This, I believe, is one of the greatest lessons my dad has taught me…
One that has spared me many undue heartache.
One that I wish I’d learned much sooner… but am grateful to have learned at all.
The wisdom of living assumption-free, trust-filled, and believing in more than I can see.
To take in a circumstance with all that my eyes, ears, and heart can understand… and then believe that there is more to it than I can know… and to rest in the assurance that Someone knows. It doesn’t have to be me.
Though I often wish it were.
How easy it is to look at a weed… one sole weed… and determine that the entire garden must be over-ridden with this decrepit beauty-choker. What frustration, hopelessness, and despair could overwhelm me… if I never looked up.
Never looked up to see a beautifully flourishing garden… weed-free.
To pull just one weed and be at ease.
One weed at a time.
Or maybe it’s not a weed.
But a miscarriage. Financial loss. Death of a loved one. Disease. A broken relationship. An unexpected bill.
A friend’s comment. Or lack of comment.
An envied gift given to another.
Whatever it may be… it’s an opportunity to allow that one moment to suck you in and convince you that God is dead, life is unworthy of living, and what you see is all there is… and it is unexplainable. Unacceptable. Unlivable.
Oh how I’ve bore up under these moments! These lies! When I was convinced that death was far better than life! That my dad must hate me. That no one loves me. Not one.
Only to have my head lifted.
To see a garden… beautiful, weed-free… goodness that overwhelms a moment. A circumstance. A broken expectation.
To see that her death changed more lives that her life had… because of her life lived… then given over.
To realize the unspoken comment… wasn’t absent from mind and heart, just air.
That the loss of what I thought I wanted and needed… wasn’t what I wanted or needed… and I was free from the tangle.
To hand over something I did want… knowing that I can be better without it.
To surrender what I see… and trade it in for the hope of what is unseen. The knowledge that is unknown.
To recognize the command as an invitation… the discipline as life-sparing.
Hate… not as hate, but of a very hard love… a love needed to see true change. The hardest kind of love… but the truest.
To live a life that trusts the unseen, that believes and hopes in the greater… that refuses to waste pain for the greatness that can come from it. To be mastered by no moment, no fickle feeling, no thing that we’ve established as greater than we are.
The One who sees all, knows all, understands all, offers all.
To rest in the assurance that I am loved and all is for my good. What a life of peace and security!
My dad has taught me this… through difficult lessons, unexpected surprises, moment of humility and regret at having jumped to conclusions.
May this be a lesson I continue to grasp… in every moment of every day, and live out in such a way that the world around me releases the hold of false assumptions, accusation, self-absorbed thinking, generalizations of each moment onto every moment.
And meet my dad.
Because he’d love to show you his garden.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.
I’ve been mulling over the purpose of this blog. I’ve decided that this will be a place where we (you and I) share the things that bring our life passion and excitement. We all want a life of quality… one well lived and above and beyond the mundane and monotonous.
I know I have many experiences in life that have lent themselves to meaning far greater than myself. Experiences that enlightened my perspective, reformed my view, or simply held great significance that was worth noting and retaining. Many of these moments have been recorded and filed away.
Knowing this, I pulled out journals from my past and began perusing the pages, hunting for those grand moments that make the rest of life bearable. And though I found those moments penned by my hand at various stages in life, as I knew I would, I actually found something far greater. I remembered how important it is that we record our life stories.
For many hours over the last days, my heart and mind were sucked into the past through the pages of my journals. Emotions surfaced that I had almost long forgotten. Visions and pictures danced in my mind as the words unlocked doors of memory. What most amazed me was how far I’ve progressed as a person in life! The girl on the pages of my first year married is a very different girl than the one married almost seven years today! Same pen, perhaps, but very different person. The man I described in that first year is also incredibly different, and I realized how much more in love I am now than I was then. Things only realized in light of the hardships and pure pleasures that we have experienced.
I read through so many prayers… of thanksgiving, of praise, of pain, and of total anguish. How many times I realized that my prayers or words had been fulfilled in future events and days to come. What a huge blessing to remember that I had prayed many of the things I am now experiencing.
My trip backwards through the years did not require a special time-travel machine. It did not require large sums of money or even sick days from “work” (or, mommy-hood, in my case). I simply traveled through a journal in which I had so carefully treasured much of my heart and its meanderings.
Not only was that experience incredible for me…. to remind me of where I’ve come from, the mistakes I’ve made, the miracles I have seen, or the blessings I have been a part of… but I know those written words will also one day unlock the “mystery of mommy” to my children and grand children. Along with photo albums, those words document the heart and soul of their mother… something I only hope to have pieces of when my own mother passes. And its a void in my life for those people who’ve passed and left little of themselves to get to know through their writing.
Maybe you don’t feel like a writer. Maybe you hate to read. Maybe you love it! Regardless, may you find some time each day or even week, to record your prayers, wishes, hopes, dreams, and goals. Record your struggles and your successes. May your words become the hope of generations to come, inspiration for those you live among today, and a preservation not only of your past, but of the legacy you are aligned with. Go forth and journal! 🙂
1. Remember that whatever you write is visible to anyone… as safe as it may seem. Only right what you don’t mind someone seeing!
2. Journaling can be very therapeutic. If you must write things you don’t want others to see, DO! Then destroy it if you need to! I’ve done this many times!
3. The journal does NOT have to be fancy. Go to a dollar store and buy a spiral notebook. You can also find books designed to be journals at stores like Amazon, Barnes n Noble, Borders, etc.
4.Not every entry has to be about some supernatural experience or moment of significance! If you really have nothing to say, just write about your day! Start with what you did and see where your hand goes!
5. Don’t give up. If a month goes by, fine! Sit down and journal whenever you have the chance. Find some quiet time to reflect on your day, your life, your favorite song or food… and record it.
6. Discretion. I have many times written emotional letters to people and given it to them- when really it should have been only for me. If you want to write a letter to someone, do. Then keep it. Put it in your journal. I’ve done this with emails too. Usually the second or third time I write it, I’ve been able to weed out the things that don’t need to be said and have actually written a letter I can give.