I’ve been going through old cards, letters, dairies and journals in an attempt to figure out which ones to send to the DR, which ones to store here, and which ones to give away or sell or throw out. Revisiting parts of my past has been fun, and at times downright embarrassing. My teenage self wrote. A lot. Some of it was actually kind of good, but a lot of it was angsty and silly. Hmm… not much has really changed, eh?!
Some of the stuff I wrote was pure junk. Not just the sickly sweet ideas for books (the girl who wants to date the popular boy and finally gets him only to discover he’s a bit of a jerk and true love was literally living next door in the form of a slightly geeky best guy friend who turns out to be not so geeky after all…) Or the poems about spinning into darkness and a single tear sliding down my cheek… (hey, I told you there was a lot of angst!) But my diaries and journals were, too. Re-reading some of them revealed a lost girl who didn’t always use the nicest language and had some pretty mean and ugly things to say.
So, do I keep that stuff? At first I wanted to hold onto every card I’d ever received, every letter, every journal, every outline of the next great Sweet Teen Romance (if you were a girl in the 80’s you know what those are!). A friend of mine and I were talking about this last month. Actually, a lot of my old letters were ones she had written! She helped me to think about what I would want others who would read it to come away with.
On the one hand, my writing from way back then definitely shows God’s grace. I was so broken and confused. I thought I was a Christian, although the mess I wrote shows a weak understanding of what that meant. That God was able to take ‘that girl’ and begin to redeem her is testament to His love and power.
But, is this stuff to keep? Again, it shows His grace, but it also shows a lot of icky stuff which doesn’t really need to be out there. Would it cause more harm than good to someone reading it later on? The Bible is full of stories which are ‘not nice’. There is a lot of stuff in there that shows the wicked, wretched side of humanity. It also shows beauty and redemption. Is that what I was supposed to do with my stuff?
God is so good, and allowed me to spend time with my friend at just the time I was pondering this. Both of us have been through very lost times. We still know that about each other, but we also celebrate what God has done. We don’t ‘need’ those teenage writings to remember how amazing God has been. Seeing her with her family, hearing how God has continued to work in their lives, sharing what He is doing in mine helped me to see that the stuff I was holding onto wasn’t really necessary. And, it was hardly going to be inspiring or edifying for anyone else!
What did I decide to do? Right or wrong, I made the decision to throw most of the stuff out. I kept letters and cards from a couple of my closest friends as well as family members. I kept my prayer journals. I did keep some of the writings. But most of it is gone.
And, very honestly, I feel great about it! A huge weight lifted off me as I pitched that stuff. Not because what I wrote wasn’t true then, but it’s not true anymore. God is still writing my story. I don’t need the ink and paper to be reminded of what He has drawn me out of in His great love and mercy.
I pray that my life right now, my writings right now, can help others to see His continuing work in me. I try to be honest about what I struggle with, I try to share parts of my past, but I want it filtered through His love and grace and mercy.
Maybe one day I’ll head back to this blog and start deleting things that are no longer true. We’ll see. In the meantime, today I am celebrating the fact that God has led me this far, and will continue to refine those impure and icky parts of my life. All glory to Him!!