Since last January when the year’s lists of prompts for this blog were shared, I have been dreading this month. The prompt is to choose a memory connected to our writing, and tell how it is a memorial for us, which is an appropriate subject for the month we commemorate Remembrance Day. However, memories are difficult for me. Childhood trauma buried most good recollections along with bad. As an older teen, some of those good memories began to return, as did flashbacks of pain. Stories told by my siblings also raised reminiscences, however good times were often bracketed by confusion. So while I could try to tell a story of how books and writing provided escape from pain, I believe it’s more helpful this month to share that God heals pain.
Shared on Facebook recently was a meme with a picture of blankets thrown over a table and chairs to make a tent. The sentiment was that as an adult we want to go back to those simple days of playing in such a shelter. I was reminded that seeing my own children play under the dining table many years ago, and not recognizing what they were very naturally doing, was the impetus for me to focus on healing from my past. And so began a journey from darkness, through memories, to learning to wear rose-coloured glasses.
If you read my post last month, you may wonder how a girl who sees most situations as glass half-empty can also wear rose-coloured glasses, but I don’t mean seeing life outside of reality. My rose-coloured glasses are God-given, developed by building memorials.
I love memorials! They are different from memories. Memorials are monuments of when we recognize God at work. Memorials can be built in celebration or in the midst of troubles, or even in the blank spaces of memory - because God is sovereign in all these times.
A definition for memorial is “a written statement of facts presented to a sovereign,” so we can take our understanding of the facts of our past or present situation to our Sovereign God. When I write a memorial like this to God, He faithfully shows me His presence and speaks into my heart.
God’s presence makes it possible for me to see not just the pain of the past, but also the blood of Christ that redeems that pain. When we know Immanuel, “God with us,” He helps us make sense of life, providing bloodstained truth about our struggles. As we take the time to build this kind of memorial, facing the hard things and testifying to God’s work in our life, the memorials become guiding lights, shining when we again find ourselves in darkness and pain. Memorials provide Hope for God’s good plan.
Seeing life through rose-coloured glasses does not mean ignoring pain or insisting our glass is only ever full. The frame of our glasses may be coloured by the pain we have experienced, but Christ’s blood tints the lenses through which we view life.
Our memorials light not only our own path, though. God’s light can shine from our path into the lives of others. There has been a lot in the media lately about the effects of trauma on soldiers, first responders, and refugees. When those affected are struggling in darkness, our memorials show them there is hope. Writing is how I build memorials, knowing God can use them to light the journey of others.
So I wear God-given, bloodstained, rose-coloured glasses and write memorials of God’s work in my life.