I’m carrying a round, swollen belly and there are usually three squirrely, wide-eyed kids running circles ‘round our legs. For some folks, we’re a travelling circus. For others, we are the luckiest people on earth.
Recently a couple, probably in their 60s, passed us while we were out for a walk. The wife didn’t hesitate to look back and exclaim, “Those are the best days of your lives.”
Once they were further up the path, my husband and I looked at each other and laughed.
If these are the best days of our lives… then is there any hope for us at all?
For the next few weeks, as I folded laundry on the floor of my hallway, wiped another bottom, cleaned the counter tops for the tenth time that day, or passed out in sheer exhaustion every night, I couldn’t help but hear her voice in my head. These are the best days.
I wondered if her words were trying to hunt and kill my hope and expectation. God, is this really the pinnacle of my life, right here, right now, in this insanity.
Or were her words gifting me with perspective and convicting me of truth I didn’t want to admit?
Then, I remembered the face of another woman many years ago.
They are dear friends of ours who, while her and her husband were in their sixties, decided to move to a small village in Austria to love and serve the community there. My husband and I were in our late twenties and newly married when we visited them.
I’ll never forget the way she responded when we asked her, “So what has been your favorite season so far?”
I was thinking this would be the perfect time for her to tell us all the reasons why she missed what we had…youthful love, the world at our fingertips, continuous energy and excitement flowing from our veins.
But she didn’t, and her answer shocked me.
With an undeniable sparkle in her eyes, she smiled and declared, “This, this has been the best season of our lives so far.”
The more I’ve pondered her statement through the years, the richer it has become.
Do you see the stark difference between these two women like I do?
The one expressed an ache to return to a time she once had. The other was digging into her current season with delight.
The one became a woman who was always turning her head and looking back on those days. The other stood in amazement of her today.
I wondered how one sixty-year-old could believe the best days were only an experience in her past, and how the other (even in the face of fresh “babies” as she likes to call my husband and I) could confidently testify to this season being her favorite, hands-down.
I think the answer is in the stars…
Did you realize we can see further in the night than we can in the day? We can observe stars light years away. The light from these stars is so far away it can take up to a few hundred years to reach our eyes. When we gaze at the night sky, we are looking back in time.
Recently, I heard a speaker put it this way, “The stars speak of the past, light up our present, and point us to our future.” The stars were how early pioneers navigated their way across continents, new lands, and vast oceans.
I can tell my dear friend has spent time peering into the darkness. No matter what the days, months, or years brought her, she made a habit of staring at the stars and finding her way to Him.
Now her long red hair glistens. Her eyes twinkle. Her smile lights up a room. Her stories shine with His goodness and grace. Her life shimmers with hope.
Instead of looking back or beside her, she looked up, receiving every dark night as a promise of His unfailing love and unthinkable plans for her.
The secret to becoming a woman who can “laugh at the days to come” and abandon ourselves to every season of life is in our ability to gaze upward into the stars.
I glanced at the definition of gaze, and here’s what I found. It means, “To look steadily and intently, especially in admiration, surprise, or thought.”
The stars to me represent the very nature and heart of God, who in wisdom, speaks of our past, lights up our present, and points us into our future.
When we become so enthralled with His heart, our eyes can’t help but stare into the life He’s given us with admiration…surprise…and thought. We are mesmerized with who He is and who He’s made us to be.
In His starry eyes, we hear the voices of our past, but they don’t define us or hold us captive. The years gone become like a guide forward. The faithfulness of His love compels us to travel on without clinging to what used to be.
We also observe how God lights up our present with hope. Our today is the best soil for planting seeds. His Spirit is with us doing invisible work through our tiny surrenders. We don’t even have to strain to hear it, His voice cuts through the most difficult and darkest times, inviting us to look up and… count the stars.
He declares our future is more than we can ever ask, think, or imagine. Our eyes become familiar with distances beyond ourselves. He grows our faith and expectation for all that is yet to come. We know He is never finished with us, and wonder overtakes us for the beauty we have yet to behold.
I fix my eyes into the starry sky of His heart, with admiration, surprise, and thought. I smile, “These are the best days of my life so far.”
Where has your head been turned lately? Are you the woman with a wishing heart and wandering eyes or the woman walking confidently in her season as the beloved?
Verses to Ponder: Genesis 15:5, Proverbs 31:25, 1 Cor. 13:13, Eph. 3:20, Hebrews 11:1-12