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Rearview Mirror Moments

Rearview MirrorBack in December I talked in a sermon about the importance of remembering the ratio of the windshield to rearview mirror in your car (you can listen to the entire sermon on Simeon here). The windshield is exponentially larger than a rearview mirror because you don’t drive a car in reverse. You drive forward and the car is created for you to do that. In the same way, we live our lives forward. We don’t move forward in life by constantly looking back. I passionately believe that.

But (and I said this, too) the rearview mirror serves the important purpose of giving us perspective on what is behind us. Sometimes we need to look back and remember the difficult times in life and the significant places and people who made us. We need to look back at the events that helped move us forward in life. We need rearview mirror moments.

This weekend will be a rearview mirror kind of weekend for me. A pastor friend is taking a sabbatical so I offered to preach for him one Sunday while he’s away. It just so happens that he’s at Clarksdale First United Methodist. That’s the church that hired me as a 19-year-old freshman at Ole Miss to be their summer youth director. I went on to work there for three years before heading off to seminary.

These past few weeks have been full of messages, phone calls, and emails from people I haven’t heard from in 20 years. And, it’s been amazing to remember all that God did in those three years. At Clarksdale FUMC, God confirmed my calling into full-time ministry. I experienced the grace of Jesus Christ through a Walk to Emmaus Weekend because some of the men from the church sponsored me. The youth group was full of kids that were eager and excited to grow in Christ. I took my first mission trip with those kids. And, when the car I drove became a victim of my parents divorce, the church at Clarksdale raised the money to buy me a Mercury Tracer.

The pastor I worked under at Clarksdale First was a man named Richard Hunter who taught me more about pastoring than I learned in three years at seminary.

And I still remember the occasional lunch with a 90+ year old lady named Polly Ligon who hand stitched me a picture that still has a place of honor in myLigon Cross Stitch office.

I’m looking forward to this weekend because it’s giving me abundant reason to look back–to take a glance at the rear view mirror.

We all need rearview mirror moments. They don’t need to dominate our lives. But they continue to give us perspective on life, on faith, on the goodness and faithfulness of God over time.

This week, spend some time looking in your rearview mirror. Say a prayer of thanks for the good and the bad you’ve experienced. Maybe make a call, write a letter (on paper), send an email, or just bask in the memory of where you’ve been.

And then, with joy and comfort and peace, look forward again and move into the future God has for you.

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The news came via text message in the middle of staff meeting on Monday: AUNT JOAN DIED. My father likes to text in all caps so when the message flashed on my phone I immediately knew who sent it.

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Last week was a wild ride and my best intentions to continue the relate series were overcome by . . . well life. So, we’ll pick back up this week! Remember if you want email alerts when I post, just click the button to the right.

When I first got married, I just knew I could convert my wonderful new bride into a world-class house-keeper. This wasn’t because I had a patriarchal sense of expectations (wife: clean, husband: hunt). I wanted Audra to appreciate the joy of a clean house as much as I did. Cleaning the house was something we could enjoy doing together. I thought that surely with a little work on my part I could make her into the person I thought she would want to be.

Turns out I was wrong. Horribly. Terribly. Miserably wrong.

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Today we start a new series focused on relationships. Last week I invited you to submit your relationship questions (which you can still do by emailing me @ eddierester@parkwayheights.org). Over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll share some resources and helpful reflections to help us make our relationships (marriages, friendships, families, and work relationships) a bit more enjoyable. Today we start with the most obvious issue in our relationships: How to deal with conflict

If you hate having to guess when I post something new (I try to post 2-3 times a week), you can simply follow the blog (upper right) and you’ll get an email whenever a new post hits the interwebs.  

What’s the constant in all of our relationships? You know what it is, don’t you?

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Well, here we are. The final day of the journal from the final day of the sabbatical. Over the course of sharing these journal entries, I’ve edited most posts for length and content (some content was extremely personal; some would’ve been utterly boring to you; some was redundant). But today’s post you get in its entirety, only edited for egregious grammatical errors and clarity.

Thank you for sticking with me in this journey. I’ve appreciated your comments and encouragement along the way. But the truth is I did this for my own soul. I needed to relive and revisit what God did to me and for me in these weeks. 

This isn’t the end of the blog (more on that tomorrow). But for now, here’s the final entry. Enjoy.

July 3 – Day 42
10:05 p.m.
Home

A leader can’t lead until he knows where he’s going.
~ John Locke (to Jack Shepherd)
Lost, Season 1, Ep. 5

Forty-two days ago I was on a plane heading to New York. The adventure was beginning. The walk-about commenced with a hug and kiss from Audra at the Gulfport Airport. I knew these weeks were going to be important. I just didn’t know how important.

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We’re approaching the end of the journey. In just a few days, I’ll offer the final post from my sabbatical journal. The end of the journal won’t be the end of the blog! I’ve got some great things planned for the weeks ahead. For those of you just stumbling into this, a reminder of what I’m doing right now:

Over the course of my 6-week sabbatical, I kept a journal of my travels and experiences. I’m sharing some of those to give you a flavor of how God spoke over the course of my time away. Sometimes I’ll share an entire day’s entry. At other times, just a partial/edited post. After the journal entry, I’ll share some of my post-sabbatical reflections on that entry. Each day I started with a quote followed by my reflections on the events of the day.

If you “follow” the blog (upper right on the home page), you’ll get automatic email updates when I post the next entry. You can find previous posts in the links to the right. At the bottom of each post, you’ll notice some “share” buttons. Feel free to share this with others if you think it would be interesting to them or help them.

June 29 – Day 38
9:10 p.m.
Home

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.
~ William James

Home. For good. My lunch date in Water Valley bailed on me today so I decided it was a sign to come home early. If my calculations are somewhat accurate, I travelled over 6,600 miles in 6 weeks. And every step of the way God was lighting the path, teaching me, holding me, and even fighting with me and for me. Never once did He leave me on my own (BTW, Never Once by Matt Redman is the theme song of the summer).

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Over the course of my 6-week sabbatical, I kept a journal of my travels and experiences. I’m sharing some of those to give you a flavor of how God spoke over the course of my time away. Sometimes I’ll share an entire day’s entry. At other times, just a partial/edited post. After the journal entry, I’ll share some of my post-sabbatical reflections on that entry.Each day I started with a quote, followed by my reflections on that day.

If you “follow” the blog (upper right on the home page), you’ll get automatic email updates when I post the next entry. You can find previous posts in the links to the right. At the bottom of each post, you’ll notice some “share” buttons. Feel free to share this with others if you think it would be interesting to them or help them.

June 12 – Day 21
Dad’s House
11:30 a.m.

We tend to remember what we should forget and forget what we should remember.
~ Mark Batterson

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Over the course of my 6-week sabbatical, I kept a journal of my travels and experiences. I’m sharing some of those to give you a flavor of how God spoke over the course of my time away. Sometimes I’ll share an entire day’s entry. At other times, just a partial/edited post. After the journal entry, I’ll share some of my post-sabbatical reflections on that entry.Each day I started with a quote, followed by my reflections on that day.

If you “follow” the blog (upper right on the home page), you’ll get automatic email updates when I post the next entry. You can find previous posts in the links to the right. At the bottom of each post, you’ll notice some “share” buttons. Feel free to share this with others if you think it would be interesting to them or help them.

June 11 – Day 20
Dad’s House – Ackerman
10:30 p.m.

One road leads home and a thousand roads lead into the wilderness.
~ C.S. Lewis

It felt good today to cross over from Winston County into Choctaw County. It’s been too long since I’ve been home. Though I haven’t lived here for 25 years whenever I come to Ackerman I still feel like that homesick college kid returning from Ole Miss for the weekend. As I drove around today I hardly recognized the town, though in reality it hasn’t changed much. Pap’s Place still anchors downtown (only in Mississippi would a catfish place “anchor” main street). There were new storage units; Busby’s is now a pawn shop; a new hospital is being built; Lawrence’s gas station is closed; the high school and the park look the same as they always have.

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