Would you want to know? Your future, that is. If you could choose a certain year in your future, say, 10 – 20 – 40 years out, and get a snapshot of what your life will look like at that moment in time, would you want to know? Let’s say it would come with limitations. The view wouldn’t include any sort of understanding of what took place between now and then. It would just be an uninformed glance.
This very question was going through my mind as myself, my husband and our three children boarded a plane to Aruba to celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary. Two decades prior and we were just a few young’uns — a fresh slate if you will, full of hopes and expectations, all tied together with a healthy dose of naivete about what life would actually hold. If, at that moment in time, I received a peek into my future twenty years out, what would I have seen? What would my heart have felt at the vision?
When I look back on the past 20 years, I’m entirely humbled by God’s gifts to me and the merciful way He has unfolded each day, carefully and cautiously revealing His will for my life in ways and amounts that are just right for me. As a young newlywed, if I had the opportunity to sit with God at my side and ask Him anything I wanted about the picture before me, I have to believe I would be overcome with anxious questions, with an overwhelming doubt that I could possibly reach a place where I could handle all that He would choose to give me.
“I see three children, Lord. I thought perhaps we’d have a big family – I’m thinking six or seven kids – a houseful of chaos and love.”
“Two boys, Lord? Wow. I guess I always pictured myself with a litter full of girls. I’m not sure I’ll know what to do with boys.”
“The little girl, I see, Lord. How old is she? There looks to be a big age difference between my sons and daughter. I’m not sure that spacing is going to be for the best.”
“Lord, my daughter. She looks different than I’d imagined. Her features. The extra space between her beautiful brown eyes. Is she well, Lord?”
“Just look at my boys. They are so handsome and they both tower over me in this picture. A short 20 years and two of my three children will be grown? How do I do, Lord, as a mother? Do I absorb it all? Do I live each day or worry about what the next will hold?”
“My child. Answers to these questions wasn’t part of the deal. If you knew the answers, for what would you need me? Go now and live the life I have given you as I have instructed.”
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. (Psalm 32:8)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)
God has been nothing but trustworthy and patient with me all these years. Yet, I continue to be fearful of the future and often paralyzed by the unknown. It is a constant struggle between what I think is best and what He knows to be best.
This is going to be a tough school year for me. There’s just no way around it. My oldest is in his senior year and college is the topic of conversation. The thought of him turning eighteen and planning the next stage of his life has my heart unsettled like never before. It’s the oldest cliche in the book, but I honestly don’t know where the time has gone. I could swear just yesterday I was dropping him for his first day of preschool.
How am I to make peace with the monumental change that awaits me? I want there to be an easy answer, but I know the only answer is to continue to put one foot in front of the other and trust. Trust in His promise that He’s got it all figured out, not only for me and my life but for my children — each one owning such a big piece of my heart. I need to find the joy in each day and keep the future in His very capable hands.
I’m not gonna lie. If I was offered the opportunity to peek at a snapshot of my life in another twenty years, I’d be tempted to do so. Will there be daughters-in-law in the photo? Grandchildren? How will we all look? Healthy and well? Do I still have a head full of hair? (a legit concern at the rate it’s falling out these days.) Am I wrinkled and happy or have I let the stress of my first-world problems beat me down?
Without God in my life, I would absolutely want to know. With God in my life, I understand I really don’t need to.
Copyright 2019 Nicole Johnson