The 2010’s were quite eventful for the Frazier family. I got married (can’t believe she said yes!), we traveled to some amazing places, have seen so much of the world’s beauty, made lifelong friends, had three kids (WHAT IS OUR LIFE ;), collectively have had 6 jobs, moved five times, and have thrown ourselves fully into whatever we are pursuing. All of this has been really beautiful.
At the same time, it also carried its fair share of hardship.
My father-in-law passed away from Pancreatic Cancer in our first year of marriage, spent 5 months in the hospital with Davy girl, (her video is here for those who haven’t seen it), and my mom passed away 11 days after her first birthday.
We spent weeks upon weeks in the hospital over the years as Davy battled to get healthy and countless therapy appointments. I oversaw the funerals of loved ones, battled personal mental health issues, and Chels battled postpartum depression after the birth of our son Noah.
Afterwards, as all of you know who have walked through challenging seasons of life, we dealt with the emotional fallout from those trials and the painstaking process of putting the pieces back together the best we know how.
Needless to say, but the 2010’s packed a punch!
Yet, as I reflect back, God has been so kind to reach down from on high to rescue us from deep waters. Like Hagar, we proclaim that he is the “God of seeing” who has looked after us.
There were so many lessons learned over the past 10 years, but there are 3 that are grounding me as we venture into the new decade.
1. God is with us through it all
My “theme verse” over the last 10 years has been Isaiah 41:10.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
I can’t tell you guys how many times I read this verse at Dell Children’s sitting by Davy girl’s bedside in those early days of her struggle to survive.
This verse rolled around my mind like tickets in a raffle drum the days following my mom’s death as I grasped for a sense of stability.
I spoke it over myself repeatedly during low moments of dealing with mental health issues, begging God to strengthen me.
At the end of the day, no matter what we were going through, I learned that God would always be with us. Once you move past the clichéd, coffee mug face value of this verse, one begins to plumb the depths of its truth. Not only will God be with us, but his presence will strengthen us, help us, and uphold us; therefore, we don’t have to fear what awaits us.
2. Suffering has been my greatest teacher
This is not the teacher I was seeking, but the teacher that sought me.
It was C.S. Lewis who wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Nothing has awakened me more than our suffering.
Tim Keller, in his book Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, articulated it this way:
“Christianity teaches that, contra fatalism, suffering is overwhelming; contra Buddhism, suffering is real; contra karma, suffering is often unfair; but contra secularism, suffering is meaningful. There is a purpose to it, and if faced rightly, it can drive us like a nail deep into the love of God and into more stability and spiritual power than you can imagine.”
I would not have chosen our path, but I would have missed out on all the lessons God was teaching me if our journey had looked different. There was great purpose behind it all. Ultimately, it drove me like a nail into the love of God and for that I’m forever grateful. Suffering has humbled us (I hope!), strengthened us, and has given the gift of perspective.
This next decade, I’m not by any means praying for more trials or hardships (raise high the hedge of protections Lord Jesus! Ha!), but I’m aware that they are a part of life. I don’t fear them like I used to and I welcome what they have to teach me.
3. Heaven will be the greatest homecoming
At the end of my Bible reading plan, I look forward to this verse every year.
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” 5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
I am more convinced than ever before that Jesus truly is better than everything else and nothing will compare to eternity with him. Our afflictions will finally seem light and momentary, no matter how long we carried them, as we finally experience the weight of glory.
I will become acquainted with truth, beauty and goodness as never before. I will listen to David, my gregarious father-in-law, enthrall us with his incredibly ridiculous stories. I will embrace momma Frazier like it’s my job, take in every note of her raspy voice that I have so desperately missed hearing and will recount to her the adventures of our family that she would be so proud of today.
As redemptively sweet as that will be, I will then experience something that far surpasses it. I will lay eyes on Jesus, my Savior and closest friend. In that supernatural moment it will all make sense. Remembering Lewis’ words in The Last Battle, I will finally understand that life had only been the cover and title page. The infinite perfection of heaven will truly be the beginning of the Great Story; in which every page, every chapter is more compelling than the one before.
If I somehow miraculously managed to snag a few crowns on the way in, I will joyfully lay them at his feet and take my place among the saints as they sing “worthy is the Lamb”.
All tears wiped away, all sin removed, everything made new and the most glorious of reunions. What a great homecoming indeed.
I’m not sure what the next 10 years will hold. I’m not even sure what the next day, hour or minute will hold! However, I do know this – God will be with me, my suffering will not be wasted, and my yearning for heaven will only grow stronger.
Cheers to the next ten and the lessons they hold.