Five years ago today. I look at this old picture and I see so many things. I see a guy who has always been willing to do anything for anyone, and never complains about it.
I see a lot of snow. Sitting here in the tropics I think, “That looks really nice right now.”
But I also see the girl. She’s not in the picture because she’s sitting in a warm, cozy, furnished house full of food and children—and she’s complaining. She’s tired of the snow. She wants Spring, but in the Spring she will complain about mud and rain. She thinks her hard-working, never-complaining husband deserves more than a day of snow plowing.
I look at this snowy picture and I remember the girl who knew everything, the girl with the judgmental outlook on life, the girl who felt the need to compare herself to those around her—the girl who needed to learn to be content, to serve, to love.
I see the girl who knew of grace as a word in a song, but had never learned to live in it.
If I could cross the sea and time today, I would put on a scarf and a cute pair of snow boots. I would go visit that girl and give her some…not advice, because I have learned that unsolicited advice is rarely helpful and usually self-serving.
But I would bring her a fancy coffee and say, “Hey, you know something? God sees you. He has something planned for you, and it’s for your good. He’s called your family to the mission field. But no, it isn’t because you’re anything particularly special. It isn’t because you have any special talents or because you are a highly spiritual person. You can’t save anyone and you never will.
He has brought you from the desert to the snow, and he will take you to the mountains. You will be broken in those mountains. Your heart will shatter. And in that dying place, you will finally begin to understand the breadth and length and depth and height of grace.
He will gather your broken pieces and carry you across a sea. In the quiet, you will hear him and you will see him. You will hear and see the one you couldn’t hear and see when your mind was so full of yourself.
You will begin to fully realize that until you are emptied of self, you will never be content. Our hearts can never be content without love, and how can we be filled with love unless we really see and hear him?”
That girl, the one not pictured, would probably not listen, because she wasn’t very good at listening. But that’s okay. God knew that.
And he knows that she hasn’t fully arrived at contentment even now—because as she looks at the snowy picture from the tropics, she is thinking, “That looks really nice right now.”
But maybe she has grown a little. Maybe she is not so quick to judge. Maybe she has learned that she doesn’t know very much at all. Maybe she has learned that her worth and identity are found only in Jesus.
I know she is thankful. I know that she is sitting in the tropics thinking, “This is the life”.
And I know she is looking at a picture of her husband in the snow, thinking, “That was the life, too”.