A Trip Down Memory Lane

A few years ago, I decided I would go for a trip down memory lane. I had on my mind to go and just sit at a little stream that I used to play at when I was younger. It was just off a main road and not too far away from where I lived at the time. I remembered there was a little methodist church just down the road, so I thought I’d visit that afterwards too.

Life for me as a child was chaos, but in amongst that chaos are some little snippets of happy memories. One of those memories is being by this stream with my mum. It was summertime; we took a packed lunch and some chalks to draw pictures on the path at the side. I wanted to recapture this peaceful memory. I was feeling nostalgic and perhaps longing for something I never truly had, but, nevertheless, there I was on my way to remember times gone by.

As I parked up on the road just ahead of the stream, I was struck by how things had changed. It had been over 25 years since I’d last been and things looked very different. Then I walked over to where I used to play. I couldn’t see the stream. The grass and the trees around it had grown so much and had covered up the place where I used to sit. I was so disappointed.

I got back in my car and drove down the road to the little methodist church where I would sometimes go to Sunday School. It had gone! The entire building knocked down and a new building in its place. My heart was so heavy.

As I was driving home, I remember praying and asking God…what was all that about? And as I was praying, I felt God was saying to me, “Now is not a time for revisiting the past. Remembering is ok, but revisiting will only lead to disappointment. You can never touch the same flow of a river (or stream in my case) twice. That time has passed and now is the time to look straight ahead and keep moving forward”.

I was reminded of the words in the Bible: ‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.’ (Isaiah 43:19)

I was so caught up in what I had lost and missed out on, as a child, that I wasn’t able to see what was ahead of me. God was doing something new in my life and I had to learn to let go of the past. It was a hard lesson but a valuable one. God was teaching me not to look back but to look forward to the future that was already etched out for me. He was making a way in the wilderness of my past life, and I had to learn to trust Him.

I am happy to say that I did learn to trust God and now life is very different. I’ve been happily married for almost ten years and have made some memories I could only ever have dreamt of many years ago. It’s not always been easy, but it’s definitely been worth it.

Have you been like me? Holding on to things? Dwelling on memories of times gone by that you wish you could revisit? Dwelling on memories that perhaps aren’t that great, and you just can’t move on?

I want to encourage you today: don’t look back to the past and dwell on old things.

We shouldn’t let the weight of our past hold us back from moving forward. We shouldn’t dwell on those memories or allow them to define us. Instead, we should acknowledge them, be thankful and learn from them, and use them as motivation to live a better future with God. What lies ahead is so much more important and when we can learn to let go and trust God, He can make a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.


Adelle Howells is the child of an addict and was one herself. Adelle’s faith journey started at our first Fixed conference, and she later worked as an administrator at  Proclaim Trust. She is now a church leader and an Elim Minister in Training.