My little one brought me a photo album she found in the bottom of the closet. She curled up beside me and opened it. We snuggled on the couch while we slowly flipped the pages.
She stopped at an old picture of me, standing against a car, looking forlorn. “What’s wrong with you, Mom? You look so sad.”
I looked at the picture and wondered how it ended up in a recent photo album. A flood of memories hit me hard. “I was sad. I wanted to be a mom so bad. I lived in sadness because it took so long. Those were my wasted years,” I said, surprised at how bitter my words sounded.
“What does that mean? Wasted?” she asked.
I wished I could take back the words. “Honey, I just couldn’t see very far in front of me. I sort of lived out of focus.”
She thought about my answer and flipped the page to a more recent picture of the two of us, laughing.
“Well, maybe there’s no such thing as wasted years.”
Her words hit me hard. There are no wasted years.
“Yeah. Maybe it’s just how you look through the lens,” I whispered and traced the picture of us with my finger.
I thought of the good years, when smiles came easily, and of the harder ones, when they didn’t. And I could hardly separate the two because perspective is the best looking glass.
The lean years when there wasn’t enough money make me appreciate the years of plenty more.
The lonely marriage years remind me to be grateful for the intimate ones.
The long years of infertility overshadow hard parenting moments.
Nothing is wasted.
God uses everything — every failure, every success, every crooked path, and obstacle on our journey for His Glory.
He is the One who bottles our tears and promises to wipe them from our eyes.
He is the One who turns our sorrow into rejoicing and our weeping into dancing.
He is the One who comforts us with his rod and staff in the valley of the shadow of death.
It’s so easy to look behind us and see the lessons we’ve learned and the growth we’ve accomplished. But in the middle of a dark night, it’s really hard to see our hand in front of our face, much less reach for His.
And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (I Peter 5:10)
That mountain in front of you, that diagnosis, that looming trial — do not fear, God is with you and He wastes nothing.
by Kristen Welch, We are THAT familyLeave a Comment
I’m in the middle of that dark night right now. And you’re right, it’s scary. But I hang on to the hope that what is sown with tears will become a harvest of joy. I’m so thankful He wastes nothing. Thank you for that reminder. I really needed it.
Ifeoma Samuel says
God uses every messiness and turns it for His own glory if only we let him. He make everything alright again.
God Bless you sister.
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
God does give us the gift of wisdom and perspective as we grow older. Periods in my life that made no sense at the time, now I see as crucibles in which God was refining me…building my character…drawing me into Himself. Had it not been for the valleys, I know I would not have the close and dependent walk that I have with my Lord. He loved me enough to walk with me through the valleys and I emphasize the word “through”. God does not leave us stuck and as you so beautifully related, no time is ever wasted. It’s all in our perspective…
Annie Ruth Whom JESUS delights most says
Praise The LORD
Yes and Amen
Nothing is wasted when I wait upon my LORD JESUS.
HE is my strength and HIS grace is sufficient for me everyday.
I am in a dark night of unemployment that has extended far beyond what I thought it would. I have scriptures hanging all over my house to remind me of His goodness. Thank you for this reminder that nothing is wasted!
God’s light burns bright against the darkness of night, even brighter than in the day!
Peace to you all,
Looking back over several decades, many of which involved no answers, extreme circumstances from which there seemed to be no deliverance – only clinging to Jesus and having Him hold me and grow me in Him . . . NOTHING has been wasted! And so it is in the life of every believer…the beautiful, painful process that brings Him glory!
Thank you, Kristen!
oh, today, I so needed to hear these words. in the valley places it is so hard to find the vision to see Him at work or to know how He could use this vessel for His glory.
thank you for the reminder that He is God, He is in control and He can/will use me for His glory if I yield to Him.
Susan Hall Cannon says
Yes today as I first started to read your great thoughts of wisdom and knowledge as always I in my own mind felt it would be good to pass on to a very dear and close friend of mine which I still plan to do. But as I continued to read it became apparent to me this article was indeed meant for me today too. I suppose one could say I haven’t been able to see my own hand in front of my face due to so many problems going on at one time. After reading your article this morning it has given me hope for the first time in quite sometime actually. You see my being able to pray has been hindered at times too. That is no longer true I see now what is going on while I have been kelp in this holding pattern of sorts as it were like physically mentally emotionally spiritually and financially too for the past nearly year and a half. Now it makes sense in some ways. Please know how much your articles refresh me and help me to have and keep(most of the time) some balance in my own life and others too! Simply, Susan a “simple woman” after God’s own heart!
So. Much. Yes. I have lived that same story and the knowledge that God wastes nothing in our lives is what kept me upright some days. I remember feeling like I couldn’t see the next day or week because of the looming grief over my infertility. Even now there are so many things I can’t remember about those years but God has redeemed even that seemingly hopeless situation.
Thank you x
This has come at just the right moment when circumstances were taking me into a time of sadness. Thanks for sharing rather, thank God for sharing through you. Every bessing.
Angela W says
The term “wasted” is one I have labeled to my periodic battles with anxiety/depression. I have such guilt over what seems to be wasted time. Thank you for your hopeful perspective on this. It was well received.
Needed to hear this
Wow. This resonated with me deeply. God has been giving me these same truths lately, too. I captured a few of them (and my thoughts) on my blog yesterday at http://www.planbeautiful.com/new-perspective/. Thank you for sharing this!
Thank you, Kristen, for this sweet morsel of hope today. “God uses everything — every failure, every success, every crooked path, and obstacle on our journey for His Glory.” Such an encouraging reminder that not one thing we go through is wasted from God’s side! He has such wise purposes for everything.
Jeanne Takenaka says
Kristen, thank you for this reminder. And that final verse you shared? What a perfect way to close out this beautiful post. I walked the path of infertility too. It was hard to see beyond the moments when I marked the calendar rather than missed a cycle. But, as you said, perspective helps me see the beautiful lessons God imprinted upon my heart during those years. The ways He drew my husband and me closer.
And now? With strong willed boys—with LOTS of energy and noise—I thank God for finally answering my heart’s cry for children. Even more, for the ways He continues to help me see life with a more accurate perspective, in light of those years of heartache.
I’m so thankful God restores us after suffering, and makes us strong, firm and steadfast.
I’ll be pondering your words here for the rest of the day. 🙂
Stephanie S says
Just what I needed today. Thanks!
Thank you so much for sharing this. It was so needed today.
Wow. Spoke right to my weary heart.
Kristen thank you for this post. I have tears streaming down my face as I type this. I yearn so deeply to find my Mr Right and to be a momma. Your words spoke so deeply to me today. Thank You!!
Becca @ The Earthlings Handbook says
Tara, I am praying for a lifetime of wonderful surprises that turn out to be just perfect for you! In the time that you are waiting, you are maturing and learning things that will be valuable to you in ways you would never expect.
Beth Williams says
God is molding you into the beautiful Christian woman He wants and is also mold the “perfect” man for you. Waiting is hard, but trust me it is worth it in the end. It wasn’t till I was 39 and mature that God gave me the most wonderful man in my life.
Be patient and wait upon the Lord.
“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint Isaiah 40:31
Donna M says
Amanda Jones says
YES! One verse that has meant so much to me after walking through a long, dark battle with depression is Joel 2:25, “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten”. The fight started when my 2nd child was born and didn’t end until our 5th child was four years old (a 10 year span). It’s very tempting to look at those years as wasted, but the truth is, so much good happened too, and God has and is redeeming those years. Thanks for this reminder!
Thank you for this, Kristen! My precious momma says that when people ask her why she doesn’t question God about what I have been through over the past 20 years, she tells them how could she? And, then shares with them that I would never have KNOWN JESUS like I do had I not gone through what He continues to bring me through. What a powerful perspective! It still moves me to tears as I am a mother myself dealing with a prodigal son for the past 4 months. God is FAITHFUL, and He is ALWAYS with us!
This is SO TIMELY!! I was just thinking something along these lines earlier today… something like “there can’t be any reason why this would be beneficial!” But you are absolutely right. And one day I may see it, though I may never connect them. Regardless, nothing is wasted. Thank you!
Christy Reed says
Thank you for sharing this! I really needed the reminder.
“God uses everything — every failure, every success, every crooked path, and obstacle on our journey for His Glory.”
Becca @ The Earthlings Handbook says
Beautiful! I also was less fertile than I would have liked at first, and it was a tough time, but looking back, it was also a time when I suddenly “noticed” how awful I’d been to my cousin years earlier and wrote her a long heartfelt letter that got us back into a good relationship–when I had time to write that letter without being distracted by a baby–and it was a time when some very good books happened to come my way that strongly influenced my parenting. That time of waiting was no mistake! Here’s my article about that, and about later being MORE fertile than I’d planned:
Thanks for this encouragement. It is good to have perspective – especially in the waiting years that sometimes feel wasted. God is faithful and will use those years to our benefit.
Tammy Williamson says
thank you for sharing this story.
Thank you, this was great. There are no wasted years is so true. Sometimes we just need to be reminded.
God Bless Ladies.
I have longed to be a mother for so long. I’ve wished for marriage also, and it looks as though that desire is being granted–I’m to be married March 25. There’s also, God willing, a child for us–we don’t know if the adoption will go through yet, but my heart yearns so much for this child. It is easy to see these last several years as wasted, but I can see how I’ve grown in some ways through these often lonely times. I’ve found this song to be helpful at times. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l26UoD-N2hA
yes! I love it. No wasted years. I am so amazed at the things that God does in us.
I thank God for using you Kristen! I’m going through a difficult season but I have every confidence God is working everything for my good and His glory.
God bless you!
Beth Williams says
Last year was tough. It was dark some times dealing with my dad’s aging and medical issues. Add job stresses from both hubby and I and you get a stressed out crying frustrated person. Thankfully all is going ok for dad now and my hubby has a good job closer to home with same company. I wanted a new job and still think I do, but God has said no–just wait and be patient. See what I will do for you.
Thankfully God wastes nothing. He used last year to grow me spiritually and learn to depend fully on Him.