I had the sudden urge last week to clean out a cluttered shelf right at the back of my robe.
It contained a whole array of things I was keeping ‘just in case’ which were ruthlessly thrown from my perch on a stool down into a big cardboard box headed for the thrift store.
At the back of this robe though, I discovered a box of old journals dating back to 2004.
Pulling this hefty weight down from the shelf and onto my bed I intended to flick through quickly, stack them again neatly and return them to their place.
Instead, I found myself transported back fourteen years, where old seasons of my life replayed before my eyes and became real again.
My accounts of friendships, of my every day, of work and life as a single young woman who’d just moved in to her very own apartment.
I was cringing awkwardly reading the words of my 19 year old self, as well as feeling again all the emotions that went with the territory of discovering God, and myself, and caring deeply what other people thought, and crushing hard on a boy who was just as clueless as I was, and who played with my heart a little too frivolously.
I sat for what felt like hours, and still days later it was playing on my mind.
I was remembering what it felt like to fight with that boy, to feel lost and unsure, and reliving afresh falling pregnant at 20, unmarried, and feeling like my whole world capsized.
The journals are full of prayers, written to a God I barely knew and my scribbled imaginings of the future that I’m living now.
And in this now, on the other side of all those things that didn’t make sense at the time, I see them so differently.
I see the boy who became my husband and laugh at how little we knew each other then, and how deep a love can go.
I see the threads of Jesus woven through years of a young girl’s life, all of it leading me to this place here and now.
I see that the prayers I prayed then, however awkward and cringeworthy were not in vain – that He saw, He heard, He was there, even when I didn’t feel Him.
And it reminds me that in my now when I am unsure of what’s to come, when I try to control flimsy moments in my days, or feel like my prayers are silent in heaven – that He is in control. That one day this will be the past I look back on and I’ll see clearly the threads of Jesus woven through my life as a beautiful tapestry. That He takes my awkwardness, my doubt, my heart after Him, and weaves it together like a beautiful love story.
You are so intimately aware of me, Lord.
You read my heart like an open book
and you know all the words I’m about to speak
before I even start a sentence!
You know every step I will take before my journey even begins.
You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way,
and in kindness you follow behind me
to spare me from the harm of my past
Jesus’ disciples were trying to understand what He was telling them, in the lead up to the cross. They didn’t get what God was doing, couldn’t see His grand plan in the midst of confusion… but in this lead up to Easter, in this Lent season, I want to encourage us that He’s gone into our future to prepare a way! We can’t always see it, but we can trust that He is ever holding, ever loving, ever weaving His love story through our lives.
God, help me to always remember that You are in control. When life doesn’t make sense, YOU still do. When what happens around us is far from good, you are still Good. Thank you for paving the way to our future for us, and waiting for us there with grace, and for weaving through our lives your never-giving-up love. Amen x