Sometimes it seems that half of my heart still lives in the happy days of the past.
It’s wedged between two dozen memories, all of them begging me to remember them just once more. And once more. And once more. Part of me worries that if I don’t comply, I’ll lose them entirely. Part of me secretly hopes that all the fairy tales are true and I really might get them back.
It feels impossible to change the channels carved deep into my heart that keep me aching to go back. It feels impossible to commit myself to the present. It feels less possible to let go of my hold upon the things I have loved and lost.
And there is a time to fondly recall days gone by. Those days are good, good gifts from Father.
It is not wrong to realize that the untainted optimism that propelled us through the world doesn’t characterize us anymore. It’s not wrong to bring to mind that treasured best friend, that shiny hair without any grey in it, our firm muscles, or quick smile, the security of home, the best vacation ever, or the innocence of childhood. Calling them to mind may simply mean that we have the capacity to see wonderful things, lean into them, and love them to pieces.
But there comes a time to let ourselves be loved back together.
“For many,” writes author and pastor Craig Groeschel, “It is difficult to accept that the past has passed. Sometimes, it’s so hard just to leave it there, where it belongs. But until we do, we cannot make peace with the present or walk into the future with hope.”
Do you feel like you’ve spent so much time longing for the past that you’ll never be able to get back?
Are you ashamed for the hours you’ve spent turning your memories around and around in your head?
Do you secretly worry that God has lost patience with you?
Dear one, He has not lost patience with you.
Instead, He stands in front of us, beckoning us toward His love. He opens up His arms with pride and compassion and beckons us to Him. He says, “Come on, stand up, come over to me. It’s alright. I’m here. Come to me again. I know you’re tired and your thoughts are heavy. Bring them to me, dear heart. I will show walk forward with you.”
Our lives do not end when our favorite days do. Yes, today might carry more pain than yesterday. That’s one reason why we want so desperately to go back. Yes, our hearts are sore and hope doesn’t come easily. But our Father still beckons. Even today, in the deep darkness, He is still on his way. He says He will never leave His children.
Do you know what that means? He didn’t leave you in the past. He didn’t abandon you to this hard present circumstance. He’s still here now. He wants you to know your chance at abundant life didn’t die when you lost that best friend, that home, that optimism. He wants to whisper to you what He gently, kindly whispered to a woman in the Bible.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
Please soothe the aches in my heart.
I miss the people and places I no longer get to see.
I admit that I don’t always see the chapters of my life as You see them.
Please help me to believe your Truth.
You’ve not loved me once only to abandon.
You never leave me, Father.
You are lovingly present with me in the present.
Give me eyes to see the hope and love You’re pouring into this day.
About the Author
Elizabeth Filipe is an avid audiobook listener, a creative writer, and an intrepid tree climber. She is currently on the final stretch of earning a Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Arts, which she hopes to use while she explores the world and the people in it. She enjoys putting her active curiosity to work, asking dozens of questions a day. These include: What makes a clock tick? What makes people smile when they see babies? What does God's voice sound like? Elizabeth is a former resident of the Fold who is passionate about sharing and showing the love that the gentlest Shepherd has for His sheep. She lives in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.