I had no idea 10 years ago that my life would be like this.
I had no clue.
I was simply a college graduate.
I was educated.
I was a grown up. (H&1/2 anyone???)
At least that's what they said to us on the lawn of Dowdy-Ficklen stadium.
And as I hugged my friends and as I packed up the rest of my belongings in our apartment, I remember taking a deep breath.
Ready to move on, ready to move ahead, ready to start living.
I had no idea that I was already living.
I had no idea that I would end up back in my hometown. I had no idea that I would marry that guy I had just started dating (again). I had no idea that I would follow him from place to place until we settled back in the town I had ran away from years ago. Ran away from words that had cut deeply. Ran away from people who were most unkind. Ran away from the unkind words I had spoken in anger. Ran away from the fear that I would never be as good as I wanted to be. Ran away from the fear of letting people down. Ran away from letting myself down.
I had ran away from broken hearts, broken friendships, broken me.
I didn't know, but He did.
He knew those friends I made would resurface again years later. He knew that broken relationships would be mended. He knew the town that brought me my lerve, my education, some of my dearest friends, and my ability to stand on my two feet--He knew we'd become reacquainted sooner than I expected.
If I had known, I would have stood there with arms wide open ready to receive it all.
But, of course I didn't. Because I was too busy looking forward to life starting. To the beginning of something new. To starting over from scratch. To moving on to the next big thing.
When all along the next big thing was occurring every single minute I breathed.
Our next big thing happens every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every lifetime.
Psalm 138:8: The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me.
Instead of focusing on the ahead, let's focus on the right now. This is His purpose for you. This morning. This place you're in. This season of life. This is His Divine Design for you. He knows you. Psalm 139. He knows your life. He knows your plans.
This life, these troubles, these joys--they are not accidental occurrences. This is His will. He wants you to learn from this. He wants you to go through this.
This is His design. And if we are His people, and if we agree that He is good, and we agree to listen and to follow Him, then this time, designed by Him especially for you, is for your good.
I have endured many experiences and trials to get to this place. I had no idea at 22 that one day I would be a mom to two adorable girls. I had no idea that I would teach in all the places I've taught. I had no idea that I would walk through post-partum depression. I had no idea I would live here. I had no idea we would attend a church that had just started meeting at the local Boys and Girls Club. I had no idea I would say goodbye to friends through moves, life changes, and deaths.
I had no idea. But I am thankful to be here, and I'm thankful for the path I walked (and sometimes crawled and sometimes needed to be carried) to get here.
I think about many of my students who have recently graduated. Excited to move on, move away, move forward. Thinking they are leaving these days behind. Thinking they are leaving those people behind. Thinking they are leaving it all behind to start over.
But the truth is, your life is happening now. Take ahold of it. Own it. Embrace it.
Psalm 139:16: All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
You aren't starting your life over, you're just continuing down the path.
Be thankful for this day, for the days behind you, and for your days ahead.