I love writing. I love remembering the past and seeing how God transforms us over time. I love this so much that I was inspired to start a new tradition a few years ago. And it’s one of my favorite memory stones God uses in my life. So reread that paragraph if you skimmed over the part where I used the word “love.” I love my birthday letter.
Every year, I write a letter addressed to myself one year in the future, to be read on my birthday. I write about what’s happening in life right now (concerns, successes, current events, etc.) as well as what celebrations happened for that birthday. I end the letter with a list of to do’s: call this person, take time to relax, get a massage, take more pictures… You get the idea. The letter at first was really fun, short, and silly. It has evolved in intensity as I’ve learned more of what I want to read about from one year ago in my past.
To keep a *very* long story short, this past year has been full of changes in literally every aspect of my life. And to add God’s sense of humor to this, I had been warned 6 months prior that change was coming. I did not expect so many changes or such big changes, and I definitely did not expect both together. Reading the letter I wrote last year was like a completely different person altogether wrote that letter.
I wrote about students who gave me sweet, simple gifts to show they cared; these are students whose names I often remember with frustration and exasperation. I stopped and prayed for every name there.
I wrote about goals I had set for myself. Some have been successfully achieved, others are no longer applicable, and some are impossible because of the changes that have happened.
I wrote about my Grandma calling me for my birthday. Then I cried. She died this past December, and best I can recall, the last time we spoke was that birthday call.
Lastly, and the most striking, I wrote about the promise from God that my life was about to change. Many changes have occurred, but I’m staring at many more that are coming in the next 4 months. It’s more than I could have imagined or expected. And it’s scary. There are so many details God has already figured out and has yet to clue me in.
Some days, I find comfort in God having control over all these changes and every happenstance in my life. God is never taken by surprise. More often though, I worry about how to make it happen and when it’ll happen and what all I need to do to make it happen… Yet I can’t tell you how many sermons I have heard about Abraham lately. When God told Abraham that Abraham would have a son, God wasn’t asking Abraham to make that happen. God was asking Abraham to trust and obey God.
I love writing because it helps me remember the past. It helps me remember the struggles God has brought me through as well as times of joy and celebration. It is important have reminders of God’s faithfulness (especially in time of change). Writing is a great way for me to remember, but it may not be your way.
God had Joshua remind the Israelite of His faithfulness with rocks. Joshua 4:21-23 says, …“When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”
Just a head’s up, that future may not look at all like what you expected (it wasn’t that way for Abraham or the Israelite). But if you make that choice to trust Him (as I must choose daily), I guarantee it’s worth it. And if you can remember when God was faithful in the past, it makes it easier to trust Him in the present. Remember that God is never taken by surprise.