"Even though there are days I wish I could change some things that happened in the past, there's a reason the rear view mirror is so small and the windshield is so big, where you're headed is much more important than what you've left behind." ~ D.I. Quotes
Three years ago this month my life changed. Actually my life went up in smoke. Uncontrollable flames reached epic heights and the smoke of what was left of my life up to that point billowed. I'm not talking some small campfire either, not even a bonfire. No, I'm talking about a raging, out of control wildfire, burning and destroying everything in it's path. This sweeping fire consumed everything, all of me, who I was and who I thought I should be. Three years later, the fire has been extinguished. Truth, for a time there I was fighting hot spots spontaneously re-igniting, area's of my life left unattended. I was lost, hurt, betrayed and abandoned. Night had fallen, the sky was black, I couldn't breathe for all the smoke and there was no way I was going to find my way out of a burning forest alone.
Let me say this, while I may have felt lost and alone, I wasn't ever alone even after losing my way. My faith, my God and those He placed in my life were always there, calling out to me in the darkness. They were there, fighting back the flames, pulling me out of the chard ashes. And when I completely lost my way, when I thought all hope was lost, gone, forsaken and burned beneath the dark, smoke filled forest, those same loved ones held up lanterns, lighting the way back home. When I thought the flames would consume me, God was there. When I was overcome by the inferno, when the intensity of the fire was closing in, these brothers and sisters of mine ran in, dragging me out of the fire, speaking peace into the chaos consuming me. To this day I still cling to Rachel Platten's lyrics, "Losing friends and I'm chasing sleep. Everybody's worried about me in too deep. Say I'm in too deep (in too deep) and it's been two years, I miss my home but there's a fire burning in my bones. Still believe, yeah, I still believe. Starting right now I'll be strong, I'll play my fight song. And I don't really care if nobody else believes 'cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me." No, truthfully I couldn't understand any of the things that were happening to me. I was afraid, scared and deeply wounded. I wanted nothing more than to fade into the abyss surrounding me. I felt like a refugee, kicked around and abused in my own life and my home. I lashed out in pain and in anguish I completely fell apart, losing my mind. Still God was there, His warriors, my brothers and sisters, were right there beside me. I learned, more than anything during the wildfires of my life in 2014-2015 , "no one heals themselves by wounding another." Not even if they set the fire meant to destroy you.
Three years later looking at my life through the rear view mirror I'm a completely different woman, having risen up from the ashes, looking forward, not backwards. The truth is,"The past is like using your view rear mirror in the car, it's good to glance back and see how far you've come, but if you stare too long you'll miss what's right in front of you." And what I know is this, I've emerged from the chard ashes of my previous life, a phoenix with strong wings. The events leading up to and soon there after February 2014 through October 2015 were burned to the ground. When it was over I crawled out, a bit battered and bruised but still standing tall, resilient and regenerated in the grace of God. Abiding in His light I've become a strong woman because of the wildfires that swept through my heart and spirit. And you know what I realized, once the smoke cleared, after the burns healed, "The struggle is part of our story."The woman I have become three years after the fire is nothing like the woman I was, and yet I'm still the same girl I've always been. Maybe just a little stronger, wiser and far less afraid. But you know more than anything, I'm not bitter. In the aftermath, dusting off the soot, covered by the blood of Jesus Christ, I've come to understand the meaning of Philippians 3:13 fully, "...the one thing I do, however, is to forget what is behind me and do my best to reach what is ahead."
And so Life Lesson #121 ~ The Rear View Mirror, is more about looking forward, leaving the past behind you, You can't change what's happened, but you can change the way you allow it to shape you from this moment on. I choose the view of my front windshield. I choose forgiveness, joy and happiness. And never forget, "Look forward with hope,not backwards with regret." ~ Anonymous