On December 27, 2017, Casey and I celebrated our fifteenth wedding anniversary. It seems impossible that it has been fifteen years since we stood at my Grandparents church and said our forever ‘yes’ to each other. Fifteen years since the cold December day that I walked down the aisle…walked towards a much anticipated future with my husband.
Fifteen years since we stood together, surrounded by friends and family, worshipping and sharing communion for the first time as Husband and Wife. Fifteen years since that beautiful day.
How can I feel like that special day was just last week, but at the same time, feel like it was a lifetime ago?
How do fifteen years seem to pass so slowly? Yet, in the blink of an eye, here we are. Time is funny like that.
Time is full of seasons we think will take forever and seasons we wish would last a little longer. You know the seasons I’m talking about - college semesters that seem to drag on, nine long months of pregnancy, or potty training our children. We all, at some point or another, go through a time when we feel like we are moving through life at the pace of a snail in a Nascar race…wondering when, or if, we will ever see the finish line.
I felt like Casey was going to be in medical school f-o-r-e-v-e-r. Then somehow that long awaited day came, and I watched as he walked across the stage, finally becoming Dr. Moss. We were quickly greeted with another season that I knew would never end — pediatric residency. Yet, here we are. It’s been almost eleven years since he finished his residency program.
The snail made it.
Yet the opposite is also true. We experience days so wonderful we wish we could press pause and stay there forever. Could we just slow this day down? Could we just live in this moment a little longer? A day sitting by the ocean reading a good book or watching the sunset on a slow summer evening….If I could have slowed down time when I was rocking my newborn to sleep in the quiet early hours of the morning, I would have. If I could have just paused time as I held my baby girl, kissing that sweet precious face as she curled those tiny fingers around mine, I would have.
Time. Time is precious. Time is a gift.
We can’t predict the future…we can’t know what time has in store for us, but there are things we can be sure of. We can be sure that the hours will keep turning into days…and days into months…and the months into years. And those years will hold the story of our life.
Time is both predictable, yet full of surprises.
The last fifteen years of our life together have seen a lot of joy, a lot of pain, many milestones, things I wish could happen again, and things I would never want to re-live. This morning, I am keenly aware that the next fifteen years will hold much of the same.
In fact, this year alone, will hold much of the same. More joys to be shared and pain to be felt. More milestones to check off. We can be sure 2018 will hold more days we wish would last forever - and days we wish had never happened.
We can spend time planning and preparing for this coming year and how we will spend our time, but time has taught me that I can be certain the days will not always go perfectly. While I can’t see the details that this coming year will hold, there are things I am certain it will bring.
There are things time has taught me to expect.
I can expect that this year will bring days of laughter and days of sorrow. There will be victories, and there will be defeats. There will be new adventures, and there will be old challenges.
We can expect challenges. We can expect sorrow. We can expect opportunities to grow. We can expect the unexpected.
In the same way we see areas in our children that need to grow — Our Father sees those in us, and He’s making plans for us this year. He’s setting us up for growth. If we can see the challenges that lie ahead this year as an opportunity for Christ to do his perfecting work in us - everything changes - even in the challenge we are victorious.
When the challenges come —and we can expect that they will — our great expectation will be the growth, victory, and life on the other side of that challenge. We can expect opportunities to be perfected in Christ.
If we can see every expected challenge and hardship as a chance for Christ to make us more like Him, we will already be taking a step toward victory.
The clock will keep ticking this year. Time will keep passing. Days will come and go. Before we know it, we’ll be staring 2019 in the face. So, how will we choose to use our gift of time this year? How will we spend our hours in 2018? What will get our attention? What and who will we invest in? How will we respond to the expected challenges?
In the same way we can expect joy and sorrow, and opportunities to grow this year, we can expect that Jesus will be our anchor and our steady footing. More sure than those things, more certain than anything is the presence of Jesus in my life.
This year, I can expect that the new mercy of the Lord will greet me with every sunrise. I can expect the steadfast love of the Lord to never fail me.
I can expect Him to see me through all the expected and unexpected days that lie ahead.
When you’ve seen numbers like 6 ° and 7 ° on your weather app recently, waking up to 66 ° is like waking up to a dream come true.
Don’t get me wrong, I actually love winter, but there was something about walking out onto the porch this afternoon, breathing in the fresh warm air, and feeling the warmth of the sun that was refreshing and invigorating.
Both girls had been in their cozy flannel pajamas all morning (which, if you know us, is nothing unusual…you can find them in their pajamas most days around here! Home = pajamas to the Moss girls). When they stepped outside, they erupted with squeals of delight! Ellie Faith came running back in, “Mom, it’s like a whole different world out there!” Five minutes later, two little girls came bounding down the stairs in shorts and tank tops ready for some adventures in the warmth.
Seeing them step outside and be quickly greeted by the warm sunshine today brought some needed perspective.
We have been having a cold snap lately…I mean really cold. We don’t often see single digits in an East Tennessee winter, but this past week we did…several times, in fact.
When you’ve had days or weeks of this kind of weather, you stay bundled up — warm clothes, coat, hat, gloves, scarf - you do it all. You get used to needing all the layers when you walk out the door. What a surprise to be greeted with 60 degrees but dressed for 6 degrees!
From in my house, all I knew was that the last few days had been freezing; therefore, today will probably be freezing.
The Lord challenged me as I stepped out onto my porch, “Why do you dress for weather I didn’t give?”
Sometimes we get so used to the way things have been that we fail to notice when there has been a shift. Sometimes we stay cloaked in our winter gear because that’s what we’ve always done, but the presence of God is bursting in like rays of warm sunshine on a winter day.
Maybe you feel like you’ve been in a season of despair and anxiety, or maybe it’s been a rough season in your marriage, or maybe the challenge is with your children right now. Maybe you’re braced for the worst, and you can’t imagine that God has another plan. I’m encouraged, today, that, just maybe, the sun is starting to shine, and perhaps, we should check in with Him for our weather update.
Don’t dress for 6° when it’s 60°.
It’s just so easy to keep doing the same thing. It’s easy to keep getting dressed in the same clothes.
It's easy to expect what has always been to always be.