Changing Landscapes

City Skyline

Dan and I were able to get away for a quick overnight this past weekend in celebration of our eight-year anniversary. I had been itching to visit my college campus (Go ‘Cats!) for some time, so we opted for a night in Evanston.

It was an odd juxtaposition–so many familiar sights and sounds mixed with lots of new ones.

Coming into town, we didn’t need our navigation system. The streets haven’t changed. We’ve just grown up from Dan’s old Grand Prix to his Ford F150. When we first arrived, we ate sushi at Koi–where I first lost my sushinity back in college. After dinner, we walked the streets and noticed that Dixie Kitchen and Merle’s BBQ had shut their doors. My church had moved down the road. We stopped for ice cream at a fun new frozen custard place, and I enjoyed peeking into the new restaurants and stores that had popped up downtown.

The campus itself blew me away. Outside my dorm, the road where Dan used to wait in his aforementioned Grand Prix had been replaced by a grassy common area where students were sitting on benches doing scholarly things. The view by the lake was almost unrecognizable. I had heard about the new music building, but no one could have prepared me for the scope of this state-of-the-art new construction. The floor-to-ceiling glass structure looked like something out of a George Lucas film. Not to mention the addition of a visitor center and sailing center (not pretentious at all).

As we drove away, I started to cry.

“How could so much possibly change in eight years?” I thought. “And why am I getting so emotional about it?”

And then it hit me.

Eight years.

The same amount of time that Dan and I have been married.

It was poetic, really–this changing campus landscape. Just like the changing landscape of our life together. Our new home now stands where a condo once was. We’ve moved down the road from Lakeview Church to Crossway Community Church. Dan has graduated from an elementary school district to a high school one. We have watched landmarks torn down due to death and brokenness, but we have also watched God create three beautiful skyscrapers–our three beautiful boys.

“For everything there is a season,” it says in Ecclesiastes. “A time for every matter under Heaven…A time to break down, and a time to build up.” (Ecclesiastes 3:3)

It’s comforting to know that God has ordained the changing landscapes of our lives, isn’t it?

The Master Builder has “made everything beautiful in its time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) My life is no different.

I may not be able to see the full landscape now. In fact, there are days when I feel like everything around me is crumbling to the ground. But God’s word assures me that he is strategically laying each brick and mortar to build something magnificent for his glory. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Today, I am thanking God for the growing pains. As much as it pained my heart to see my Alma Mater change, I think I would have been sadder had she stayed the same for eight years. The same goes for my life together with Dan. May our landscape be ever-changing, ever-growing for his glory.

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