Friday, July 26, 2013

Past Redeemed

"I wouldn’t ask too much of her," I ventured. "You can’t repeat the past."
"Can’t repeat the past?" he cried incredulously. "Why of course you can!"
(The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald)

I watched the movie The Great Gatsby when it came out and then read the book a week or so later. Nothing stood out to me quite as much as this quote. After some pondering, I came to a conclusion: We may not be able to repeat the past, but we certainly have the power to change it. I’ve witnessed that firsthand. Present actions become a part of the past, and thus change those memories. Say you and your best friend have done all sorts of things together and made tons of memories. Then one day, you find out that your best friend has been spreading rumors about you behind your back. All those memories in the past will no longer be sweet. You will remember them with bitterness and regret. Or say that you have an acquaintance whom you see from time to time and never really think much about. Then one day, you find out that that acquaintance has been leaving you encouraging notes and sends an anonymous birthday present every year. Suddenly, your past friendship with this person becomes a whole lot more important.

We, as human beings, have a certain ability to alter the past through our actions in the present. And this is not something that can be taken lightly. Being kind to someone once won’t mean that that person always views you as a nice person. One act of betrayal can wipe away a whole past of good memories.

At first this was discouraging. There are memories in my past that will never be the same because of circumstances in the present. Then I remembered something I had heard once in a discussion or a book (I can’t remember exactly) about heaven. When we get to heaven, God will not only redeem us from our sins for all eternity--He will redeem our pasts as well. The redemption of the cross is powerful enough to not only make us pure and clean for all of eternity, but it is powerful enough to redeem our lives here on this earth. Just as memories in my past have been changed because of sin, one day they will be changed back because of redemption. That is the hope I can hold onto. God will make ALL things new. Not just the future, but also the past. This moment I am living in right now will one day be made pure. What a promise.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thought for today

If I am not willing to be continually seeking out the Lord’s will through patient study and hard work, I cannot expect for Him to suddenly reveal His will or pour down wisdom at a particular moment when I happen to want it.

Lord, give me the strength to persevere.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


It was this week that everything just hit me. It all became reality. I would think about where I was at at this time last year, and where I thought I would be now, and just want to cry. Over the years, my family’s annual vacation to the lake is a time we all look forward to with anxious anticipation. The year may have been hard, relationships may be strained, but when we all pack up and head to our cabin, everything is okay in my family. Stress takes a leave of absence. Our family bonds are strengthened. Family vacation has always held an incredibly special place in my heart. This has got to sound overdramatic, but I am being 100% serious... It was close to sacred.

This is the first year that family vacation happened without Dad. I thought I had completely come to terms with my parents’ divorce, but this week is when it became reality. The terrible thing about a broken relationship, I have learned, is that you do not only lose all the future moments, but in a way you lose the past as well. I think that’s one of the hardest parts. When someone lets you down in an irreversible way, you lose the potential of future moments with that person, yet you can't necessarily cling to the past memories either because they have become tainted with what has happened in the present. There’s pain everywhere you look.

2 Corinthians 12:9-11 has always been my favorite verse. It has spoke to me in countless times in a hundred different ways, and tonight once again it touches me at the core:

"And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

I have realized that I have always had this picture in my head of what my life will look like in the future. It is really hard for me to face the reality that I am living in a broken family. It wasn’t just Mom and it wasn’t just Dad and it wasn’t just that random person I prayed for one time who grew up in broken families. It is now me. And that realization leaves me with so much insecurity regarding my future. But... His grace is sufficient for me. SUFFICIENT. Enough. Adequate. He is All I need. With Paul, then, can I can take pleasure in my distresses? I believe that I can. I am hurt, I am broken, I will continue to be hurt, and I am sure that I will be broken again when reality hits me in a new way. But in the midst of the tears I can claim the promise that His grace is sufficient, and though I am weak... Now I am strong.