What a difference a decade can make. A decade ago if you had told me I’d be where I am today I would have laughed. Not me. Then life flowed, a miscarriage, a failed pre-adoptive placement, a divorce, two kids diagnosed with special needs, and I stopped laughing.

A decade ago I thought I was a great parent. A decade ago I thought if I was doing something good, surely God would bless it with success. A decade ago I thought the reasons we search for to validate our pain might be found in this life. A decade ago I thought one person could carry a marriage on their back alone, and I’d have judged you if you hadn’t. A decade ago I thought relationships were black and white.

In the blink of an eye, ten years passed by and now I know. I’m not a great parent, but I am a good one. That sometimes, more often than not, it isn’t about the success or failure of the good thing I’m doing, it’s about the good thing He’s doing in me through it. And the only thing that validates my pain is exactly that, the thing He’s doing in me. Relationships, all of them, marriage, kids, friends, just aren’t that black and white, at least not in the way I saw them before.

I love more freely. Forgive more quickly. Skip the accolades and say what I mean, but with a lot more grace. I hold my judgement and my tongue. When I think something nice I say it, because we all need to hear it. And when the clouds roll in I try to look past them, through the rain drops running from my eyes.

Jesus said that he came to give us abundant life. A decade ago I thought that meant so many things. Now I know. Abundant life isn’t just for later, it’s for now. Looking at my life through him there is a fullness and a wholeness that runs like a thread through all of the broken. I’m pretty sure that’s what he meant. Nothing is fully healed, fully fixed, but there is still life in the midst of it all. There were days I was alive but not living. Jesus promises that we can be alive, even in the midst of so much death and destruction. A decade ago I didn’t believe that. Now I know. Who knows what another decade may bring but I can tell you this, my life won’t look the same, and neither will yours. The season may feel long but I promise there is life in it and after it. Sometimes we are just looking for life in the wrong places. It doesn’t come where we think it will but it’s there I promise.

Ten years. A new man. New life. Gifts I never imagined I’d be enjoying. They are sweeter now than they would have been before. Suddenly, I’m finding joy where I don’t think I’d have seen it before. Joy isn’t what I thought it was and it resides in my soul alongside the grief that still runs deep. Who knew what a decade could do? He did. And He’s holding the next decade too. Not just mine, He’s holding yours too.

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