Maxine has been good to us. Maxine is the nickname I gave the 14-year old Tahoe my husband drives. I think it has over 300,000 miles on it. But she’s a workhorse. Almost every part of Maxine has been replaced. She’s got some scars, like the ones I contributed trying to back out of the garage, but that’s a story for another time! She’s been directly responsible for hauling sweaty teenage boys to soccer games, moving two kids to college multiple times, and moving the same two kids to new cities for jobs, and countless family trips. We are grateful that we’ve been able to keep Maxine going by patching her up for each adventure. It’s been a blessing that she’s held it together through all that we’ve put her through.
As I enter into the last two weeks of a career I’ve had for over 30 years; I started to think about how to transition well. Looking back over 2019 it’s clearly been a year of transitions. In the first quarter of the year, we faced my husband’s cancer diagnosis and surgery. Looking back, I can now praise God for through it I experienced God’s provision and compassion. In the second quarter of the year, I faced some really challenging times on the job that had me questioning my worth and my calling. Looking back, I can now praise God for through it I felt a renewing of God’s love. In the third quarter of the year, we saw God start to open new opportunities not just for my career but for those around me. I praise God for through it I experienced a deeper connection between faith and prayer. As I head into the last quarter of this year, I realized that I’m just full from all of the experiences in the first three quarters. So I asked God: “How do I not lose the lessons from those experiences? What do I take with me and what do I leave behind?”
This scripture from Matthew came to my heart:
“No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” – Matthew 9:16-17
Just like Maxine has a lot of history in her past that created some memorable experiences, those life-changing, faith-building, tear-filled, face-to-the-floor praying sessions were creating a new me. All that stuff were building blocks that don’t need to be relived because the lessons from those experiences have created a transformation. The Bible does say in 2 Corinthians 4:16 that although our outer man is decaying, our inner Spirit is renewed day by day! When God transforms us, He doesn’t want us to be bound up by what He has freed us from. If it means forgiving those that hurt you, then forgive them. It doesn’t mean that you don’t forget the hurt. The hurt is what God used to draw you closer to Him.
As I head into the last quarter of the year, I want to have a vessel that can not only hold the transformed me, but one that has room to receive even more of God. The only way to do that is not to take the old gunk into the new season. I am grateful for the old wineskin because like Maxine it held a lot of stuff and got me where I needed to go. But now that I have new wine, it’s going into a new wineskin! What have you been carrying around that it’s time to toss?