Only a few friends know that I entered a writing contest with Women of Faith back in December. I spent a few days pouring over old memories, shedding enough tears to fill many buckets as I walked in thought back into the early years of my life where the very foundation of who I am was laid. I laughed a bit too but chose to write primarily a piece of my life that was pivotal, difficult, and left a lingering sadness that robbed me of much joy for far too many years.
I knew as I churned out word after word that the journey I was taking might well have nothing to do with the contest that prompted me to begin the process of paying a visit back to that particular time and place. It isn’t as if I’ve failed to review old memories along the way, but I knew much had transpired within my own heart and mind that made it necessary for me to go back and look at the old in light of the new. A reframing was in order and I was ready and willing to go back for another look with a new perspective.
What amazed me most was how I found myself prayerfully and thankfully engaging my journey of writing. I asked my Lord to help me see what He wanted for me to see, to learn and to say, only what is good and right and true. I wrote with my readers in mind. What would encourage their hearts and bring peace to their minds? How might I engage the sadness and pain of life fully while holding high the banner of hope? I took that to God in prayer as I sat in silence and wrote almost effortlessly the words that flooded my mind.
I learned today that indeed I did not win the contest; not first, second or third place. I received the news just after rocking my sweet grandson to sleep. He has been sick the past week, just over RSV and now has a stomach virus. I rocked him in one room while I kept my Noah, 5, in the next room attempting to protect him from the bug. I call it perfect timing that today of all days I received the news from the contest. Each moment of this day provided opportunity for me to rise to the call of needs and thus reminded me of a prayer I often pray, “Lord, establish the work of my hands.” As surely as I’ve prayed, He has answered and to all prayer may I never fail to add, “as it accords with Thy will.”
After teaching my two classes this morning, looking out at the bright faces and perceiving their listening ears, then coming home to two little boys who need loving arms and gentle words, I was ready to receive the news that my life will go on as it is today, at least for a time, not to be disrupted by a change in direction that would surely have come had the contest yielded a different result for me.
This life I live is a beautiful gift, one I receive with a grateful heart and a humble mind. Given this opportunity to share in the lives of so many precious young people, my own children and my students, I realize life really doesn’t get any better than this. The journey I took with words and pen this past December, when I looked back in peace to a time once wrought with turmoil, surely added clarity and deepened my understanding. I was able to see with fresh eyes the life I have lived and to trace the hand of God in my journey toward Him. Yes, I’ve learned, He is always there in the midst of heartaches and hard times drawing HIs own ever closer to His side.