My mind goes a million different places as I try to type what I know will be the first sentence of the first post of this blog. As I think about where to even start, my mind goes back to two weekends ago.
As my friend and I were driving back to New Orleans from visiting another friend that lived only a few hours away, my friend mentioned to me about participating in this writing challenge with her. It’s called Write 31 Days. I had been thinking about ways to grow and challenge myself creatively, especially with writing. I told her I thought it was a good idea–until she started talking about posting it everyday. You should have seen the look on my face. Based on her reaction, it must have been comical.
I write a lot. She knows that because she’s close to me, and she writes as well, so naturally it comes up pretty frequently. So, I replied, “I don’t even know what I would write about.”
One of many reasons that we are so close is because she speaks truth to me even when I don’t necessarily want to hear it. She said, “Well just ask the Lord. I think He will tell you.”
What am I supposed to say to that? It’s completely true. She continued to be helpful by also saying that there were some resources available that could prompt me. But, one thing she said that really got me thinking and helped me to come to the conclusion of what to write about was this:
“I’m sure there are many ways that you have seen the Lord come through for you in the past. Why don’t you write about some of those things?”
I hate to admit this, but in that moment, I realized that I couldn’t remember a single thing off the top of my head to tell her about how the Lord had been faithful to me. Not because I didn’t think that He had. I remember the Lord being faithful to me in the past, and I believe in His faithfulness. But, maybe my spiritual amnesia is why some of the moments in this hard season have been harder.
That night after I got home, I reflected more on our conversation and asked the Lord to guide my thoughts as to what I could write about everyday for the next month. As I was going to bed that night, still thinking about it, the Lord told to me to remember.
The next day, again, I asked the Lord to speak to me and affirm what He would have me write about as I came to the conclusion that I was really going to do this and participate in this challenge. In my Bible Study Group that morning, we talked about the book of Lamentations. I appreciate the people that lead this Bible Study so much because of how well they help me understand the historical context of what was actually going on when the book was written, but they also do such a good job connecting it and applying it to our lives exactly where we are.
And to be honest, my life feels a lot like Lamentations sometimes. Or Job. Or Jonah. Or Jeremiah. Not the exact events that unfolded in their lives, but I really resonate with their responses and how they processed some of the things that happened to them or how those things made them feel. The people closest to me understand why I feel that way, but that’s not the point of what I want to share here.
But, because of that fact, places in scripture over the past year have become so much sweeter, honestly like salve to my healing soul, when I read them.
“He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes; my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, ‘My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the LORD.'”
When we read that verse, I thought, “well I couldn’t have said it better myself.” Maybe that sounds dramatic. But, the reality is, there comes a point in time in life where I think if we are all actually honest, we can say we feel that now or have felt that in the past. If not, well kudos to you my friend, know that not all of us have been so fortunate.
But, we can’t stop there. We have to keep reading. Verses 21-26:
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope; The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’ The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.”
She posed the question, “What does it look like to call to mind the hope and truth of the Lord when our souls have forgotten?”
She said our flesh wants “to hang out in the dumps,” but we have to choose to remember the Lord. To remember His steadfast love never ceases.
There are seasons of life where we don’t have to be reminded of deep pain, heartache or suffering because all we have to do is look around, see it, or feel it. Most people try to forget it or ignore it, and I honestly don’t blame them. But, in those seasons, I realized, I have a choice. I can choose to call to mind the steadfast love of the Lord. I can choose to remember Him. To remember that his mercies are new every morning. Remember His faithfulness. Remember joy. Remember His promises–fulfilled and unfulfilled. Remember to hope. Remember to believe. Remember to trust. Remember deliverance. Remember victories and celebrations. Remember His goodness. To remember that the God I know from previous seasons is still the same God I am learning more about in this season even though my present situation may not help me draw those same conclusions about God, yet.
Yes, I know that calling these things to mind doesn’t make the current hurt, the pain or the suffering go away. My soul knows that too well. But, as my Bible Study Leader shared with us that morning, “Remembering can help give joy and hope in suffering.”
Joy and hope. That’s what I’m after. That, among other things about the Lord, is what I’m choosing to remember and write about for the next thirty-one days. I hope you’ll join me too, in whatever way that looks like for you.