Years ago she sat on the floor of her closet, waiting for salvation to change the circumstances of reality. The carpet fibers were filled with the remnants of her tears, the pages of her journal splayed open like an abstract painting on display. Everything and nothing made sense. The deepest desire of her young heart never met. She returned often for the reprieve of grace, like a war room of tears and truth.

Years passed. The journals she filled sat in a bin in the cold basement. The symbol of them is interesting, funny even. They’ve found themselves in a place that existed before she knew how to walk, and they’re surrounded by a history she will never know. That’s the gift of an old house. It houses memories forever, most of which will never be recalled without the presence of the soul who inhabited the walls. And for every new soul, a few memories are left to live in the walls and the windows, never recollected again.

In the corner, they sit, the memories of every day for years and years of becoming a woman. She walks above, navigating a world where everything is harder than it was when she first started writing. She writes less and less because she is needed more and more by eight other hands, eight other feet, four little souls. Difficulty isn’t the right way to look at it. Complexity is. There was once a time when everything was about her. Now, she fights for a day when any choice is hers for the taking. Throw in a pandemic of unprecedented times, and the choices become fewer and farther between.

It seems boring. Monotonous, even. The same thing, everyday. The same choices, everyday. The same work, everyday. This is the dynamic that threatens other women everyday: they feel lost to a world made up of the needs of others. Theirs fall to the wayside like rocks tumbling down a cliff as she and every woman like her makes choices that benefit everyone else. A blessing and a curse.

But recently, she picked up the pen again. What started as a memory of the days she was living turned into a practice for sanity, a recollection of God in her life. Sometimes it takes grace and hell colliding for something new to come forth. Waking before the children, staying up after bedtime, writing and writing for no purpose other than because it’s who she is. Love letters to a saving God, laments for a time she never wanted, gratitude for a life at all. If her journal could tell her story, it would be a one of vulnerability. It’s what she knows, like the backs of her hands. Acknowledging the present circumstance, the present feeling, the present thought is what moves her from mediocre to greatness. She looks on at others waiting or failing to do the same and wonders if they have yet to see the other side of their coin.

If there’s any reason to be better, it’s for the time we are in. It’s for the people we love. It’s for the minds we have within us, the hearts that beat, the souls that sway and ache in the wind. Making our way to the people we want to be, the better versions of ourselves, is a complex trek past what is often outside of our control. We need the blinders like race horses to keep our eyes on one prize, to keep moving towards a purpose and goal that transforms our present reality. I don’t know what I’d do without Jesus. All that might be left of me is a stack of journals that tell the story of a girl turned woman who fought hard to be herself and lost time and time again. He is what gets me through. He’s the one I write letters to, day in and day out, working to move closer to Him so I reflect more of Him. It feels like the loftiest of goals and the most trivial of decisions when the world falls and quakes in the wake of calamity. Yet it is this One, this God, who is the catalyst for every important movement that I can make. With Him, my story is His story. Without Him, I have journals in a basement.

The story we write is just as important as the story we reflect. It changes us from words on paper to living reflections of grace. From storyteller to the story we tell. From the potential to the living. From grace to grace.

Published by Janelle Delagrange

Wife to a graphic designer, mom to three young boys, and writer of the soul.

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