Every good story involves some kind of journey.
I’ve been thinking about my journey a lot, lately. Thinking about how in five years I’m gonna look back on this moment and remember the things I felt, the things I thought, what I did and who I spent my time with and how I lived my life, and I’ll be so far removed from those things then.
I’m looking ahead to the day I’ll look back and see how things have changed.
How I’ve changed.
How those around me have changed.
Because even now, I look back, and I’ve learned, and grown, and changed so much. Even the very way I approach life now is so different. I have different perspectives, different struggles, different voices in my life I listen to.
I’m much more of a confident person now, secure in who I am, but the way I thought I’d achieve that is so much different than how it’s actually come together.
I became okay with finding my identity in someone higher than I – my Jesus. I finally accepted that His goodness for me, His perfection – that was enough.
After almost seventeen years of having Joy for a middle name, I finally understood what joy is. I’ve learned to live a life full of it, even when simple happiness isn’t possible.
And as I look back, it’s so easy for me to smile and say the past five years have been easy, great, carefree.
But they haven’t.
Because I remember so many moments where I was so clueless; seemingly lost on my journey. So many times where I felt awkward and uncomfortable, afraid and uneasy, timid and unsure.
But all those things have brought me to where I am today.
I didn’t know what the 2017 Amanda would look like. I didn’t know I’d make it this far. I didn’t know who I’d be, or what I’d love, or what my life would be like.
But if I did know, I don’t think I would’ve had the need to trust God.
This life has been a journey for me. And I’m so grateful for where it’s brought me, even the tough moments. And as much as I wish I could go back in time, and take the younger me by the hand and whisper that it’ll be alright, that things will be okay…I can’t do that. And even if I could, I don’t think it’d be right.
Trusting God is about so much more than just believing our lives will turn out well. And frankly, we never are assured that. We’re never assured that we’ll be safe, or happy, or healthy, or have easy lives. None of us are.
But something I’ve learned, and am still learning, and will continue to learn, is that God promises us goodness, even though goodness oftentimes doesn’t mean an easy, painless life.
Instead, He promises us His peace when the journey gets rough. He promises us His presence when it seems like we’re alone. He promises us His unconditional love, even when we do things we think would deem us utterly unlovable.
The journey is hard.
This journey you’re living, right now, I’m sure there are things you’d rather not have to face. And as much as I’d love to, I can’t promise that it’ll all be okay at the end.
But what I can say is this: your struggles are a part of your story, your hardships part of the journey. And you have a God on your side that’ll be with you through it all; you’ll never face this life alone.
I don’t know what these next years will hold for me, or for you. For who can say? But whatever happens, please know this: your journey, all the pieces of your life, and even your trials – they’re all important, because they make up your story. And even when it’s tough, God promises that He causes all things to work together for our good. (Romans 8:28)
Again, good doesn’t always mean easy, but it does mean worth it.
Friend, I want you to know how loved you are. How treasured, cherished, adored by the One who created and saved your soul.
I want you to know that whatever you’re going through right now – this is a part of your story. Your five-years-older self can’t come back to tell you that everything will be alright, and maybe it won’t be as alright as you hope for it to be.
So I invite you to trust with me. Trust God, that His plan is perfect, and that His words are true (2 Samuel 22:31). Trust that His presence will always be with us (Psalm 139:7). Trust that nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). Trust that He has a purpose for our futures (Jeremiah 29:11), and even in death, we have the beautiful hope of salvation (Romans 6:23).
Trust Him through the journey.
It’ll be worth it.