Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Life Recorded

1 Corinthians 16:15-18 (New King James Version)
15 I urge you, brethren—you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints— 16 that you also submit to such, and to everyone who works and labors with us.17 I am glad about the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, for what was lacking on your part they supplied. 18 For they refreshed my spirit and yours...

Once again tonight I opened one of my boxes of journals. Some are simple loose leaf spiral bound books, some cloth covered; some are brightly patterned and others in muted shades--one even has a cover of hand made paper. They chronicle my life from when I was a twelve year old school girl in England (that one a silk green leatherette five year diary that used to lock but upon which I still felt the need to write "Private"--twice--just in case). On they go through my teens, young motherhood, then through my thirties, forties and now my fifties. The journals have an old, papery smell and old photos and clippings lie between the pages and flutter out when they're opened.

There are pages full of goals and determined vows to do better as a wife, mother and friend. Definite themes reoccur throughout--spend less money, lose weight, be less selfish, be more consistent in spending time with God.

I had a discussion with a group of fellow writers once about journals. I'd been horrified to read that someone burned hers. Her thoughts going up in smoke was unthinkable to me--but to some the mere act of getting thoughts down on paper is an end in itself--therapeutic--and once done--an act of release--it has served its purpose. To some their thoughts are so private that the thought of someone else reading them is enough to take drastic measures to ensure that doesn't happen.

My method of journaling varied over the years. Sometimes all I did was record prayers. These are a blessing to read many years later. Sometimes I don't even recognize the names of the people or situations I prayed for, but other times the answers came and seeing the prayers written down reminds me of God's faithfulness.

Tonight I read this, from September 1994:
"I believe God is leading us into a ministry of hospitality and refreshing others. There is a real need for those younger in the faith to "connect" with others, more than just during our time in church." And then I quoted the verses above from 1 Corinthians 16 about the household of Stephanus, devoted to the service of the saints and about whom Paul wrote, "They refreshed my spirit and yours also."

It happens to be Tuesday evening--the night the cell group meets in our home. Tonight there were a few people missing and just five of us relaxed after dinner. Instead of reading the next chapter in Acts, we just hung out--talked and laughed and laughed and talked--one sixteen year old, a thirty five year old and three in our fifties. Normally there would be someone in his twenties and a young couple with their baby as well as others in their fifties. We all hang together and give to one another--support, caring and love. Two small grand daughters sit around the table with us each week--they are always excited and happy when they realize it's Tuesday--Victoria rushing upstairs each week to set the tables for dinner...A prayer has been answered, a calling confirmed.

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