It's an interesting collision when past & present come together. It allows me to see how all of my past has shaped me into who I am today and reminds me of how far I have come through God's grace. I am extremely grateful for this on a regular basis, but being back in my hometown last week only reinforced how much that place is a part of the man that I am today. It's the familiarity of good friends, the memories of growing up, early marriage, and raising kids, the years of influence from people who love me, the tough love that has shaped me as a man, and the mutual investment of lives in ministry, teaching, and maturing that make a substantial difference.
It's a sweet blending of coming face-to-face with who I used to be and the man I am today while realizing that nothing is wrong with either one of those men. They are both key in the summation of who I am now and I am comfortable with that confident knowledge while God continues to shape & mold me.