Soulful Sojourning

The Gifts I Never Wanted

A delicate mirrored box sits in my hutch surrounded by pretty heirlooms and souvenirs.  In a way, it’s a souvenir of some of my darkest moments, a memory kept in honor of the friendship and the beauty that comes from pain. Hopefully it will be an heirloom for my children of their mother’s honest raggedy faith made beautiful by time and tears.

         A wise woman, full of dignity and grace, gave it to me during a difficult season, wrapped up with a lovely bit of stationary.  “This is for your letters to God,” she’d written. “No one needs to know what you write, but you can release your words into his hands,” the card stated elegantly.   Right.  A mailbox to God, I scoffed! Me, pouring my broken heart into a little wooden box wouldn’t help what was ailing me.  I placed the lovely little box on my dresser and went about stewing in my self-pity.
         The first time I placed a letter in the box, I felt foolish.  Months would go by and I’d dust it off from time to time, wondering what people would think of my silliness.   It became my last resort, my prayer box.  If it went on the card and into the box, it was my dearest, most private prayer.  Some prayers were answered, some weren’t, but all were heard.
         Today, I wonder how a woman can survive without a mail-box to God tucked into their dining room. It’s moved with me several times.  Life hasn’t gotten easier or safer but that box has held my heart when it’s too heavy to bear alone.  It’s a witness to the faithfulness of God in my weakness.
         There are gifts that hurt to unwrap. A locket to honor a baby held for mere moments, a book for broken dreams, a stuffed animal that’s never been cuddled. Now, I’m the woman wrapping up a box with a bit of stationary, passing on the wisdom poured into me. These are the gifts that punch you in the soul and hardly do justice to the moments they represent.  Yet when time dulls the pain, these remain a testament to the loss and the loved ones who didn’t let me walk alone.  It reminds me of the women who’ve invested in my heartache, who spoke up, spoke out, and didn’t leave me alone. They didn’t tell me how to feel.  Through their prayers, we mined the pain and shed the extra layers that were strangling my soul.  It’s a witness to loveliness found in the hardest places. It’s a legacy of prayer and hope.
By God’s grace,
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