Photo courtesy of Jamie Marie Photography
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say. – Shakespeare
How often do we follow this adage from a long-ago era? Until this year I considered myself fairly articulate and confident in expressing my feelings. Now I am continually humbled by how much I hold inside, to my detriment.
Why do we write? “Why do we do it, we writers? ‘Of making many books there is no end,’ sighed the Teacher of Ecclesiastes. I think we do it because each of us has nothing else to offer than a living point of view that differentiates us from every other person on this planet. We must tell our stories to someone” (Phillip Yancey, “Soul Survivor”, 261).
Last year’s emotions are still fresh on my memory but my journals provide an even clearer look at the internal wrestling I hid under a smile or a laugh.
The following are excerpts from entries I composed during the final days of preparation leading up to my friend’s wedding. Only a few days earlier I had turned down a marriage proposal. Now, the experience too recent to even process, I flew to help my girlfriend decorate, pack wedding gifts, and celebrate the fulfillment of her dreams.
May 11, 2006:
It is a lonely place, my King. Perhaps that is the nature of the altar, and most particularly, of mine. My heart says, “No one else is offering up on their altar—is this really what I must do?” If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me! (John 21:22) This is my call today. “If it is my will that your friend marry and you, Natalie, remain single all your life, what is that to you? If others may have children and you cannot, what is that to you?”
You follow me.
Forgive me, Father, for looking around and being dragged down. I have kept my eyes on others instead of on You. It is enough that I follow You wherever it pleases You to take me. It must be enough.
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:24, 25).
These things I offer up—indeed all of myself—are not mine to begin with. How can I say it is all a gift and then feel cheated or as if I am suffering when I don’t get the gift?
Let the fire burn! Sear away these impurities and flaws—I do not want the intensity to lessen. I want to be like You. I make the choice. I choose the less-safe road. Thank You that You are pleased with even the weakest, faltering step.
Be ye steadfast, immovable. I know the choice I made was right. And even when the emotions come, the natural (God given) desire to be loved and adored as that man did me, I must stand firm. It is not enough.Natalie, you know what sort of man you want and even more, what God has taught you to desire. Nothing less will do.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10, 11).
May 12, 2006:
Thank You that we are not to walk alone, but that You support, help, and love us through the Body. Thank You that You will not be content to leave me as I am now but will continually work to make me like Jesus. I long to be conformed into the image of Your Son. I see now that path leads through valleys and fire. By Your grace I will continue on, one day, one hour at a time.
One sees great things from the valley;
only small things from the peak.
– G.K. Chesterton