It's 20/20 in hindsight.
Ralph Watkins preached a sermon that fed my soul on Tuesday. He preached about Timothy's entrance into the ministry and how he was reminded of all those that had gone before him and that were praying for him.
"I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure lives in you. For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands, for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline." II Timothy 1:4-5
His sermon was profound to me because I realized in that moment how many people have been walking this journey with me, praying for and with me even when I did not know it. I was instantly reminded of the faith of my grandparents- Elwood, Bill, and Pou - that have shaped the faith of my parents, my aunts and uncles, my cousins, my siblings, and me. There is something incredible about remembering who we are and where we came from and then giving thanks for the faith of those that have gone before us. Those that we can lift up by name and remember the ways in which they've shared their faith with us.
I read scripture at my grandfather Bill's funeral this past November. I read from my grandfather's New Testament the words that he had underlined and starred as important from Romans. He was such an incredible man of faith and it is amazing to see now how those same words from Romans affect all of us who knew and loved him.
As I reflect on this past year and how stressful my life has been with life transitions. I see now that my heart was indeed burning within me. God's hand was at work in my wedding and bringing all those I love together. God was hard at work during my time interning at Grady Memorial Hospital in teaching me about death and allowing me time to wrestle with death before I lost my own grandfather Bill (my mentor in the faith) to death in November. My heart burns within me still as I remember applying to jobs, receiving "no's," receiving "yes's," and being led to the to the place where God would have me be. My heart continues to burn as I am continually reminded of the people surrounding me (both near and far) who remind me that they have been walking this journey with me, praying for me.
Today, I am grateful for the faith of those who have gone before me and for this moment of realization how God has been present right beside me, though I did not know it at the time.
Thanks be to God!