Gone with the Wind is my all-time favorite movie. From the time I was little I loved the beauty of the clothes, the people and most importantly, Scarlett O’Hara. Although she wasn’t always in tune with the whole “Do to others as you would have them do to you” thing, the girl could survive. There is one line in the movie that has been resonating with me lately. I almost feel like God has put it on my heart. Scarlett went to visit Ashley and he was starting to get sad about the old days. Scarlett in her wisdom told him “Don’t look back Ashley, don’t look back. It will drag at your heart until you can’t do anything but look back.”
This was a girl who had seen it all. She grew up spoiled and pampered. She was handed life on a silver platter. Then it all fell apart. A war that she didn’t even care about stole all that was dear to her. She had two choices. She could let it destroy her, or she would become stronger. She chose the latter. When disaster struck my family I decided to do the same. I was 15 years old and I survived. I did not look back. I did, however, live in denial. Big denial. Long-time denial. I didn’t let myself become weak. I picked myself up and did what I had to do. It wasn’t until this spring that God showed me a truth. While I was relying on my own strength and fortitude, I did not learn to rely on God. In our weakness He makes us strong. I then decided that I would rely on Him the next time something huge happened and I was wrecked.
A month later we faced a huge move. I had lived in the same town for 16 years. I had my babies there. I had a house I loved. I had friends that were family. My church was spectacular. We were involved and loving it. God was good and we were happy and content. I even thought, “I love my life”. Then we got a call and a new job (for which we prayed) and all of a sudden we were moving across the country. This was a blessing. I knew it. Ric knew it. All of our family knew it. It was a blessing three years in the making – an answer to a calling. So God began to work miracles. He took care of every tiny detail. We said our goodbyes, mourned our losses and arrived at our new home. Except, it isn’t our home. It’s my mother’s home. She is graciously allowing us to live with her while our house is on the market. What a blessing to not have to worry about two mortgages. Once again, God provided.
One would think that I would be ecstatic, having seen how God worked through the past 4 months. I wasn’t. I would look at pictures of my house and cry. I would look at families in their own houses and cry. I would imagine what people thought of us – those Ozarks people with the garage that doubled as a backup storage and a driveway full of cars. I wanted my own house. I was ticked off that God didn’t miraculously sell our house in record time. I was mad that I had to live at home again, at the age of 35.
Then I read about the Israelites. We all know their story. They prayed for 400 years for deliverance. They got it. They got it in a huge way. They were protected from the plagues; they saw a sea part and a whole army wiped out. They had a pillar of fire and a cloud, for crying out loud. Then they got to the desert and chose to complain. I truly believe they didn’t just have a lapse of memory. I believe they just gave into their human nature.
I believe this because I have been doing the same thing. I have been looking back. I have not been content in my Almighty, all-knowing, wise Father’s provision and timing. He has been whispering “don’t look back” and I have been wishing for things from which I’d prayed to be delivered. It is infinitely easier to be discontent than to pray, read the Word and draw from God’s strength. God could sell my house tomorrow and give me an awesome home but I would not have learned to rely on Him. To become weak in myself and strong in Him. I wish I could rewind about 20 years and do it the right way the first time. I cannot. I can only learn from my mistakes and look forward to the future. A future, as my pastor always said, “as bright as the risen Son.”