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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


 

Daily Boost

August 22, 2012 - That’s So Yesterday

By James Meredith

My experience growing up was not what many would regard as typical — yet it was far from unusual. My mother was a single parent from the time I was 3. Times were often not easy for her, raising two boys on her own. (My brother, Jason, is about a year younger than me.) There were ongoing financial struggles, even as she grappled with feelings of loneliness and abandonment. But perhaps most difficult were the spiritual battles that often left Mom floundering (to use her term) to find a walk with God.

Yet this dynamic was not isolated to our situation. My mom’s own mother had a difficult upbringing. Growing up during the Great Depression, she came from a family situation that left her orphaned more than once as a child. Then, when Grandma was 13, her mother died, and she found herself parentless. While she enjoyed the support of loving siblings, her early years were far from what most would consider preferable.

Death. Divorce. Abandonment. Turmoil. One might look at such a legacy and conclude, quite bluntly, it is a recipe for dysfunction, confusion, bitterness, and perhaps even spiritual disaster.

But God had other plans for our family. And, indeed, for me. Grandma entered a powerful relationship with Christ when Charismatic renewal swept the nation during the 1960s and ’70s. Ultimately, she became something of a matriarch to me and the family. In the latter years of her life, she talked of how Christians in the little town where she grew up related how they’d prayed for her and her “dysfunctional” family. Their prayers were heard.

Mom, too, grew into a flourishing relationship with Christ, in the ’90s. Today she inspires me with her tenacious faith despite the struggles of the past. My dad, who had abandoned the family for so many years, found Christ and became a zealous believer in the last decade of his life.

Such testimonies continue to mount in my family: grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles. My brother and I are both in ministry today. God’s goodness is so profound.

Real life. Grace. Love. Peace. Those are the words I use to describe what God has done.

I believe there is a powerful lesson in this story. Our yesterdays don’t have to define our tomorrows. Too often, we allow experiences to shape our identity. We see our circumstances and surroundings, and determine what is and is not possible in our lives.

God doesn’t define the value and course of our lives by what has gone before us. Instead, He equips us for what He has in store for the days to come. “I know the plans I have for you,” He tells us in Jeremiah 29:11, “… plans to give you hope and a future” (NIV).

I don’t pretend to understand what you’ve experienced in your past. I don’t know what circumstances you’re facing today. But God understands. He knows where you’re at this very moment, and He sees the countless days that have brought you to this point. Through it all, I believe He offers a reminder: “Yesterday doesn’t matter, as long as you’re willing to follow Me today.”

May we be faithful to grab hold of God’s incredible plans for our lives, regardless of yesterday.

— James Meredith is technical editor of the Pentecostal Evangel and blogs at The Next Mile (jmeredith.agblogger.org).

 

 

 

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