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Looking Back, Moving Forward

I have a little Mary Engelbreit notepad with a true picture of life on it. There is a woman riding a bicycle downhill while looking backwards. Not the best idea, you might say. Below the picture it says, "Life only makes sense looking backwards, but must be lived looking forward.

Isn't it true? If it all made sense as we moved forward, we would never worry, doubt, fear, or be confused. However, perspective is often gained and truth understood as we look back. One way I like to gain perspective is to take time to stop and read over my journals of the previous year or years.

Yesterday I did just that. I read over my journal from 2011. WOW! What a year of great victories, mountainous challenges, and abundant blessings!!! From January to December, I could read about the challenges I faced, how God was faithful, what I was learning through each challenge, and the end result of blessings! Included in my highlights of the year was discovering a 4" tumor in my colon/appendix and the HEALING that took place! That was such a great time of growth in my faith to BELIEVE that Jesus WAS and IS my Healer.

I also graduated two of my children from homeschool high school and one from college, all within less than 24 hours! My oldest became engaged to be married, my father had two heart attacks, my son on the autism spectrum did unexpectedly and amazingly well in a spelling bee, and the list goes on and on. Triumphs, challenges, difficulties, lessons and BLESSINGS! It's all what life is full of, year after year. Within the pages of my journal were things God was teaching me through His Word, circumstances, relationships and prayer. All in all, I was able to see that I am growing in my knowledge and understanding of who GOD IS,  who I AM, what I HAVE because I have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus, and HOW TO WALK in His promises and by His Spirit. It is abundant living!(John 10:10)

To start the new year, our family decided to go to Mt. Scott and go hiking. Although not the Rockies, it is a great hike for our family. As we hiked, I would share with them some of the truths about life as a journey and the lessons we learn as we are traveling along. Sometimes it was a difficult stretch, other times it was easier. When we got to the top, we experienced the joy of reaching the summit and enjoying the view. What perspective we gained from stopping and looking back at where we had traveled! I encourage you to do the same.

Whether you have journaled over the past year or not, you can stop and take time to write down a few things to help you gain perspective.
Here are a few ideas of what you may write:
    
                         *things I am grateful for in 2011
                         *lessons God has taught me
                         *things I let go of
                         *victories I experienced
                         *ways God showed me who He is
                         *new things I discovered about myself
                         *opportunities God brought into my life
                         *challenges I faced/ answers God gave

Those are just a few! I believe you will find that when you're finished writing them down, you will feel grateful and more aware of all that you have gained from this past year. The benefit will include gratitude and the positive expectation in your attitude toward 2012. Remember the words of Jesus to "Fear not"..."be anxious for nothing"..."trust in the Lord" in all circumstances. I hope that you will also consider journaling throughout 2012 so that you too will have the opportunity to read about God's goodness in your life!

My prayer for you is "that you may really come to know (practically through experience for yourself) the love of Christ which far surpasses mere knowledge (without experience); that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God (may have the richest measure of the divine Presence and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself!) Now to Him, who by (in consequence of) the (His) power that is at work within us, is able to carry out His purpose and do superabundantly, far over and above all that we dare ask or think (infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams!) Eph. 3:19,20

Cheri Blair

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