If you’ve been following this blog from the beginning you’ve likely read my post about being the second child of a second child of a second child. My father and my grandmother are two of the people I respect most in the world for their wisdom, their acceptance, and their love of others. Therefore it should come as no surprise that in the past year, they have each contributed a key phrase and life lesson that has stuck with me and provided me with something to lean on in my darkest moments.
My father is a brilliant preacher. He is dedicated to teaching the truth, to looking at all sides of a biblical issue and encouraging people to apply the principles in day-to-day life. I was unknowingly blessed to listen to him for years, learning from someone I admired and trusted explicitly. Like much of his congregation, I waited with great anticipation to hear the wisdom he would impart in his last sermon before retirement. I imagine the task was daunting for him. How do you sum up everything you want your congregation to know before you leave them? How do you preach in such a way that the message sticks with the people you love for years to come? And how do you narrow down all the wisdom in the Bible to one powerful message? I don’t know, but he did it.
Since I heard that message, not a day has gone by that I didn’t repeat those words to myself. I’ve recited them to the dark in my room as I lay awake at night fearful of the emotions overwhelming me and what the next day would bring. I’ve whispered them to myself as I sat in my office uncertain I’d have the energy to mitigate one more complaint. I’ve shared them with friends struggling with their own challenges, and with my husband who doubted the decisions he made. Each time I’ve questioned whether I could thrive under the challenges of God’s plan, I was able to answer with those two words. They have brought me immeasurable comfort over the last year a half because when I cleared away all the distractions, all the fear, all the uncertainty, they were what remained, what life boils down to…trusting Jesus. Trusting He loves me, trusting He is walking with me, trusting He is bigger than my circumstance, trusting He is working all things together for good, trusting He holds my life in His hands and that He carries it with tender care. Simply trusting Him.
Similarly, my grandmother shared a phrase with me this summer which I hung on my office wall so I could glance at it throughout the day. It’s a familiar phrase, one I’ve heard others share at various times: This too shall pass. It’s a phrase so common in fact that I’ve heard and dismissed it often over the last two years, feeling as though its overuse had stripped away its power. My grandmother made me stop and think about it on a deeper level, reminding me it wasn’t only true during life’s harder seasons. Throughout her life she recited this phrase to herself in the morning, regardless of the circumstances rising to greet her that day. When life was hard it reminded her it won’t always be that way; and when life was happier, it reminded her to cherish the moment as it too would one day pass. It helped keep life in perspective.
Today it reminds me that life is full of cycles and seasons, some powerful, some carefree, some happy, some challenging. The only thing I can be certain of is that I will experience them all and that each will one day pass, giving way to make room for the next season.
So much wisdom packed into six little words, words that I will carry with me to the end of my life. Words that remind me to cherish every remaining moment with these two people I love, words that will apply to every situation I encounter, words that when combined sum up the heart of life on earth:
Trust Jesus; this too shall pass.