On a recent trip, I visited a city my family lived in longer than any other, I reflected on the profound changes in my life while there. The years spent there were not all great and wonderful. My marriage hit rock bottom. My life crashed. We made bad financial decisions putting our family in danger of losing everything. This city had not held a special place in my heart because I held onto hurt and pain. Hurt and pain that was mostly self-inflicted. Yet, I felt this city was the beginning of many of the pains that occurred.

Returning I was able to let the genuine memories surface. Some of the most impactful years of my adult life occurred in that city. People who impacted our lives in a tremendous way live there. I walked down memory lane and through actual moments and changes that occurred over the seasons of our journey spent there.

cityThis was the place that a counselor asked when had I found peace in my life. My answer, when I was attending church. I returned to church and found that peace.

This was the city that a lady I had spent endless hours at a little league baseball field introduced me to a woman who offered to do a Bible study with me.

This was the city where I cooked hundreds of dozens of chocolate chip cookies while the brood of flashlight tag playing children came into our house from the backyard and lined up with a small plate and a hearty thank you.

This is the city that we fostered babies who were addicted to heroin at birth, blessing our lives beyond measure.

This was the place where we raised our boys on tar parks, buses, and trains.

This was where this country girl planted a garden in the middle of the city on small plots of dirt she had access to.plant in hand

This was the city where my marriage began to heal and thrive.

This was the place where I became a Godly mother and wife.

This was where we lived life to the fullest even through the snow and cold.

This is where we made a difference in the lives of people and people made a difference in our lives.

Opportunities to thank those people need to be grasped when they arise. I was able to hug the necks of boys that spent as much time at our house as our boys spent at theirs. My sons. I was able to sit at a table and share life with another mother who mentored me in homeschooling. I mentored her at this meeting in impending empty nest. I sat on the grass and watched four of my friend’s grandchildren run with vigor through the same small backyard we had spent hours watching our boys run through.

I embraced the city on this visit. I embraced the memories both good and bad. I embraced the tears of what could have been lost but was saved by the grace of God. I embraced God and all the goodness He brought to us in our years spent there. I thanked Him mightily for the abundance He gave us in the people He put in our lives to guide us toward Him.

I was able to see and believe that I am deeply loved and magnificently cared for by God. This experience revealed the heavenly resources that God has laid before us, throughout the seasons of our lives. We see the need to care more about others so that we may be the difference in their lives that those in our past were to us.

arms wide openGive generously.

Love abundantly.

Provide hope.

Are there people and/or places in our lives we need to revisit and embrace? Return to that city. Reach out to those people. Thank them and God for the opportunities He gave us. Through each season of our lives, God loves us and calls us to make a difference. Revisiting our past reveals the impact of others on our lives throughout the changing seasons.