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Monday, August 09, 2004 AD
I sorted through several boxes of junk today -- keep, trash, yard sale. The hardest was a file box filled mostly with letters, cards, notes, programs, and the like. But I was pretty ruthless and far more is on the curb than in the keeper box.

It was almost harder reading some of the stuff I'd written in high school and college and even later -- embarrassing poetry, atrocious attempts at fiction, self-pitying journal notes, self-centered letters, silly essays and (cringe) a sermon I preached in Yellowstone in 1988. (I recently told a friend, who should know better, about that particular summer ministry activity and she said, "Oh, good for you!" to which I responded with a resounding, "No, bad for me! Bad, bad, bad!")

I found more notes (I had pitched some a couple months ago) passed in 11th grade trig class with the girl who grew up to become the author of this.

I found whispers of my first, almost forgotten wrestling with the doctrine of predestination: notes on a teaching by an Arminian fellow who, I tried to convince myself for a long time, dispensed quite satisfactorily with the troubles of Romans 9, and a never-mailed letter in which I pooh-poohed a mutual friend's Calvinism.

I found a few papers from an English class in which my professor had pooh-poohed my faith (which is incompatible with intellect, don'tcha know). I remember, though, going to pick up my last paper from her office, and her telling me, in quite a surprised tone, that I seemed to have some talent.

And there were signs of grace in the lot, too. A journal entry from February 1987 (I'd have been 19) was overwrougt, but I know an honest depiction of the depression I was going through at the time. More importantly, it ended with these sentences: "My Refuge is with me, though. I trust Him. The sadness and pain may be no less, but there is hope. I can't doubt Him."

Now that I know better, I can give thanks that the faith with which I clung to Him was a free and wholly undeserved gift from Him. I'd never have survived those years of emotional turmoil if it had depended on my spiritual abilities or tenaciousness.

Again, EGEATP. I saved a few pieces of that wretched writing to remind myself that though the path lay through all manner of foolishness and sin, it was ordained by a wise and holy and sovereign God. And the sillier I realize myself to have been (and still to be), the more glorious I realize Him to have been (and to still be).
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 8/09/2004 08:08:00 PM • Permalink

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