remembering the past {and} rejoicing in the future

I mentioned to a friend last night that I blog because it is basically like journaling. I have always liked to journal. In fact, during my recent hunt for garage sale items in my basement tubs, I came across a healthy stack of journals filled cover to cover with my own thoughts, prayers, and sketches. I still journal almost every morning. I just seem to be able to formulate a better thought when I write it down. I have never been brave enough to go back and read my own writing though. I guess I’m afraid I’ll find it shallow, uneducated, or silly. Same with the blog, I’m sure many of you who have been here since the beginning can attest that that the voice in this blog has changed throughout the years (4 years now!). And that’s to be expected, because I have changed a lot.

journaling

This week I took the kids, with my mom, to see her older sister who has been battling ovarian cancer for 3 years and will likely be reaching the end of her struggle soon. The minute I heard that she had contracted MRSA, I knew I needed and wanted to get up to Denver to see her. My mom had told me a few weeks ago that my aunt wanted to call me to talk about something, but weeks went by without a call. Many thoughts circled my mind on what she might say. This was the aunt who saw me grow up from a distance, but knew me all too well. She could spot my selfish heart and shallow desires hundreds of miles away. She would call me out on my attitude and terse responses that I foolishly tried to disguise as wittiness. All true, all ugly things I don’t like to remember about myself. After 7 hours in the car and a fitful night sleep, I finally sat in the room with my aunt, my mom, and my grandpa. Small talk between labored breaths ensued until we were left alone at which point she sat straight up in bed and looked at me with wide eyes.

 

“Now that we are alone…”

 

I nodded, my heart racing, palms clammy, knot in my throat growing larger by the second.

 

I won’t share now with you specifically what she wanted me to know, I’ll hold that up as a treasure in my heart. I will share that she was extremely gracious, citing my loveliness and beauty. How can this be? There was so much to hate. I can remember giving her attitude and arguments, but love? No, love did not reign in my teenage mind or body. The only explanation I can muster is that she has forgotten. Maybe it is a side effect of the countless medications, but more likely it is grace. My aunt is not a stranger to grace, coming to belief in Jesus in adulthood, she understands being forgiven, and she has forgiven me much. How beautiful is forgetfulness when talking about sin. My aunt is not the only one who could chose to remember my sin, to point it out and humiliate me with it, to call me a hypocrite and a fraud…

 

The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.

As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,

(Psalm 103:8-17 ESV)

 

I’m thankful tonight for a God who remembers that we are dust and shows us kindness and grace, not dealing with us how we deserve. Thankfully, there will be a day coming when my aunt will no longer struggle to breathe, she will be whole. There will be a day when I no longer think only of myself, I will see him with unveiled glory and worship him in wholeness. And there will be no end to our happiness and completion in him, it will be from everlasting to everlasting. So I can go ahead and read my old silly journals and not be ashamed, but rather rejoice in the sanctification and growth that he has planted in me. And I can look in the face of my suffering aunt and find hope in the glory of Christ knowing that hope will not put us to shame, she is awaiting something much better.

 

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