Remind me again

by Kristin on January 9, 2009

in Belief, doubt & hope

Photo by atomicjeep

I’ve encountered some important reminders this week.

First I read this article, which reminds me that numbers don’t always mean what you first might think, and that not every brand of success can even be measured in numbers. Being reminded of this inspired to write the post When small is big and numbers are nothing.

A couple of hours after writing the post—which in large part was meant to comfort and distract me from my worries about blog stats and Twitter numbers—I received an email from a stranger. I asked her if I could share it here:

I just loved your entry about your turning point — when you bought your house. It made me cry, literally. I have been at a similar turning point for a while now in my life, but unable to make that turn, probably because I only knew what I wanted to turn from, but not what I wanted to turn towards. I think your story just gave me a warm, gentle, and much needed push on my back to have the courage, take the leap. so, thank you.

This email, arriving out of the blue, reminds me of the primary reason I bother writing in the first place: I love the interaction and conversation. I love knowing that I’m not alone, and that my stories are touching someone else in small and sometimes even big ways.

Remembering where I’ve been

It also reminds me of where I’ve been. The post this reader is referencing—A turning point with a street address—is about what was happening in my life in early 2005, a very difficult time for me. I was clinging desperately to all the wrong things, and found myself feeling hopeless as I faced many important decisions.

I don’t want to forget that critical moment in my life. It says so much about who and where I am now, and about God’s grace in my life, and his ability to redeem my biggest messes.

Another reminder of this came in the form of a reader comment on the post Retracing my steps to the original idea:

A final thought: look at your life the last 4-5 years. Are they not only picture of God’s grace but also your willingness to be open and less intentional? How else would you have made it to where you are now? It’s quite a story.

It is quite a story. Jason and I have shared it with others and marveled over it together, repeatedly.

But like all stories that aren’t told and retold, with consistent enthusiasm and urgency, I can see how it is gradually fading. My life has been so good, for more than three years now—it’s easy to take it all for granted and to forget where we were, and how far we’ve come.

Which is why we need to be reminded.

Here are a few of the stories from back when I first started my blog. I just took some time to re-read them and remember their place at the crux of my bigger story, of brokenness being made whole.

Love in unexpected places

A road trip with my husband’s ex-wife

Worship in a warehouse

A turning point with a street address

Two girls with all kinds of parents

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  • Elaine Tolsma-Harlow

    I love to share the story of how 9 years ago I was told I needed a bone marrow transplant or I would die a horrible death. It defines who I am as a person now. There is life before cancer & life after cancer and the one after is richer, wiser & very, very blessed. I don’t look at the future very much anymore, I look at today, and maybe tomorrow. God’s grace in my life is like manna. He provides my daily fill & I need to just marvel and praise him for this & in the hope that tomorrow I will have additional blessings.
    I didn’t turn a corner, I was shoved off of a cliff & fell into inky blackness. Is it horrible to say I couldn’t even pray? I just held my breath and let the intercession of others & the gift of the spirit carry me down. And you know what? God blessed me with a whole new immune system from a non related donor that has carried me to over 8 years of remission.
    Its hard to go into the unknown, wether a sickness or divorce or loss of job, but if you take it day by day, blow by blow, there can be healing and hope and at the end of the day isn’t that the greatest gift? Hope…wow!

  • Kandie Waggoner

    Hi Kristin, Perhaps you will remember me, I am Brent’s mom. He said you had become friends on Facebook. I have been reading your blog and find that you are a gifted writer. Your latest one about remembering when critical things happen and you turn a corner struck a cord. I have been at that place many times in my life and have come to believe that corners just keep coming and that it is a good thing as that is how we grow in our knowledge of ourselves. Keep up the beautiful writing. Please say hi to your mom and dad and feel free to share this e-mail with them. You can see what I have been up to on Facebook if you want to become friends.
    Take care. Best Kandie

  • Kristin T.

    Elaine, your story is an amazing one–you can share it with me as many times you want, in as many different ways as you can think of. What’s so amazing about these stories, and is a big part of why we must remember them, is that how we understand the stories and what we learn from them changes as we change. New life lessons and new perspectives can keep emerging from the same “old” stories, along with new healing and hope. Pretty amazing.

    I’m glad, too, that you said what you did about not even being able to pray. I’ve learned that it’s OK to be in that place from time to time, in our darkest moments.

    Kandie, I’m so glad you found my blog and left a comment. Thank you for your kind words about my writing, and for sharing your wisdom about corners–how they keep coming and how they allow us to “grow in our knowledge of ourselves.”