How could my experience possibly help another person? When it is coupled with strength and hope, and when the timing is right, the words of our testimonies can have a lasting impact.
I’m currently filling in a “Grandparent’s Journal” for my grandchildren to read one day. The oldest is only seven, but Ava is already reading and comprehending like a champ. The experiences of actual people in history have opened up her mind to unexpected revelation. Her high-pitched voice got my attention recently when she exclaimed, “Didi, did you know Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves? Didi, did you even know there were slaves?”
And though she also enjoys fiction–and how Amelia Bedelia’s story will end in her current chapter book–one day, I predict, she and our other grandchildren will care about their grandparents’ experiences, ones that will hopefully, be written down. The possibility certainly exists that I will be in heaven by the time they actually want to read my journal. And though that seems sad now, it raises the level of weight my words could have.
I cherish my own grandmother’s journal. She was born in 1899. When she was in her mid-seventies, my Aunt Becky–my dad’s sister–compelled their mom to write down her childhood memories. In one of my favorite entries, Granny describes what her home in Charleston, West Virginia was like in 1906, when she was seven years old—particularly, the front parlor.
“In early 1906, Mom had to have a mastectomy. She wouldn’t go to the hospital so they brought the hospital to her. The curtains and the blinds were taken down–in the front parlor–and the operating table set at the windows where the operation was performed by the surgeon and our family doctors. There were only three of us kids at the time. No one thought Mom would make it. Aunt Lizzie said our dad was placing us with kinfolk in case.
I think Mom went on that table praying she would live and keep us together. Well, she came through the operation beautifully and kept us together, and lived to be ninety years old.”
Imagine! Surgery in the front parlor!
It thrills my heart is to read of my great-grandmother’s faith in the power of prayer. It was certainly handed down to my grandmother. I use her journal as proof of just how precious my words (and handwriting) may one day become. But will my experience resonate? Will my miraculous saving from a merciful God give my descendants a clear vision of just how awesome He truly is? And, just how much do I share? These are the questions I’ve wrestled with in writing my memoir, too.
When we read or listen audibly to someone else’s experience, we may mentally rehearse, “What would I have done in their shoes?” Hearing testimonies from transparent, authentic Christians has gone a long, long way in my walk with the Lord. Here is an example of just how someone’s words, spoken with experience at just the right time, can have a lasting impact on the listener.
Timeless biblical truths, historic accounts, and eyewitness testimony written down by Moses, King David, Paul, and Luke (among others) has had a lasting impact on my faith in Christ Jesus, and how vital it is for me to keep fresh in God’s word.
I treat myself each summer to a wonderful productions at Sight & Sound Theater. The four hour drive from where I live to Lancaster, PA., is always worthwhile.
I’ve had the privilege of seeing “Moses”, “Joseph”, and “Samson”, and this summer will attend “Jesus” with my husband (his first time.) I also take a 90-minute self-driving tour through the covered bridges in the region. You pass farms where the peaches are hanging off the trees so close, you can roll down your window and grab a fresh one right off the branches. If any of my readers want a copy of the driving tour, and a highly recommended Bed & Breakfast, just leave your email address in the comments below.
With the limited experience I’ve had at age fifty-nine, I can take notes from the pages of Exodus 33:12-23, where Moses (somewhere between the ages of 80 and 120) recounts a life so full of experience, yet he repeatedly urges God to BE (divine presence), and to accompany him. Dealing with the stiff-necked Israelites Moses has been put in charge of has become a very heavy burden.
I hope it resonates with my grandchildren one day, as it does with me, how remarkable it is when Moses has God’s undivided attention in verse 18, and we hear his urgent, yet simple request:
“Show me Your glory!”