Looking Back Before Forging Ahead

Everywhere I turn, I see New Year’s resolutions.

Tweets, Facebook statuses, conversations with people at church or in the Slim-Fast aisle up to the local Wal-Mart.

Everyone is looking ahead.

These past two weeks, my husband and I looked back instead. Looking back, to me in my life now, is more important than forging ahead.

Perhaps it is because my sister-in-law is still battling stage four cancer.

Perhaps it is because this may have been the last time all three of my babies will be able to be together on Christmas Day.

Maybe it is because Todd and I celebrated 25 years of marriage this year and feel we are getting kinda old. :-)

For whatever reason, we looked back.

For our Christmas Eve tradition of having a unique family time centered around the Bible, I had a brainstorm this year.

Eleven years ago we sold our very first tiny little house (984 square feet-all three kids shared one bedroom) to a couple who bought it for their mom. She recently passed away and I knew the house was for sale.

I was able to arrange to take the kids on a “mystery trip” like we did when they were young. Blindfolded, we’d transport them to a secret location that would make the point of our little Bible lesson/devotion that week.

So, on Christmas Eve, when they got out of the car and opened their eyes, they were in the house we lived in when each of them was born.

Here is Kenna with her dad in 1994. They use to sit by the register and eat crackers and butter and watch thunderstorms. (Although this pic looks like peanut butter was on the docket that day)

And here they are the night of our Christmas Eve “looking back” family time, sitting in the same spot. (Excuse the blurriness of the cell phone snapshot)

Our time together was simple that night. While our kids had heard us talk in pieces about our testimonies (how and why we became followers of Christ) we had never told them the entire stories.

So we did.

Simple stories.

One about a “fatherless” girl who met the Father who would never leave or forsake her.

Another about a secretive son who came out into the light and embraced the Sun of Righteousness.

What is your story of when and how you met Jesus?

If you don’t have one, 2012 would be a great time to let Him write your story of redemption. Click here for more information.

Instead of making a whole bunch of new promises for the New Year, maybe it is time to tell the old, old story in a fresh new way to whomever God puts in our path.

Yes, even our own kids.

Always doing it with gentleness and respect.

Until the whole world hears….


  1. When I look back, I remember the young only son of a mean woman. That young man fell in love with a divorced woman with a small child, which made her tarnished goods to that mother. That young man took that young woman and her child to church, something she knew nothing of. One day, that young woman asked the Lord to live in her life. A week later that young man did the same. A year later, they were married. The mom refused to come or speak to her new daughter in law for over a year. Two years ago, that mom went to be with the Lord as the daughter in law held her hand and told her to go, as they were alone so early in the dark morning. My sweet husband and I have been married for 36 years next month. He has battled cancer for most of our married life. He volunteers as the music director and I am the church secretary and we have taught youth for almost 20 years. When I look back, I think how different my life would have been if the Lord had not sent me this awesome man. Thank you for that look back.

  2. This was great!

    My resolution this year was to follow after Jesus like I have never done before. He is already showing me ways I can do that. I think this was another way. I have shared bits and pieces of my testimony with others, I have even attempted to write it down when asked, but it never seems to convey what it was like.

    This is a great challenge for me to figure that out. If you want to see my resolution it is http://www.focused-on-the-center.blogspot.com/2012/01/resolution.html.

    I also have to say, I just loved the pictures of your husband and daughter together. We live in a tiny house (approx. the same sq. footage) and I constantly am feeling the crunch. Some days it is almost like I can’t breathe. Your pictures inspired me to remember it isn’t about the size of the house, but what you do in it, even the simplest of things, that will have lasting impact. I really need to be reminded of that on a daily basis. I tend to forget as soon as I get a bout of the “wantsies”.

    Thanks for inspiring today.


  3. Great post, so many good thoughts it has triggered! I’m in the old house with all my little people, but know the days when they all go their own ways will be here before I know it! Though my husband and I just hit the 10 year mark it’s good to look back and be reminded of where He’s brought us – gets me excited for what comes next and leaves me oh so thankful! Thank you Karen for these words and thoughts! Jill

  4. Your post today brought tears to my eyes.
    And Love the beautiful pictures!
    Blessings for 2012 – Colleen G.

  5. Karen, I’ve never been able to shorten the story of this part of my life and have it still be understandable. It’s a long tale spanning most of my 57 years.

  6. Karen,
    Thank you for this post. I missed your post in November about Thais. I read her book and was touched by her struggle with cancer. She is such a fighter and loves the Lord with a deep love. She has fought and overcome so many things that this world has thrown her. I am so deeply sorry to find out she is fighting this ugly cancer again. My prayer is for God’s will in this battle. I am praying for her and your family as you continue to walk through this attack on her body. May she feel the loving arms of God wrapped around her. She is blessed to have you and your family in her life. Blessings to all of you this New Year. May God receive all glory and honor no matter what this year brings to us.

  7. Karen,
    When I first saw your FB post: “Looking back before forging ahead in 2012. What is your story?” The thought that came to my mind was,” I don’t want to look back”. Then I read your story. Very sweet and loved the picture. To look back on the time I came to know Jesus, well there’s a time I NEVER want to forget! I remind myself daily of Who’s I am and in Him all I can and am called to do.
    I was a mere 16 yrs. old when I got saved, transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. Speaking of houses, it was the ‘home’ I grow up in a little 1100 sq. ft. house. I was later able to put it on the market for the people that had bought it from my Mother many years earlier. In 1980 I was 16 yrs. old and, I knelt on the hardwood floors and prayed. I asked Jesus to come in to my very being, to take over and to forgive me. I knew that I was a sinner and needed a savior. I wasn’t brought up in a Christian home, but I had started going to a bible teaching church, and my now Mother-in-love of over 30 yrs. was speaking to me of Jesus and his love for me.
    This past year however, I looked back only long enough to remind myself of ALL I want to forget. I made some bad choices in 2010 and the effects of them carried over into 2011. Other issues, very serious ones took place between my oldest daughter and her husband. I also looked backed to remind myself, that no matter what comes my way God remains faithful.
    This is my verse for this year: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. Philippians 3:13b
    Love in Him and for His service,
    Charlotte Nixon

  8. Thank you, Karen, for sharing a different perspective. I feel more and more overwhelmed with each passing year as I feel myself getting older and fear not accomplishing the most important goals in my life because of the need to accomlish the most urgent goals of life in general. Do you know what I mean? Oh, how I am praying to be able to come to some peace between the reality of life and my heart’s desire.

  9. Karen, what a timely word for me. Tomorrow I am to give my testimony to a group of ladies at a luncheon. Some will know Christ, some will most likely not know Him. As I prepare today your word gives me a fresh outlook on what I have to share. God bless.

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