Do you enjoy a stroll down memory lane? Does it take you back to a happy time, a fondness, love? Or possibly it brings you to a place of anger, hurt, or even shame. Possibly the answer lies somewhere between a few lanes.
My favorite game growing up was Candy Land. I loved the colorful board and pictures of all the sweets. Each player takes turns choosing a card and then advancing to that color square along the candy path. Sometimes the surprise “treat” card turns up, and you get to move to that special “treat” square; making you feel one step closer to the end goal, the land of candy happiness. And yet, sometimes that beloved “treat” square takes you further away from your winning goal; taking you back to an unexpected and unwelcomed path.
I realize I’m possibly oversimplifying our lives by comparing it to a fun children’s game, and yet I can’t help but see different seasons I’ve gone through and think of those dreams I had as the big, beautiful, sweet Candy Castle. I remember my 21 year old self, newly married, newly graduated from college, moving across the country to a new ministry and a new life and thinking I knew exactly how it would play out. I was on my candy path to my dream castle. And then…….life happens, and people’s choices, bad decisions, heartaches, financial struggles, marital struggles, you name it, happens. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. I’ve spent many years looking back and seeing so much regret and shame and disappointment in myself and others. Thank the Lord, I am also able to see much joy and happiness and good decisions as well in other people, myself, and in relationships. I guess the reason why this silly Candy Land game resonates so well with my life vision is because I can step back in my 43 years of life and see where the “treat” cards worked out beautifully, and also where the “treat” cards sent me back packing to the starting square. But mostly, I see the different plain color cards that turn by turn get you to the next square and then the next. I’m thankful I can look back over my past now, and feel gratitude for all of my squares; even the crap ones; because it’s usually in the crappy ones where we notice God the most, when we choose to SEE Him. In the midst of our yuck cards is when we tend to reach out to Him the most and rely on His strength and not our own to see us through to the next square. The beauty of this life is in the everyday, one step at a time, healing, redeeming, life giving faith that God provides what we need, when we need it. I pray that you look back, or one day will look back, and give thanks for the extra super duper tough times; because the clarity and vision the tough times provide are an important step in our faith journey. Hindsight is a blessing. Hindsight gives us the ability to see where God worked things out for our good, so that we can trust that He will continue to work things out for good during our next round of crummy cards.
“So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.”
–Romans 8:28 TPT