"Where have the years gone?" my elderly friend asked me when I visited her at the nursing home recently.

I replied that I wasn't sure; sometimes the past is like the blurred view outside the window of a speeding train. My years have gone by so fast that parts of my journey are just hazy distant memories, while other events are frozen so clearly in my mind that they could have happened yesterday. My friend's question and the fact that I was at a nursing home — which is the one place where almost everyone is older than me (if you don't count the people who work there) — caused me to reflect about the past year as I drove back to work.

It's already 2006, but what about last year, I wondered. "What, if anything, have I accomplished this year?"

  • Did I make anyone's burdens lighter?
  • Did I share with those less fortunate?
  • Was I a good example for my children, my co-workers, and my neighbors?
  • Did I invite anyone to church?
  • Was I kind and considerate of others and did I go out of my way to comfort those who needed comfort?
  • Was I strong for my husband when he needed to lean on me, and did I remember to tell him everyday how much I love and appreciate him?
  • Did I praise my Savior and give thanks for blessings to numerous to count?

I can't go back and change one single thing!
I can't go back and change one single thing that I did or didn't do in 2005! However, with God's help and if it is His will, I can do better in the coming year. Reflection is only beneficial when we learn from it and use that knowledge to make positive changes in the future.

Have you ever thought about what the preacher will say when you come to the end of your life and you are the "main attraction" at the funeral? I suppose there are lots of people who prefer to ignore the fact that one day they will die, but I think it can be a valuable way to remind ourselves of what is really important.

If I were to die tomorrow, I know that it won't matter how many articles I wrote for Heartlight, how many books I've published, or how many places I was invited to speak. I don't care if the word "author" or "writer" is even mentioned at my funeral, but I do want to be remembered as a strong and faithful Christian, a loving wife and mother, and a loyal friend. If I can manage all that with God's help, I will have lived a full and purposeful life — a life in which my Father in heaven will be proud. I want to have lived for Him.

If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give it up for me, you will find it. (Matthew 10:39 NLT)