Where I come from its corn bread and chicken like the Alan Jackson song implies ....well more like Coopers pit BBq and sweet tea, cactus, and no cellphone service. I recently went back to a place of my roots...literally stick your finger in the middle of Texas, and you have found it--Mason, TX.
It was bluebonnet season (flowers seen on left) where thousands of these beautiful blue flowers grace the roadsides and hillsides with there presence. It was a perfect declaration to a new season..spring has come, the winter has passed, flowers have appeared on the earth (Song of Song 2:13)
This was the perfect place for me to take a much needed break from school and life, conclude my spring break trip, and reflect on the past...and also the future. (I say the later with ellipse surprise, because I initially did not realize how much I needed to ponder my future, but I'll tell you more about that later)
I was visiting my Grandma and Grandpa, age 78 and 89 respectfully. My family goes back generations in this small town of Texas. It it literally like stepping into a history lesson when I go to visit this place. I learn about how my family migrated to Texas from Germany, pioneered and developed the land, were kidnapped by Indians, built forts where Robert E. Lee was stationed, and worked as ranchers, doctors, and businessmen. My grandma lives in the ranch house that she was born in, goes to the church that she was baptized in as a baby and was also married in 56 years ago.
(Isn't she beautiful! )
I always end up meeting numerous relatives I have never met while going to this town, and it's not uncommon to be introduced to someone and then told how many generations back you have to go in order for us to be related...and everyone seems to know! Its just amazing, and something that I now appreciate more than ever. I have rich family history, and grandparents who love and spoiled me in all the best ways. I'm grateful because I know that not everyone has this same opportunity to know there roots and family history, or even meet their grandparents, so I thank God that I have these things. I encourage those of you who do not have the things that I mentioned to take the opportunity to create it for your family, and future generations. It's never to late to be a pioneer for your family and create a legacy.
My family and I would visit my grandparents at their Texas ranch every spring break, but this is the first time I had ever gone my by myself and I had not been there in 3 years. It is interesting how God works sometimes. I realized that he had brought me back to visit this place of such rich history because because He wanted to give me a gift.
This gift is called courage.
He showed me that I sometimes hold onto the past. I would have not realized this about myself without His help, but once He said it, it made so much sense. I've have not really struggled with feeling defined by my past, or even much shame or regret about my past, but I can tend to want to hold on to it because I either wanted to appreciate it more, or I fear that the future will not be as good. It's as though I hope that by holding on, I will learn to do the things I want to do better, not miss out on anything I was supposed to treasure. Is it strange to be afraid of missing out on things that have already passed? Have you ever wished you knew what you had when you had it, but didn't realize it when you were going through it...and now it's in the past, and the future is a great big question mark?? Yes, that is how I felt.
(Great- Grandparents grave)
But as I visited museums, and read books about my forefathers and mothers--the things that they accomplished and overcame--, I came to realize this: it takes courage to live. To really live, to really make a difference, to really just wake up and make the decision to face the big question mark ahead. One step at a time, one day at a time. When I realized this ( I might have "known" it, but it makes a difference to actually realize something, not just know it) I felt as though I had reached another crossroad in my life...I again had to make the choice to truly live.
"I call Heaven and Earth to witness against you today: I place before you Life and Death, Blessing and Curse. Choose life so that you and your children will live. And love God, your God, listening obediently to him, firmly embracing him. Oh yes, he is life itself, a long life settled on the soil that God, your God, promised to give your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." Deuteronomy 30:18-20
When God showed my I was holding onto my past, He also told me what He wanted me to do. He said, "Allison, I need you to face your future with courage."
I knew that I needed to dream for my future when He said this. I knew that I need to be really specific about what I want in my future...to dream and plan very specifically. I knew I didn't want to be stuck or held my any kind of fear. Kris Vallotton, a teacher at the ministry school I went to put it this way, " If your memories are greater than your dreams you are already beginning to die".
I choose life.
Enjoy where you came from, the memories you have, but don't get stuck there.
Here's to facing our futures with courage. It's a new season.