Once upon a time there was a little girl with a notebook and a pen…
“Let God begin to rewrite your story. Invite him to show you your past through his eyes. Ask him to surface good memories you have forgotten. He would love to do it. There is healing to be had there. There is a replacing of regret with mercy.” (From Becoming Myself, by Stasi Eldredge)
As I read these words last Saturday morning I smiled to myself at the thought of God speaking to me through the magic of a memory.
“Lord,” I prayed, “Give me a memory. Something special, just from you.”
Later that afternoon my girls and I went to an anniversary party for an elderly couple my family lived next door to when I was a little girl. We walked into the reception hall, found the special couple and exchanged hugs. I introduced them to my daughters and they marveled at how much my daughter, Aletheia, looks just like me.
At four Aletheia is the same age I was when our families were neighbors, and it was clear that meeting her brought back memories of me.
“You know what I remember most about you?” Mr. Nelson said. “I remember you sitting out beneath the trees that bordered our yard, with your pen and your notebook. You were always out there writing, just scribbling away.”
As Mr. Nelson shared this sweet memory with me, my heart leapt in my chest, and I knew this was no coincidence.
When I think back to those childhood days I can remember finding secret hiding places in the bushes and trees that bordered our yard. I can remember sitting there with my pen and my notebook, but beyond this my memory is vague.
Later, as we said our good-byes, Mrs. Nelson, who had not been a part of my previous conversation with Mr. Nelson, relayed a similar memory. “I remember watching you in your yard, in your own little world,” she said. “You were always out there writing something.”
While the Nelsons are special friends to my family we don’t see them very often. They had no way of knowing that I’ve grown up to me a writer. No way of knowing what these memories mean to me.
“You don’t know how special your memories are,” I said with a smile. “Because, that’s what I do now. I’m a mom and I’m a writer.”
As my girls and I left the party and headed home, I couldn’t help but feel God’s presence with me. I felt his smile. I sensed his pleasure.
“You see, my love,” he seemed to say. “ You’re a writer! You always have been. You always will be. I set you a part as a writer from the very beginning, wired in by my design since the day you were born. It’s been my plan for you all along.”
What a precious gift. These memories weren’t my own, but God gave them to me by way of sweet friends, and I know I’ll treasure them always.
As Eldredge writes, this is just the sort of thing our God loves to do. With his own fairy tale sort of magic, he reaches into our past and finds a way to trigger a memory, a memory that can affirm, redeem, and restore us.
Sweet friends, may you wake up this day to the fairy tale found in the magic of a memory. May you ask God to romance you the way he romanced me. May you find in him a memory long forgotten, a memory just for you.