When we moved I realized that we had saved boxes and files of neatly organized receipts and papers. So all this week I’ve been shredding 20 years of my life.
As I shredded, I started looking through the papers.
Some of it was hard to see all over again.
Like the receipts and letters from the year when finances were so tight. Richard and I didn’t know if we were going to make it. I remember going outside and walking around my home.
Before I knew it I had circled it seven times. I don’t think I was intentionally recreating the scene of Joshua and his army circling the walls of Jericho (Joshua 6), but I do know that our problems felt that big. We were working as hard as we knew how and it wasn’t enough.
I happily shredded that year.
Year by year I sifted through papers.
There was the year we needed a new car. There was a salvage receipt for the brown car we drove that only went forward. You would not believe how many times you need to use reverse. When we were able to afford a new car, we drove old Brownie straight to salvage yard and didn’t look back (no pun intended ♥).
In another box there were letters and cards from family and friends the year I found out I had cancer. What a bittersweet year. Sweet as we realized the love of friends and family. Hard because we were hit in every way possible as I battled cancer.
Then there was the year I started writing. Five years after chemo and radiation and surgeries, I took a leap of faith. I looked through receipts, amazed at how many mistakes I made but also at how that dream started to become a reality.
The shredder whirred as I fed one year after another, until finally four large trash bags were filled and set out for recycling. All that was left was a small pile of cards and some paper dust.
Isn’t it amazing how up and down life is?
One year up. Another year hanging on by a thread. Three years of ease. Two years of battle.
But as I shredded the receipts of my life, there was one consistency throughout.
I was never, ever alone.
That is the one thing I needed to hear in those harder years.
Hang tight. You’re not alone in this.
I wasn’t alone as a young mom of 31 hearing the word “cancer.”
I wasn’t alone when I gave birth to my children and felt sleep deprived for the next two years.
I wasn’t alone when I placed my fingers on the keyboard the first time as a writer.
I wasn’t alone when I twirled in my living room at the news that I was cancer free.
I wasn’t alone in that day that I circled my home, exhausted emotionally, wondering if we’d ever climb out of medical debt.
Maybe you are in that place too.
Right now you’re carefully filing those receipts and letters that will one day prove that this was a hard year for you.
I wish I had a video camera that could show you how God carried you through to the other side. Only time will provide that.
But I can tell you that God is walking with you today.
You are not alone.
A few scriptures just for you
Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. ~ Psalm 55:22
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. ~ Isaiah 40:31
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. ~ Jeremiah 29:11
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. ~ Matthew 11:28
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. ~ Romans 8:28