How Much Things Change in a Decade {Plus 10 Things I’ve Learned in 10 Years.}

How Much Things Change in a Decade {Plus 10 Things I’ve Learned in 10 Years.}

Happy New Decade.

I’ve been pondering the changes of the last ten years and wondering if the next ten will be as dramatic. (I’m sure they will be in other ways.)

I’ve also been mulling over all the ways that God was faithful to our little family in big ways and in ways I’m sure we never even noticed. (God’s sustaining grace is always around us, whether we recognize it or not.)

In the past ten years,

  • We homeschooled four of our children through graduation. (Something I never thought I’d do!)
  • God dropped Little B into our lives and we entered the world of foster care and a level of worry that I’d never known.
  • We paid for 12 years of university. College bills are always a struggle but by God’s grace, none of our kids graduated with debt.
  • Three of our children married wonderful spouses and our family grew.
  • Peter and I celebrated 25 years of marriage with a trip to England. (My first time to Europe! This Christmas he surprised me with a 9 day trip to Italy! I already downloaded an audiobook to learn Italian and bought a silk scarf. 😉 Don’t worry, I already know the important words: espresso, spaghetti, and gelato.)
  • Both of my paternal grandparents died.
  • My first grandchild was born. All the reports are true…grandchildren are the best! We also learned that we’ll be grandparents a second time as Rebekah and Peter are expecting in March.


My grandmother with my granddaughter, Annie Rose. Five generations in one room. What a blessing!
Annie Rose
Annie Rose
All my kids at Matt and Lydia's wedding this September.
All my kids at Matt and Lydia’s wedding this September.
My beautiful new daughter in law, Lydia. So much happiness.
My beautiful new daughter in law, Lydia. So much happiness.

On a spiritual level, God has established my heart in several areas and taught me 10 truths about life:

1.I’ve learned to love people especially when they can do nothing for you. Oftentimes we love expecting something in return. Fostering has opened our eyes to another kind of love where you give your heart for the good of another knowing that the rug could be pulled out at any moment. It has been a wonderful lesson to learn, one that has gutted my ideas of what love is like.

2. I’ve learned that you can still love people but not be in a close relationship with them. You can forgive people, love them, but not trust them because their actions have shown them to be unreliable or untrustworthy. You can still love them where they are and pray for them.

3. I’ve learned that people have to choose to do right. Being raised in the church means nothing. Attending church can’t clean a rebellious heart. Sitting in the pew doesn’t mean you’re listening or ready to change. God has to deal with people in His time. And sometimes the best thing to do is to just simply get out of the way and let God be God. I’ve seen so many people come and go. I’ve seen people who pride themselves in never missing a service, who show up “do or die” but still remain unchanged. Change happens when we are consumed with Christ. Remaining unchanged shows we are consumed with problems or lesser things. The truth is that the church is full of people in varying states and God is still able cut through hearts of stone and stiff necks who desire change. God will also allow people to sit and be sour and stagnate if that’s what they desire.

4. I’ve learned that choosing what is right (and not what is easy) is what forges a life of integrity. Every choice sets a course!

5. I’ve learned God is more concerned with my faithfulness in little areas.I stopped believing the lie that I’d miss out if I served God in little spaces and unseen places. He taught me to love my family well behind closed doors, and to show true religion at home first. He always brought more opportunities to serve than I could handle.  When I felt restless, I’d pray “God use me,” and He’d open up doors of service,  opportunities to speak and share for Him, or bring women to my door who needed someone to encourage them. He truly is the God who is there!

6. I learned to say no to things that weren’t best for our family and not feel guilty about it. Each family has it’s own puzzle: number of kids, resources, limitations, and God given paths. It’s ok to have different priorities than others.

7. He taught me that I can rest in Him and do what is right. I don’t have to worry about what others are doing. In a world where people are only human and hopelessly flawed it’s easy to think that if you could replace the weakest link, things would move in the right direction. But the truth is that the government, your husband, your professor, your boss, your pastor, your friends, your in-laws, your neighbors are never going to be what they should be (and neither will you!) and they’ll always disappoint in some respect. But they can’t stop God’s plans for you. Nobody is powerful enough to do that. And God has you in a place and time for a reason. Honestly, if you can see the injustice around you, maybe that’s exactly why God has you in that place. You be the change and the example, whether you have the power or title. You can always do what’s right.

8.One of the biggest lessons that God has taught me relationally is that I need to stop expecting people to be something that they aren’t.  The idealist in me wants to believe that people WANT to change and do what is excellent, but that’s not reality. I’ll use etiquette as an example, since it’s a pretty small ideal.  I used to assume that once people knew proper etiquette, they’d want to use it. (I’m talking about grown adults, not children. lol ) When someone interrupted two people who were clearly engaged in conversation, or when they’d whisper at the table full of people leaving others out,  or spoke over another person in conversation, or spoke their mind with no regard for the audience or the consequences of their words, or used Snap Chat at the dinner table instead of talking to the people they were eating with, I’d roll my eyes (internally) and be irritated thinking they had a lack of respect for others in general or an inflated view of their own self-worth/input. And maybe that’s true, but that’s not my concern. The truth is that their behavior is a reflection of them, and has nothing to do with me. Now, I used etiquette as a small example, but when people lie to you consistently, show up late or not at all, fail to follow through with what they’ve committed to do or do it in a lazy way, or blurt whatever is in their head at the moment, the truth is still the same. Their behavior reflects them and I can’t expect them to be anything more than what they are showing me they are. Part of loving others is to love them warts and all, limitations and all. And while I don’t trust a perpetual liar, I can still love them while taking every word with a grain of salt. While I don’t ask a woman who blurts to keep a confidence, I can still enjoy her company and her other good qualities. Don’t expect people to be what they are not.

9. I’ve also learned to embrace my own limitations. God made me the way I am for a reason. And though I’m always trying to grow and change, I’m a creative encourager and helper at heart and by nature and that’s how God made me.  I’ll never be the careful, calculating accountant that my husband is, but together we are better. Good thing. Without Peter, we’d be in debt up to our ears because who’s counting trips to the coffee shop when they foster such deep connection and conversation? he,he. Without me, there’d be hot dogs for dinner every night eaten by candlelight because both are cheapest. 😉 JK. But honestly, together, we compliment each other.

10.But mostly, I’ve learned that God is very long-suffering to my own foolishness and always desires for me to know Him better. He’s not a God who gives up,  lassoing my wandering heart back to Him. He’s the God who is there and present, who sees what I’m consumed with, and knows that I’m too often consumed by the problems right in front of me: what’s for dinner, who needs to go where, who needs immediate attention.  He’s the God who shows me the sunset at the end of a hectic day to remind me that He’s in charge in a beautiful way. He nudges me to pray in the dark hours of the morning, reminding me of our relationship. He’s always close, pulling me back to His side and ready to be as close as I want to be. He is truly the God of mercy to those who love Him and call upon His name.


So what have you learned over the last decade? How have your life’s lessons made you a wiser woman?




2 thoughts on “How Much Things Change in a Decade {Plus 10 Things I’ve Learned in 10 Years.}”

  • So much truth and wisdom right here!!! Thank you for this wonderful post!
    I do tend to expect people to react/do/understand the way that I do. Oh, how I am learning that this is not the expectation I should have. In fact, I’m learning that I should have no expectations. I’m so thankful that God is such a constant in my life. He is my strong tower, with arms ever open to me. Resting in that knowledge is so reassuring.

  • “I’ve learned that you can still love people but not be in a close relationship with them. You can forgive people, love them, but not trust them because their actions have shown them to be unreliable or untrustworthy. You can still love them where they are and pray for them.” Wow that was wonderful, thank you!
    I’ve learned that God is faithful ALWAYS in spite of me and my sin, in spite of others and their sin, and in spite of what circumstances seem to be telling. Therefore, He is the only Rock, I can trust Him and always say: whatever you want me to do, I’ll do it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *