I still remember the day that my husband and I packed up our tiny little bachelor suite in Winnipeg, Manitoba to move to Illinois where he would be doing his doctorate in piano performance. We were young marrieds and it was a huge move – I remember feeling excited and nervous. Making friends wasn’t easy for me. I wasn’t allowed to work because of the visa that we were on, so for the first time in my life I was bored out of my mind. My house was spotless and I cooked something new everyday – I’m not sure what food we ate prior to our time in the States because every recipe was new to me. I would literally wait at the window wishing Darryl home – his days were full with studies and with people. Woe was me. Yet in God’s great plan, he sent me a friend. When we met each other we I had no idea that our lives would be forever changed. Lindsay and I hit it off immediately. Kindred spirits. It did not take long for us to have deep spiritual conversations. We were so hungry for the Lord and willing to do whatever it took to draw closer to Him. Together we experienced revivals not only in our relationship with God but also in our marriages. God used each other to spur us on as we sought after Him. As a guest blogger, Lindsay finishes our study on new wineskins. Be encouraged, my friends! And yes, the count down to our spring launch party is here – 2 days! Yay! – Terrilee Friesen
– HOPE IN THE NEW BY GUEST BLOGGER LINDSAY BOUGHTON –
I love the month of January. And no, it’s not the snow and freezing temps. Ick. I have lived in the American Midwest all my life and I’m not sure I will ever love the cold. But I do love the newness that January brings. It is a chance to start fresh. It’s a time to assess old patterns and make new ones. Mostly, I love the hope that “new” brings.
Saying all that, I would love to tell you that I set a list of goals and stick to them each year. Unfortunately, I fail miserably when I set goals. I think that is why the prospect of starting fresh is so hopeful to me. I am an optimist and a dreamer. As you can imagine, that combination equals failure when setting goals for oneself!
One week into January 2019, I was able to sit down and think about the past and look to the future. I was in my Bible earlier that day and read Philippians 3:13, 14 about pressing on towards the goal. God brought this back to mind as I was assessing my lack-luster year of 2018.
But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13,14
I have been looking at my future as a reflection of my past. However, in Christ that is not a true assessment. In Christ, the old has gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). We can look at our dismal failures of 2018 (and beyond) and still find hope as we press on towards the goal in 2019. Paul tells us that he forgets what is behind him. If Jesus gave Paul the ability to forget what was behind, then surely, he will give us the ability to forget the past, too.
When we press on towards the goal, it’s not that the past disappears. We also may feel like it is still very present. The truth is, the past is in the past. Is it possible to forget what is behind? I believe with God’s help it is. Paul also says that he strains toward what is ahead. I imagine I am not alone when observing the many years of straining in my life. Breaking free of strongholds, abuse, depression, destructive relationships, etc. will take some straining. However, if we are in constant pursuit of believing who God is and who He says we are, He will set us free from our current realities.
We can move forward from trauma that triggers us to think that we are not free, or relationships that bait us to walk back into unforgiveness. Even in the deepest, darkest strongholds, God is offering us grace and forgiveness. As we bring struggles into the light, by sharing our pain with others, we are pressing on toward the goal. That goal is not an earthly one. It is a prize set before us by God himself. And that is a pursuit worth straining towards!