Thursday, February 21, 2013

"'Cause I am done with my graceless heart, so tonight I'm gonna cut it out and then restart."--Florence and the Machine

This is a long and rambling sort of post. It's about a lot of different things, but really about the same thing....becoming less like me and more like Him.

Everyday, even if it's for just five minutes, I try to write something. It's a good habit I think. I've been writing/journaling since I was 7 and it's always been my therapy. Sometimes I sit and think about life: both the good and the bad and a wave rushing, crashing tsunami of emotion and thoughts and joys and confusions sweep me off my feet. That is when I pick up a pen and notebook and land safely on my feet again. Writing brings me clarity and helps me process. It makes me feel grounded and sure.

And I love that 13 years later I can hold a worn, black and white composition book and touch the pages that my hands touched then as I poured my seven year old heart out on paper. Journals are a wonderful keepsake. They are also brutally honest and years later when you pull them out of a dusty old cardboard box in the attic, your haughty and graceless heart is revealed to you. And you are tempted to ceremoniously and somewhat frantically (in fear of anyone finding out just how wicked you are) tear out and burn those pages, saving only half the truth. Then, when I'm gone and my children pull them out of a dusty old cardboard box in the attic, my sweet, fun, gentle spirit is what they will find. As tempting as that may be, I think that would be a waste. The truth is: I was/am proud, self-righteous, spiteful, unforgiving, unloving, lacking grace, and so blind to it. And, if I destroy that memory, I am wasting a story of salvation, mercy, and redemption.
I was completely honest about my feelings and my thoughts at the time of writing. Whatever I felt, I wrote. I can now, 10+ years later, see myself for who I was, and most importantly, see where God's grace has brought me. I am still the same person in so many ways, but at least now I am aware of it, I see it, and my heart is broken over it. And, ever so slowly, I am changing....but, by no means am I finished.
I am still proud, but not as proud. I am learning that He is the only thing that I have to boast in.
I still lack grace, but I yearn so deeply that the grace that has been so lavishly poured into my life would spill over and out of me.
I can still be unloving, but now more than ever I am realizing how important love is. I used to take it for granted, I used to undermine it's worth. Not anymore. Love is a powerful, beautiful, overwhelming thing. I'd die without it, and I'm worthless if I don't have it.
There are still people that I need to forgive or my heart needs to be ready to forgive. Forgiveness has always been a confusing thing for me. I won't get into it now. But, if I acknowledge who I was/am and how many times I have wronged people then I would be a fool if I didn't realize how much I needed forgiveness. And, if I need it then I can't be stingy with it. I must extend it to others.

I wish that more has changed, but at least I'm not stagnant. At least I see now. At least I know how badly I need to and how desperately I want to change. And that's a start.
Every morning I wake up to my soul whispering the same prayer. Simple words, but the cry of my heart. "God, make me softer on the inside and tougher on the outside."

 I want to be gentler, quieter, kinder, slower to speak. But also stronger, more resilient, full  of conviction, & wiser. I want to live and love with intention. I want every word I say to be purposeful I want to be feminine but never weak. That is my desire.

Am I rambling? I think I am. I'm sure that there is a point that I am trying to make. Maybe it's just that I'm a dirty, rotten sinner in the hands of a potter. The perfect artist who will mold me and refine me and shape me into something beautiful. I could let the years of diaries discourage me, but I won't let them. That would be faithless of me.
I will begin with hope, and courage, and grace: “I am better than I was.”
I will end with hope, and courage, and grace: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."

And, so my soul finds rest in that knowledge and I am quite sure of it.

Over the next few weeks, I will try to post some of the journal entries I wrote then along with my response now. While I want to save these journals, I can't leave them as they are without comment.

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