of depression. It was in starting this new venture that God was able to show me that just like a florist can take different flowers and arrange them into beautiful bouquets; He is the master florist. God is making all the seasons of my life, the ones laced with weeping, tearing down, death, and war; and He's replacing them with laughter, growth, new life, and peace (Encouragement: Ecclesiastes 3:1-11). One can't exist without the other, and it's this perspective that allows me to know that my past was not, and my present is not, void of His purposeful goodness.
If you're going to look back, trace His goodness in your life even in your most unbearable moments. Look back to see how God was faithful even when you were faithless. Look back and let it encourage your heart to perceive the new things He is doing even in the middle of a season that might not look the way you hoped. Be encouraged that it's His goodness that leads us to repentance, heals us when we are broken, favors us beyond what we deserve, and makes everything beautiful in its time.
My prayer for you
I pray today that you are reminded of God’s new mercy to carry you through today. I pray that you believe in His goodness despite your circumstances. I pray that you know that even if you’re walking through nothing you asked for that God will work everything together for your good. He’s just that good.”