When we moved 8 months ago, 10 years' worth of journals - 10 years of my recorded relationship with God - disappeared. I'd started to assume they were thrown out accidentally with the garbage. God had to teach me that my relationship with Him is not limited to those journals - but I still grieved their loss.
But today, while digging out our Christmas tree and decorations, I found a box labeled "Pictures". It was unopened - and I thought I'd opened every box digging for those journals this summer. I peeled back the tape hopefully, and amazingly, there they were. My old friends. Memories of a journey like no other.
I thought I'd just mislabeled the box, but I have decided I didn't. For those journals truly are snapsnots - pictures of a relationship. Behind each entry lies a memory that the words stir within me. I'd forgotten how desparately I sought Him - and need to relearn some of the lessons. For example, my entry of June 17, 2003, lays out some parenting concerns about my then-teenage stepdaughter:
"Sometimes parenting creates unique questions such as the ones I have today. How can I build her self-image without aiding her pride, and conversely how can I give her a correct perspective of the sin nature without causing despair? I am reminded of one of my purposes in her life - to teach her to be a worshiper. As we worship we see God more accurately which causes us to see ourselves more accurately. I can't do it all. I can just sow seeds. Lord, give me that opportunity! Forgive me for asking the wrong question. What I should really ask is, how can I hold God up in such a manner that she is drawn to Him and sees Him (and herself) and He (and she) really is? Help me Lord!"
The circumstances of my life today are different - but I still ask the question. How can I hold God up in my life - at work, at home, at church - in a way that people are drawn to Him? That's all He really asks me to do.
And you too! As you struggle to balance ministry and family responsibilities, to work and study and learn a language and a culture, the bottom line is that He wants you to lift Him up. Seek Him to know how. Today you are writing a new entry, making a new picture of your relationship with Him. Seek Him hard - so that when you look back years from now, you'll have a snapshot to remember!