I didn’t know it was true. For me. For my mind and heart and story. I didn’t know what it felt like to experience a new outlook, to receive a different lens for the same life I’ve always lived.
Two weeks ago, I spent an hour a day letting God direct my attention to my past, to my childhood. I sat at his feet and surrendered, the best I could, my mind and heart. I gave him my imagination, and He showed me images of experiences I had forgotten. He put me back into the story of my childhood–after I was born, when I was born, and before I was born.
It was learning God’s delight in my existence before I was given to my parents, placed in my mother’s womb, that changed how I view my life. It underscores the way I see my past and present–and my ideas for my future, too.
I didn’t know I was so loved. I didn’t know so much joy could be had over me. Can you let yourself imagine the raucous party in heaven–wild and beautiful–over the truth of you? Do you want to?
And then last week, I let God guide me through memories of my twenties. Because of my new sense of belonging–and belovedness–I approached the exercises with God with optimism and curiosity. Rather than assuming God was going to point me to memories of my failures and regrets, (which was my usual way of viewing the world) I was delighted when He showed me blessing after blessing–in moments I had not celebrated as good before.
There is good here, in our stories. There is good here, in our disappointments and mistakes. There is good here, in our trust in God to show us how He views us, how He loves us, how He redeems everything and has loved–and never stopped loving us–from the beginning. And God’s definition of the beginning, of course, is so much different than our own.
Will you join me? Will you grab God’s hand and spend time allowing him to guide you through your past? Even if you have spent time doing this with him before?
Even after I have spent hours and hours, over the years, inviting God into my imagination and heart–into the deep places in me I thought were better to keep hidden–I have found that continued surrender of our ideas about who we are, what we think, and what we are convinced we have figured out will always lead to deeper intimacy with God.
I want that more than anything else.
So, this week, as I ask him to guide me through memories of the rest of my life so far, I expect a few things will happen: I will feel safe; I will be held; I will fall even more deeply in love with the one who knows and loves me most. And it will be good.
For the Loop Poetry Project this week, will you write a poem that speaks to your journey with your past? How do you feel about looking back at moments in your life? Will you express it?
Or, will you describe a moment from your life that has changed you? A pivotal memory? A turn?
Let your heart wander around for a bit in this landscape of your past–a past that might feel both old and new, or familiar and completely unfamiliar too.
Will you let God guide you? Will you let him navigate you through memory’s terrain? It will be good, though it will likely not be easy. And I pray Jesus’ protection over you as you say yes to this invitation. There is good here. That is the promise.
And please, when you have written your poem down, will you share it in the comments below? And will you join us in the Loop Poetry Project group, a space for women to share poetry that expresses the deepest places of their hearts?
Honored to share this space with you,
(a response to Mary Oliver in her poem, “Messenger”)
You tell me my work in the world is gratitude
a bowing, a pointing to the sky
and noticing its blue
or the soft coat of a dog
or the timeless song of my children’s laughter
even as it fades
from memory, and you tell me to touch this heart’s ache
as it struggles to feel
enough joy, enough pain, and wonder
as this world remembers when it was new and good
And I disagree.
For my work is more than gratitude. It is remembering
his arms around me
and the celebration of birth and love and all things
good and pure.
And where home is—my work is remembering home and aching
for it to come again, back to me.