Journals and I have always had a thing going on. My earliest entry is scribbled in a hardback teddy bear volume with the following message marking the inside front cover:
Boys. Parents. Brothers. More boys. Homework. Pets. Boys. Thus begins a lifelong saga of documented hardships. I hope you can sense the eye rolling from my side of the screen.
As I look back over the entries from junior high (loopy writing in a spiral notebook), the eye rolling gets worse. Was I really that insecure? That petty? That emotionally unstable? That lame? Oh, yes. Yes, I was.
I’m really mean to myself, guys. Like way meaner to myself than I would ever think to be to another living soul. And as hard as I am on the adult(ish) me, I have no stomach for angsty teen Kassie. Contempt for this younger self crowds my heart. If I could hurl tomatoes, I would.
And then my inner bully gets invaded by a tender Spirit who has never stopped singing His love over me. Even when my spelling was atrocious and my thought life more so. The song carries mercy, gentleness, compassion, purpose. It teaches me to release my disdain and embrace understanding. With the same energy that spoke the first cells into being, He loves me—all of me, always. Why am I too cool to join Him in that activity?
Loving my story and my own soul isn’t selfish or arrogant. It’s taking joy in the God who thought me up.
Tami Resch and Shari Thomas offer a beautiful concept on how to think of our lives: re-membering our stories.
“Adding a hyphen to the word remember gives us a different action than merely recalling something that happened. We see that a “member,” a part of us, has been cut off or separated. The opposite of re-member would be to dis-member, which is often what we do with our stories. Fear, shame, and pain prompt us to cut our stories off from our memory, our lives, and our hearts. To re-member a story is to once again let that story become a part of our lives, our formation, and the story God is writing for us.”
Mark 10:9 is a popular verse to quote at weddings: “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Of course, it’s speaking of marriage. But why stop there? Didn’t the same Lord who joins husbands and wives also knit my heart, mind, soul, and story together? Why would I try to separate innate parts of who I am (not talking sin, here, people) from who I am? He has joined me together. He thinks I’m fearfully and wonderfully made. He calls this creation good. Who in the world am I to mark through that verdict and give another one?
Over the next month, we’ll be dwelling in stories and dwelling on stories. (There is a difference.) As we move forward into this brilliant new year, let’s be gentle with ourselves, echoing the song of our King, whose banner over us is always, only, ever love.