Isaiah 43:18 “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.”
I’ve collected a lot of dates through the years. Some are happy days and treasured events such as my wedding day, my mother’s birthday, my college graduation, and the very special day that my daughter was born. But my calendar is also filled with a lot of painful dates. And it seems that there is not a month that goes by that I could point to some specific day of the week which would be the time we conceived one of our nine children, the time that he or she would have been born, the doctor’s visit I found out baby number three had no heartbeat, the moment I found out I was pregnant for the first time, the date of my D&C, etc… I could go on and on.
There are a lot of painfuls days that litter my calendar. And I can tell you that at one time I narrowly focused on those days. I had tunnel vision, and they were all I seemed to notice. I’d forget my friend’s birthdays, the anniversary of my parents, the day of Scott and I’s first date took place. While those days would blow by me with no recognition, I knew every date that my unborn children were supposed to have entered this world. I mourned every time the month came and went that Scott and I had conceived. And every month I convinced myself I was pregnant (up until the day came I wasn’t), I was all ready on an due date calculator on my computer… charting the arrival time of the baby I was certain was in my tummy! Seriously, I look back now and wonder how I managed to live my life. With so many dates that I was obsessing on… it sure didn’t leave much room for me to think about the present or future.
The truth was that dwelling on the past kept my eyes off the blessings God had waiting for me. Every sad moment was like a knife to my heart and fuel for my resentment. I became a master in the art of brooding, and along with that, I also received degrees in bitterness, anger and shame. It took quite a bit of time, but God slowly and gently worked on freeing me from the enemy’s stronghold.
The last couple days I have had two conversations with friends who asked me how I cope with all the sad dates. All I can say is that there did come a time when I realized that the more I focused my time and energy on hearing God, trusting His word, learning more about His grace and goodness, worshipping His name, praising His works and pursuing His works… the less time it left for me to dwell on what would have, should have and could have been.
It wasn’t long before I abandoned the bookmarked “due date” calculator. Months drifted by, and I never once thought about a conception date or the anniversary of yet another miscarriage. I began to notice my days were filled with happiness instead of sorrow. And while I still have to chart a calendar for conception purposes, I no longer look into the past to fuel my energies in any way shape or form.
In my experience Proverbs 24:14 is good advice and was so true for me. “Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.”
When I stopped dwelling on the past… I started learning more about God. The more I got to know Him, the brighter my days became. The more joy I felt daily, the more hopeful my future seemed. And when I stopped consuming myself with controlling my destiny and let God be author of my future calendar, the more I became blessed.
Today I can look at my date book and record all the days that are meaningful to me and bring me joy. I can look back at my wedding day as I am celebrating a blissful future with my husband. I can think of my sweet sixteen party on the day I turn 41 knowing it was that day in my past that I felt so special and loved. When my daughter turns two in November, I am sure I will recall the day I held her in my arms for the very first time.
I can look at the days of the week on my calendar and know that I don’t have to feel sad and regretful of the painful moments. Every will experience the death of someone they love, and while it is normal to grieve, God does not want us to endlessly dwell on the loss. I don’t have to carry in my mind and heart all those days and make them baggage that I carry around with me. I will never forget being pregnant each and every time. But now I choose to focus on the present and be thankful that there will be a day in the future all ready chosen by God that I will get to hug and personally meet each and every one of my wonderful children who are waiting for me in Heaven.