Lord, thank You for growth. I just spent a few minutes reading this time of year from 15 years ago, and then 14 years ago. Fifteen years ago, I was still sick with pneumonia, gaining strength very slowly, and full of the same sorts of questions and drivenness I still sometimes am prey to. Fourteen years ago, Pete’s second sister, who had been ill for only a few weeks, died and that set off a whole storm of emotion, within and around us. What I realized, reading, is how my morning journaling times have changed. Now, I know to listen for Your Voice, Your input. Then, I craved it but I didn’t often stop long enough to hear You. But it was that practice, of taking that time in the morning, writing down everything I thought and felt for 30 minutes or so, that planted the seeds that eventually grew into the relationship I have with You now.
Yes, you were full then–full of grief, full of fatigue, full of fear about health in general, full of questions about your future. You needed to become emptier so that I could fill you with Myself.
I loved You then, as I love You now. But I think I had forgotten how much You love me, love us. And how personal Your Love is, how You really do enter into a relationship with us–if we will, with You. I had moved into focusing on social justice, on causes for peace in the human world and the natural world. I had zeal, and I had faith…but believing in something, even Someone, isn’t the same as nurturing a relationship with that person.
You are a parent yourself. How do you feel when you hear from your son, or one of the grandkids, out of the blue, for no particular reason?
The feeling is joy, God. Big time joy.
You gladden My own heart with your attention, and with your commitment to staying open to My Presence. What would you say is your dominant emotion these days?
I guess I would have to say gratitude. Or maybe lovingkindness, although I can’t say I am always loving, especially when I am over-tired.
And what did you read as your dominant emotion in those journals from so long ago?
Gosh, God, sorrow, I guess. I was trying so hard to keep going, but there wasn’t any joy anywhere, really. I checked items off the must-get-done list, so there were flashes of satisfaction in tasks completed. There was genuine joy in the trip west to receive my college diploma, the degree Daddy’s life insurance paid for. His last gift.
So what do you think was the difference-maker?
I know gratitude as a practice helped, as I have shared over and over with folks. It really did change my life. But the real difference-maker, Lord, was You–this connection, like right now, knowing I can reach out with my mind, my thought, and You are here, right here. That changes everything in real time. Anytime I do get discouraged now, if I can just remember, I am not alone, You are here, God-with-us as a fact, it flips some switch in my consciousness. I mean, I can still be tired, or stiff and achy as I am tonight, or overloaded with more tasks than hours to do them, but I take just one breath thinking about You, about the immensity of the proposition that the God of the Universe is interested in us, in me, in this moment of what we call Time, and I smile, I can’t help it. It’s as if I am privy to the world’s greatest secret, only it is not a secret at all. It is hidden in plain sight, like the song says, Open the eyes of my heart. I just can’t get over all those pages from 2003 and 2004, and how different my journal reads now. Thank You.
I told you the other day, I want you to try to fast-forward in your thinking 20 or 25 years, as if you were as old as Pete is now, and what would be on your gratitude list from those years you have not lived yet. Why do you think I asked that?
I didn’t know–and I couldn’t come up with much. I mean, I couldn’t foresee anything in particular to add to a list.
You just looked back at a snapshot of your life from 15 years ago. You are marveling most at your own growth in those years, your spiritual growth. Do you think your growing years are complete? What if I told you even more growth is coming, good growth, wonderful growth, and that you will look back at these conversations and marvel at how much closer You and I had grown during your 60’s and 70’s? What if you will look back with the same incredulity you are now experiencing, looking back, because our relationship will grow even stronger and deeper?
Lord, is that even possible? Is that what You are saying?
You are thinking of your life in Me now as a forest, in comparison with the tiny seedling it once was. I tell you, you will look back at these years and see a small grove in comparison to the mighty sequoias this connection, your connection with Me, your connection to this world you so love, will become. Mark My Words. So much growth awaits you. So rejoice in every day, every week, every month, and every year. Here is a little foretaste, a hint–this past summer, you were able to quit picking your fingers. No longer is that a stress response, after nearly 60 years. Now imagine no stress triggers, because you are essentially immune to them. Imagine no fear triggers, because they are no longer a part of your inner emotional or spiritual lexicon. You will grow into this life, just as you have grown into the woman you are now. And for every inch of growth, listen for Me saying, You are My daughter, I love You, and I Am so proud of you.