The Difference a Year Can Make

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A few years ago, my life was turned upside down due to choices a loved one had made. The choices were made over a long period of time, but there came a day when the consequences of those choices began to clearly unfold. It was devastating.

The choices made and the consequences which unfolded took yet another turn a year ago. What a difference a year can make. It’s a day in which I can look back and recognize as one of the worst of my life, yet also one of the best, too. It’s a day that became an end and a day that became a beginning. Dreams and hopes were shattered, yet dreams and hopes were also born that day.

Choices have consequences and consequences lead to more choices. The choices my loved one made had far-reaching consequences, but MY OWN choices that ensued had the power to lead to even further-reaching consequences.

We can not control the choices of another person. In marriage, in parenting, in business relationships, in friendships, and in life, we all face choices. We are quick to judge and quick to offer opinions about the choices others make, yet we have a hard time realizing that the follow-up choices WE make in response to another’s choices we didn’t make may have a longer-lasting effect.

When I look at where I am today and I compare it to where I was a year ago, so many feelings surface. Life today is not the way I’d desire it to be, nor was it a year ago. Many of the shattered dreams and hopes still lie in pieces — shards that pierce, shards that cut to the core. Despite having to step carefully through what has been lost, I’ve developed a sense of determination and hope that has transformed much of the hurt into blessings. The path forward has been about the choices I’ve made and the hope I’ve found by weighing my own choices — those I have needed to make and those which have been made in response to choices others have made.

I can’t wave a magic wand and have the kind of life I’ve dreamed about…even that life would bring challenges and choices of its own! What I can do, though, is realize that despite the impact others might have on me, I am the one who can impact my future more than anyone else.

We were created by our God to do life together, and He created each of us with our own free will. Others can influence our free will for the positive or for the negative, but where we allow our will to lead is completely up to us. I don’t usually advocate thinking about Self first, but when it comes to the choices we make, Self is the one who can choose to follow the God-honoring path.

Although there are still hurts and struggles, there are also hopes and dreams. He’s given me free will. I’m working on using my free will to make choices that focus on the positive as much as I can.

What a difference a year can make.

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