I was outside taking pictures one day but it was incredibly difficult to see the screen due to the blinding sun. With my old 35 mm camera I could clearly see through the window all of the time. But with my digital camera, it’s a crap shoot as to what’s going to show up. I came inside, out of the sunlight, and began scrolling through the pictures I’d taken. Some of them were awful. Since a few of the pictures weren’t worth developing, choosing “erase” was a no-brainer. In a matter of seconds the undesirable pictures were gone. That’s when I thought again about my old 35 mm and the surprise pictures I found after development. Some of those candid pictures turned out to be my favorites. Some of them, however, truly were awful, especially the ones where I accidentally took a picture of one of my fingers 😦 . Sometimes the choice to “erase” comes in handy. Sometimes I wish that button existed in real life. Or, do I?….
Years ago I happened upon the end of a movie that made me pause to wonder much about the decisions we make, regrets, etc. The gist of the movie was a middle-aged woman goes back in time to when she became pregnant to her boyfriend (who she ended up marrying) right at the end of her high school years. As her present life was in a whirlwind of heartache, changing those decisions from so long ago seemed a given…at first. Perhaps what she hadn’t anticipated was newfound insight and hope for her relationship with her husband, who was at the source of much of her pain, and the realization that without their union, her children would not exist.
When the movie ended, I remember contemplating decisions I had made and experiences I have had as a young, single woman, then as a wife, and finally as a mother. What choices would I change? What memories would I erase? Or, like the main character in the movie, would I let all be as it was?
I felt the LORD nudging me to share a dream with you. Problem is, it was in a journal–of which I have dozens. I knew I would find it post-marriage and child-bearing years but, short of that, I didn’t have a clue where to look. And that was a lot of years to cover.
“Show me which journal, LORD.”
I got a picture in my mind and dug out that journal. My world was tilted when it contained one of the bitterest memories I have as a young wife and mother. Truth be told, I had trouble sleeping that night and cried the next day. The memory didn’t slice me to the quick as it had in its origin, but it still created heartache all over again, only this time for different reasons. Had I handled the situation the best way possible? Was there anything I could have done differently Then? And what kind of effect might it have on Now?
I browsed through another journal, one written nearly a decade later. The one containing the dream. I had been a “hot mess”, to coin a phrase. Junk, cares of this life, were swirling all around me like a raging sea, threatening to take me under. What’s really crazy is that at the same time I was enjoying an unbelievable outpouring of revelation. I guess the enemy was working real hard to steal the revelation as soon as God was giving it to me. I was receiving encouragement from anointed ministers but desired a personal word.
“LORD, speak to me.” He gave me a dream.
The moderator from our home school group of years ago gave me pictures to capture some of the memories our family made with the group–but it turned out to be so much more than that.
What she gave me was colorful and a little larger than an average postcard in size and weight. It dropped down to reveal 4 connected panels. While I gazed at the top picture, an incredible thing happened. The picture came alive and played like a movie. There were scenes of our 5 family celebrating at what looked like an Independence Day celebration at night, complete with fireworks. It was beautiful. There was a video of Bob, surrounded by the kids whenever he helped at the co-op.
Every picture was different and morphed into short videos. I saw me with the girls when they were babies and toddlers.
In one video, I was leaning over Rachel. I was wearing a light pink, long-sleeved shirt with powder blue jeans. My hair was down. I looked so very young and pretty and…thin. I got the impression that I was changing a diaper but there was no video of the soil.
Then I backed up to a window. The sun was shining so bright. I got closer and closer to the light until I looked like a celestial being. My form was still there but I was totally illuminated. The beauty of that particular frame amazed me.
I turned and tugged up the middle sash and climbed out of the ground floor window with the aid of some people outside from our home school group. They were playing in a sandbox. When I arrived, toddlers Laura and Beth immediately descended upon me, arms outstretched. I fell within their reach, we were laughing….
That was one of the most beautiful dreams I have ever had. I kind of liken it to stories I’ve heard of people who say their lives flashed before their eyes when they’ve had near death experiences. My personal home movies dream recorded only the happiest times of my life. And it showed me totally illuminated with sunlight. I think it was God’s way of saying, “That’s how I see you, Christi. Perfect and glorified. Encased in Light, with only those things joy-filled surrounding you.”
At a time when most of my life felt like a mess, it was refreshing to have this dream. I got a glimpse of what my Creator Father sees when He looks at me. He sees no failure, sadness, or darkness, but perfection, joy, and light. The same is true for you. But will we believe it and live in it?
I’ve been people watching lately. You know what I see? A lot of broken people. I can tell by the way they carry themselves, the way they interact with others, the way they speak about themselves and others. Beth was reminding me recently about a girl they know who referred to herself as “trash” when speaking with their peers. This bothered them so much that Laura decided she needed a God reminder as to who she is. The next time “trash” exited her mouth Laura told her: “You are not ‘trash’. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.” The girl didn’t utter that again, at least not in their presence.
What grieves me the most is that this is in the church, the body of Christ. It doesn’t take any imagination to see the reality of pain behind the eyes of believers. We do experience pain. After all, we are in this world. But we are not to be of this world. At some point and time we must figure out how to exit the world’s natural response to pain and begin operating in the supernatural.
While searching my journals for the dream I shared, I found where Beth had encountered a not-very-nice girl and declared, “And if she is mean to me again, I’ll show her!”
I couldn’t imagine what revenge lurked in the mind of a 5 year old.
“I’ll be nice and kind to her no matter how mean she is. She’ll see!”
What an example of how to supernaturally handle pain. I thought how pure and how child-like was the love of a 5 year old; her idea of revenge being unmerited kindness. Remaining child-like, now that’s an unending challenge. The hardness, cynicism, pain of life, and toil on the journey of healing take their toll. Sadly, I’d venture to say that being an innocent 5 year old is a distant memory for many of us.
I guess that’s why it’s important to drop the notions of might’ve been, should’ve been, could’ve been, and all of those tangled, messy memories that cause us reason to question and regret. So much unnecessary suffering. Once the stuff has been dealt with, couldn’t we leave it with Jesus instead of insisting on remembering it and all of the pain accompanying it? Wouldn’t it then be refreshing and gratifying to take out the pictures and movies that God gives to us? We need reminded that He sees perfection, joy, and light and wants to fill us with hope.
Join me today in the Herculean effort of trusting God to make healing balm out of the painful goop in our lives. A balm that will not only bring healing to us, but to everyone we touch as well. Also, may we be able to find praise in the pain.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 KJV
2 thoughts on “Erase”
Christi, this is such a beautifully written article. And a wonderful reminder of how God will combine all things in our life for our good and His glory. We have to stop seeing ourselves as the world sees it, or even as we feel about ourselves because of our past mistakes and regrets. Even on the worst days, we need to rest in knowing that God sees us as so much more — and He is merely but a call away, ready to lavish us with His perfect love. The love that casts out all fears.
Very well said. Thank you and God bless.