Moving Forward

9:50 AMHeather

I write in my Bible.  My Life Group teacher told us last night that some people consider this disrespectful--but I am one of "those." One of the things I like to do next to a passage of particular significance is to write the date and a quick notation about the situation that the passage addresses in my life.

You should see Isaiah 43:18-19.  It is dated July 2001 during my post partum depression.  Under that is a note about the spring of 2007 when I was overwhelmed with God's call to quit my little business.  Then, again, in the fall of 2010, as we prepared for a family mission trip to India--for which God closed, or should I SLAMMED, the door shut.  And, again, in the spring of this year as I sought God's healing for migraines, my neck fiasco and related health issues.

All that to say that you'd think I'd be well familiar with this passage.  You'd think I'd have gleaned all the nuggets of truth and wisdom from it that it has to offer.  You'd think that I could recite it, having taken to heart every ounce of meaning it had to offer.  Yeah, you'd think.  But, you'd be wrong.  Because, you see--I can be a little slow to learn....

I was just recently reading this passage again, and BAM, one particular line stood out to me.  It was that context part that totally changed the meaning.  Imagine how startled I was--considering how many seasons of my life that I had stood on this promise--yet never noticed this one particular facet.  Check it out.

18 “Forget the former things;
   do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
   Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
   and streams in the wasteland. 

In the past, I had always focused in on verse 19--on God's ability to do a new thing, to make a way, to bring Living Water to my dry and thirsty soul, to be encouraged by God's ability to lead me to new seasons.

But, how I was missing the directive in verse 18.  DUH.  And, I believe it is a key element.  My job?  Forget the former things.  Don't dwell on the past.  On my past mistakes, on past wounds, on past failures, on past successes.  Don't camp out there.  Don't build a shrine to the past and worship at its altar.  But, pack it all up, and be ready.

And, THEN, God's job?  To do a new thing.  To make a way.  To blow our minds and astound us with the "immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20) that He wants to do.  In order to move forward to the land of new things, new seasons, new and intimate fellowship with Him, I MUST forget the past and not dwell on the what was.  Today, I gotta put yesterday behind me, and let Him lead me to new places.

INTENTIONAL challenge:  As an Army Brat, I moved a lot as a kid.  Obviously, we couldn't embrace all the new and unknown until we'd packed up the old house.  From a practical perspective, this is a no brainer.  But, I am afraid that emotionally and spiritually, I box God in and miss the grandeur of the  "new things" because I keep looking back.  I want Him to move me forward, but I keep dwelling on the past.  I want Him to take me to new places with new callings, but I keep thinking about what has and hasn't worked in the past.  It's as though I keep playing with my old nasty broken toys on Christmas morning when He has a bounty of new unwrapped gifts awaiting me.  Lord, unclasp my grip on the past.  Move my heart and mind to the future.  Help me to move forward! Give me eyes to see the new things you are doing and the faith to turn all I am toward them.

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