What Once Was
While fall is certainly my favorite season, spring is pretty high up on the list. The warm(er) weather is a plus and the sometimes never-ending rain makes me think about really happy ducks and I can’t help but smile. But my real reason for loving spring? It also happens to be lambing season. I have a bit of an obsession with sheep that started when I brought market lambs to the county fair as a 4-Her in high school. Fast-forward a few years to my second year of college where I spent my spring break in Oregon working on a 3,000 sheep farm during their hectic lambing season. Add another year to that when I was the student manager of the University sheep flock. Long story short, I really like sheep.
My current “state of life” –paraplegic and wheelchair user from a spinal cord injury a week after college graduation in 2013–doesn’t really involve these precious little creatures like it once did. With that being said, when things just seem to fall into place allowing a visit back to the University I graduated from DURING lambing season, I’m all in.
I should probably admit that I’m one of those people who really likes school. I love learning, so it makes sense that I have a lot of really great memories from my time as an undergraduate. It was great to go back and catch up with professors, see the sights, sheep, and buildings I spent 3 years of my life in and remember how things “used to be.”
I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with looking at your past and remembering those “what was once the present” moments. Yet, when your current life situation offers a few more challenges than you may have had to deal with before, those comparisons of past and present can be dangerous things.
“I used to be able to get in that building from the front doors but now I have to figure out a back way because of those stupid stairs.”
“I used to be able to pick-up that little lamb over the edge of its pen but now I’m so short.”
“Wow, life used to be so much easier, what’s up with that God?”
I know I’ve questioned God about my present reality in those hours or even days of struggle, asking why me? What was wrong with MY life plan? Why couldn’t you have left things the way they were?
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. ~Philippians 4:12-13
Being content in any and every situation - sometimes that feels like a less than simple task. How do I be content when I just got fired? How is it possible to be content with this diagnosis? How can I be content when I just learned my significant other has been cheating on me?
You know, in each and every one of these situations we as Christians already have everything we truly need to be content:
The love of a Father that is greater and more faithful than we could ever imagine.
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. -Psalm 86:15
A Father who tells us he will take care of us and we can hand ALL of our troubles to him.
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. -Psalm 55:22
A Father who promises to never let us fall.
The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. -Psalm 37: 23-24
Sometimes it isn’t easy to be content; it’s a daily struggle as we look at the lives of those around us or what our own life once looked like. Yet God has and will provide for us as His children, and as I have come to find out, in much bigger and better ways than we could ever imagine.
I’ll always feel those little twinges of nostalgia when I think of my time at the University of Minnesota or see pictures of the St. Paul campus I made so many memories on. Yet, I’ve come to look at those memories with appreciation instead of anger. Being thankful to the Lord for those beautiful experiences, loving where He has led my life, and looking forward to the opportunities HE has planed for my future.
I loved being the shepherd while I was in college, but now I’m learning to love being the sheep.
The LORD is my shepherd; I lack nothing. ~Psalm 23:1
Sam Schroth is a perpetual learner, loving to live life to its absolute fullest each and everyday the Lord blesses her with. Currently in the midst of applying to medical school while adjusting to life as a paraplegic, Sam is “Never Sitting Still” as she learns and grows in God’s grace and never ending love.