We all have a journey, a personal timeline. My friend, Ann Dunagan, from .missionmindedfamilies.org challenged me last year to find a way to compile a timeline of my life. I had made history timelines with my children for school and so I adapted the idea. Instead of thousands of years, I narrowed it down to a 50 year timeline (and still, there are a few blank years ahead of me!)
After I put together the dates on the physical timeline, I began to go back and fill in my major life events. Some parts of the timeline were simple to add, my birth, high school graduation, jobs, marriage and the births of each of my children. What I discovered was that the details of my life, the things that influenced me were too numerous to add to the timeline. Where would I begin? Each was so essential.
As I got out a box of photos earlier today I am flooded with memories. Memories of people and of influence in my life. I am overwhelmed with the fact that God being ever present, has set in my path the things that He knew would be used to shape me into who I am today, who He had planned for me to be.
Going through my box of photos, I see not only people but the details surrounding the images. It is amazing that God uses so many resources to grow me in my relationship with Him. I’m pretty sure He knew that I needed a plethora of learning methods to even get a glimpse of His goodness and His love for me.
Last year I attended a Steven Curtis Chapman concert with my husband. SCC was introducing a new song, “Remember to Remember”. (Listen here ) As he sang, I really began to savor the influences upon my life. In 1987 I began attending church and I also discovered Christian music. The lyrics of Christian songs influence me, they point me to Jesus and how to live for Him. The songs that inspire me could very well be added to my timeline.
After high school, I worked at a summer camp for 3 years. With the relationships built at camp, I learned more about God and about His plans for me. I learned how to live in community with other believers. As a staff, we memorized a chapter of scripture every summer. Those verses have continued to speak to my life and could also be added to my timeline as could any verse that breathes truth into me even now.
These days, I glean from the digital resources available. In past years though my shelves were teeming with books, I didn’t have much time to read. Now I enjoy books from Christianaudio.com and have been able to catch up on many titles as I fold laundry or take a morning walk. Podcasts and sermons downloaded on my phone give me insight and inspiration. I can consume hours of podcasts every week which keep my mind attentive to growing in The Word of God. Books and media direct me to the power of the Lord but I know that the power itself can only be found in Christ. Digital resources could be added onto my personal timeline for the deposits they are making in my life.
Within my box of photos there are also some brochures and memorabilia sprinkled in. Those too hold memories and are a reminder of their influence in my life. Notes from a Sunday sermon, a women’s retreat or from the oceanetwork-conference, they have all been reference points along the way that have imprinted on the timeline of my life.
As I look back, I see God’s providence. There were always choices before me, choices about little things. Without the Scripture, Christian people and solid Biblical teaching pouring into my life, I may not have chosen well. How important it was to be learning God’s Word and be surrounded by wise counselors so that when I had a decision, I could navigate with Biblical understanding. What a treasure to glance back and see how He has been at work all of these years. As I look back, it gives me confidence for the future because God has always been faithful!
What influences you? What are the things that are pouring into you so that you may be filled with Biblical knowledge and wisdom? What are the things that you bring into your home and your life to nourish your soul? Do the people who speak into your heart speak Truth?
We all have a timeline that is being sketched out. We have choices to make along the way. I could not restate it in any better of a way than to leave you with the words of Deuteronomy 30:19b-20 “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. So choose life, so that you and your descendants may live, and that you may love the LORD your God, obey Him, and hold fast to Him. “