Why You Can Let Go of the Past

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Yesterday,  I cleaned out a bunch of crud out of my cedar chest. Because it was high time, and I had this whole stack of journals that I’d been keeping that was just taking up space. I’d been keeping them because they were full of prayers and thoughts and Scripture verses (mostly Scripture verses, actually, because I was trying to get the Word to sink right into me) and I felt bad just throwing the past away like that.

So, I thought a little bit about it and took some time to read through my old stuff. As I was flipping through those pages, I started to feel that same confused feeling I used to have all the time, and that same depression that I used to struggle with and I was mad at some of the stuff I’d been through and floored by the thoughts I used to think. Now, not everything was depressing. Some of it was neat to see, but I’ve got some good memories stored up in my noggin’, so I figured all those pages weren’t real useful to me anymore.

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I did pick out a few more “hope-filled” journals to keep, in case my kids want to read about the days that I set off on an adventure to Michigan and fell in love with their Daddy and the prayers I prayed when they first entered into the world. I thought those might be the most significant pieces for them. But, the rest of the stuff? Well, I put it in a trash bag and drug it out to the back yard.

All those scribbled down days, that turned to months that hightailed into years, I just drug the whole shebang out to the burn pile and lit them on fire. And while the flames went up and the smoke made us all cough, I offered them up like one last prayer. Because there’s no doubt God Himself had gotten me through all those confusing days and depressing years and He’d seen me through my struggles as well as my triumphs.

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And since God is in the business of making all things new, then I don’t have to hold on to the past. I can release it all, like a prayer in flames right up to the cathedral sky.

I thank God for His Word, that indeed did sink right into me and kept me stable when my circumstances and my emotions bent me every which way.

I’m thankful for the adventure itself and that God would walk with me every bit. It wasn’t all heart-ache, at all. I got to bear witness to His glory and scratch it down–the love and beauty I found along the way.

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I got to see some crazy awesome good answers to my begging prayers. Like, this house. And this yard. And these kids. And that unbelievably kind and handsome husband.

So, I’ll keep tripping along (and skipping sometimes, too) and writing out my feeble prayers. I’ll gladly let go of the “once was” and keep pressing forward. The past was my journey to here and here is what counts.

I celebrate all the mercies tending to me again, on this new today.

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

4 Comments

  1. by Debbie on May 6, 2015  7:08 am Reply

    Words written down are a wonderful reference but I agree we always have the memories in our heart.

  2. by Jamie on May 6, 2015  2:53 pm Reply

    I agree! I had boxes and boxes of memories. Silly things like ticket stubs and daily calendars from college. First birthday candles and cards, hospital bracelets, concert stubs, and on and on and on. When we moved, I realized that my memories were a burden. Too too much. So I sorted and purged. I actually threw out a suitcase of family slides that no one except me wanted - and I had looked at them a bunch already. So they went away - and I still have boxes and boxes (but maybe a bit less). I agree. the purging is good. Our memories are in our hearts - not in a box. Although I still can't part with all of it.

  3. by Deb on May 10, 2015  2:37 pm Reply

    I am glad to hear someone else gets bad vibes from reading some writings from the past! I may have my own ceremonial burn one day myself, knowing is truly is OK to let go of the past. Thank you, Maggie

  4. by Amanda Cleary Eastep on May 12, 2015  7:05 am Reply

    Wow, we have to pull the storage containers of old journals and notebooks out from under the bed every time we vacuum. I just mentioned tossing a bunch the other day, but my husband wouldn't let me. Funny how the value of our words can change depending on the time in our lives.

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