Eyes Looking Forward

What are you looking forward to in life? A celebration? A promotion? A reunion? Rest?

I am looking forward to all of the above. I have set my gaze forward, and I await the day when I will be promoted from this earthly life to my heavenly one, my labors finished, celebrating my reunion with the Savior of my soul for all eternity. 

Before His crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples that He would see them again and their hearts would rejoice.1 He also told them He was going to prepare a place for those who would believe in Him and that someday He would return to take them there to be with Him.2 But what would they do while they awaited His return? What will we do? I am looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith.3

With the eyes of faith, I have seen Him for the first time, and when He returns, I will see Him again, face to face, and my heart will rejoice. Until that day, my eyes need to continue looking forward to the eternal, undistracted from the cares of this world and the sin which so easily besets me. He has given me an eternal purpose, and for this reason, I press on toward the goal.

Will you join me in looking forward?

“Since before time began, a call went out to you. Even in the midst of a crowd, God has been seeking your heart as an individual. An invitation was developed with you in mind. From the time that the foundation of the world was laid, Jesus prepared to die for you and for each soul that would ever live. His sacrifice was arranged before you were ever a thought—before a single soul had ever lived. He did this so that you might have eternal life. Have you responded to His invitation?

“This call has gone out directly to you. It does not involve living vicariously through someone else; it involves you living directly. The rewards of answering this invitation are beyond anything you could ever imagine. God is offering you a most amazing prize: the gift of eternal life. This gift was given in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 NKJV).”4

If we come forward to receive this gift, we can look forward to eternal life.5

Faith in His salvation will be our salvation. Jesus conquered the power of sin and death to save our souls, and if we accept His gift of eternal life, the things of this temporal life grow dim. Eyes that look beyond the now to the eternal purposes of God find life, and hope, and peace.6

“Eyes that look forward see life is not just about waking up, eating three meals a day, going to work for a shift, and filling the evenings with family and recreation. These eyes don’t focus on the mundane or the chaotic. They don’t look inside themselves for answers. They don’t focus on the pain, the past, the addiction, the fear, the comparison, the discontent, the regret. They look forward. They look to God. He created us for a purpose. He gave His Son to save us. He has a plan for our lives and a desire to commune with us. He will do amazing things in us and through us, if we look to Him. He will watch over and care for His own. His eyes and heart will be with them. And beyond the now, those who have placed their faith in Jesus will see more than what their hearts know; they will see Him, face to face. We have this to look forward to.”7


See John 16:22.

See John 14:1–6.

See Hebrews 12:1–2.

Francee Strain, No Ordinary Invitation: Called to Live a Life of Eternal Purpose, (Bloomington, IN: WestBow Press, 2017), 4. Scripture quoted from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, ©1982 by Thomas Nelson.

5 Paragraphs one through eight are taken from my blog article “Looking Forward,” August 1, 2021, https://wordpress.com/posts/franceestrain.com?s=looking+forward.

6 Adapted from Francee Strain, “Eyes Forward,” June 13, 2021, https://wordpress.com/posts/franceestrain.com?s=eyes+forward.

7 Francee Strain, “Eyes Forward,” June 13, 2021, https://wordpress.com/posts/franceestrain.com?s=eyes+forward.

©Text and photo Francee Strain, January 21, 2023.

Reset, 2022

This post is a revision of a post I wrote in 2019. I recorded it for my podcast earlier this week and thought I would share it in writing as well. It has been updated to reflect the passage of time and revised in order to share about two great blessings from God.


It seems we do two major resets per year: January 1st and the week after Labor Day. But let’s be real here. We need to reset more than twice per year. It’s so easy to get off-track and off-kilter in life. When the power goes out, and the clocks are blinking, we need a reset.

Things can kick our feet out from under us. We can get sucked in, pulled this way, shoved that way. At times, we get dragged in, kicking and screaming. Sometimes, we dive in headlong, willingly. We miscalculate. We set it and forget it. But, regardless of how we get here, we can hit burnout; we can hit depression; we can hit a season of prodigal living; and we can be laying in a rut deeper than we can dig ourselves out of.

I have just passed the 22nd anniversary of the beginning of my chronic illnesses, as year after year, more chronic illnesses have been added to the initial one. There are days when I can barely get out of bed, much less leave the house. Travel is not in my vocabulary. Common tasks like moving, thinking, eating, and communicating all become difficult or impossible. When I originally wrote this article, for a moment, I celebrated the 19th anniversary. I was excited to think about how far God had brought me, because when things first began, I honestly thought I was going to die. But then my mind shifted—my focus shifted—and I watched what everyone else around me was doing: gearing up for vacations, packing up picnic baskets, dusting off suitcases, and stocking up on suntan lotion. And my heart hurt. The celebration came to a halt as reality crowded its way into my mind.

If I go out in public, people think I must be better. They have no idea of the battle that ensued to put me in their presence. And unless there is divine intervention, I will never get better; I will actually grow worse. My mind slips into thinking how unfair this is. Another anniversary of my high school and college graduations has come and gone, and I am not where I imagined I would be at this point in life. Life rolls on without me. The family reunions happen without me. The weddings, baby showers, and even funerals don’t require a seat for me. In my humanness, it is quite discouraging. My heart breaks. My heart cries out—not questioning God, but in frustration. “God, if I was just healthy, I could do a, b, and c. I could do this for You. I could go there for You. I could reach them, touch them, help them in Your name. I could do that God. I could.”

But I can’t. Not in that way. Not yet. There has to be another way.

There has to be something else for me right now. What is it? What is it, God? As my heart breaks, so do the sobs. But then I think about the words “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”1 There is an eternal purpose. There is an eternal plan unfolding in my life right now. Everything is filtered through His hand. Everything can be viewed as a good and perfect gift. Everything is a good and perfect gift. I just need a reset: To reset my mind on things above. To reset my heart in the direction from whence comes my help. A reset in my focus—to still serve God no matter what I can or cannot do. A reset of my course—serving God in this current state. I will do things in a new and different way, or I will do something new and different altogether. I will reset my purpose from temporal to eternal. I will reset my goal—not to be chasing after the things other people are chasing after, nor even chasing after the things I want to or think I should be chasing after, but to instead be chasing after the things God wants for me. This is my goal. This is my purpose. Your will be done, not mine.

I will reset my gaze from what I see now to what is beyond the now. He is good, and He does what is good. I will reset my heart to bow to His will. And I will reset the words running around in my mind and spilling off my tongue to be words of gratitude, praise, and worship. Yes, I am going to reset my mind on things above and not on things of this earth. And in another twenty-two years, I am going to be celebrating again. But I am also going to be doing it all along the way until I arrive there.

Resets can be difficult, but the payoff is worth it. Refreshment will come. Peace will come. Joy, hope, and a powerful witness will come. The new day will bring new mercies. The new eyes will bring new hope. The new direction will leave a new legacy.

The new year, the new season, can start on any day of the calendar year. Reset your mind on Christ.


Before I close, I would like to share a testimony with you of something amazing God did for me this year. Above, I mentioned that travel is not in my vocabulary; however, this year, I was able to take two three-day trips. One was to celebrate my parents’ 50th anniversary. I got to see relatives from both sides of the family, some of whom I hadn’t seen in almost thirty-five years. The other trip was to visit my father-in-law who is in declining health. I had not seen him in thirteen years. And while I was there, I got to see other members of the family, and some of them were new to the family. I didn’t feel well during either of these trips. I had to deal with various symptom flare-ups, spent some time in bed, and missed some of the events, but I am astounded at what God did for me. He gave me the strength, ability, endurance, and help that I needed to be able to accomplish the travel. It was truly miraculous, and I thank and praise Him for what He did for me.


1 Colossians 3:2

Scripture taken from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, ©1982 by Thomas Nelson.

© Text and photo Francee Strain, September 15, 2022. Original article posted July 9, 2019.