I was thrilled to have my adult daughter home for a visit during the recent Christmas holidays. This morning, before preparing to return to her own home several states away, she took a few moments to sort through some of her items still stored in a cedar chest at our house. In her searching, she stumbled upon some diaries from her early childhood (by early, I’m referring to her life as an 8-10 year old). Through smiles and tears, she read aloud line after line of scribblings from a young girl’s heart poured upon diary pages. The range of emotions disclosed were as random as the thoughts being shared:
My brother is a pain. I mean it.
My friend’s birthday is in two weeks and I haven’t heard anything about her birthday party. I wonder if I’ll be invited. Good grief!
… I’m going to a birthday party today. I was invited!
My little sister is lying in bed beside me. She said “kitty” today.
Nobody fills my heart like Jesus.
Today me and Lisa made pretzels at Grandma Pat’s house. They had icing with sprinkles.
We went to my brother’s ballgame and I made a new friend.
I just got home. Lydia hit me. Micah pushed me. And I had to get a bath.
My best friends are mad at me and I don’t know why.
As much as I hate to see my grandma in pain, I know she hates to see me in tears.
I went on a day out with Mom. I had so much fun. We rode up and down on the escalators. I like days out with Mom.
Grandma looks like she won’t live to tomorrow. I love my grandma. I keep asking God to help her, but I think He wants to bring her home.
We went to visit Grandma. She was lying in her bed. I watched as she suffered. Then I crawled up in bed with her. Her eyes started to close and she made a weird noise, then she went to be with God. I love her and I miss her very much. But deep down, I’m happy for her because she has seen God.
I’m spending the night at my great aunt’s house with my grandpa. We went in a canoe on the lake. Grandpa is sitting up in the chair late at night. I think he does that a lot.
The Lord is my strength and my salvation.
I love Jesus. Jesus is Lord.
As we sat together on the bedroom floor, we laughed at the silliness of her comments and the now-funny irritations with her siblings. We cried together as she struggled to read through the grief-filled thoughts of a ten-year-old granddaughter praying for her dying grandma. And we wiped those tears as we saw the script “Jesus is Lord” written as the final words on the inside cover of a little girl’s diary.
As I watched my daughter climb into her car and drive away, I couldn’t help but smile at the treasure she had shared with me from her diaries of long ago. The memories that she stirred have stayed with me throughout the day and have prompted me to dwell upon the past – both the blessings and the sorrows. And I found my thoughts turning toward this reminder from Psalm 62:8.
Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.
As much as I enjoyed hearing the thoughts of my daughter’s heart shared from long ago, I can only imagine how God wants us to come to Him much like that once 8-year-old girl approached her diary. No secrets could not be shared. No thoughts could not be penned. They simply poured out like water upon the pages.
I love the psalmist’s idea of pouring out my heart like water before my heavenly Father. Allowing myself to be so softened by His grace that whatever is within me flows out easily as a liquid, not clogging or catching with hard flecks of bitter sediments. All my emotions, with their sorrows and their joys; my desires, those that are mere wishes and others that are true callings; my prayers for myself, for loved ones, and for strangers; my hopes and dreams of things to come; my frustrations and pain over private history that has already occurred and has been received as less than desirable in my life.
Pouring out my heart to God while holding nothing back can be hard. Because it requires trust. It requires that I have a trust in Him to receive my offerings and to sort through my thoughts, storing up those that are worthy while discarding or refining those that are so much less than what they should be. In trusting God, I am also entrusting Him with everything that is in me. Sharing those deep, abyss-like secrets that I withhold from all others. Pouring out the good, the bad, and the downright horrid. Casting myself before a love that knows no bounds as I confront the issues within myself and fling them before the mercy seat of the Most High.
Trusting, always trusting that there is nothing that can not be made known to my Father. No thought too appalling to expose, no longings too deep to be shared, no sorrow too heavy that it cannot be borne by the Lover of my soul.
Indeed, God is a refuge for us. For one. For all.
But He is so much more than just a refuge – He is all the refuge that we need.
As we approach this New Year of 2013, may we do so with liquid hearts. Hearts soft enough to pour out before the One who already knows everything that is within them. Hearts strong enough to trust that our Father will receive those thoughts that we treasure and those pains that we process. But most of all, may we have hearts determined to love Him through it all – from the smallest of cares to the greatest of needs. May we repeat the childlike refrain from hands that penned these words of truth, “I love Jesus. Jesus is Lord.”
No matter what tomorrow holds, we can trust that He holds our tomorrows.