Friday, April 13, 2012

A Walk Down Memory Lane

I have now reached the point in time where most major wedding preparations have been attended to and my attention has turned more toward life preparations as I will soon be moving out of my father's house and into my husband's. One of the tasks at hand, therefore, is going through belongings, cleaning out the old, packing up the new (as in new wedding gifts), and preparing for a major transition into a brand new season.

Today was one of those surreal days where it seemed very much as though I were standing at the very threshold of this transition. Ahead of me lies the beauty and wonder and delightful newness of married life and all that goes with it. As excited as I am to step forward past the threshold and revel in the goodness that lies ahead, today was a day of remembering the pathway behind me which has led up to this point. Of walking down memory lane, so to speak, and dwelling upon the incredible goodness of the Lord in my life.

It all started as I tackled the bottom shelves of my bookcase in which were housed dozens of files, folders, and binders that seemed to contain a summary of my life for the past eight years. My purpose was to go through each item and decide what to keep and what could be parted with, and then to pack away all the wanted items in a box to be hauled to Nathan's garage. As I began to page through each folder and each document, a multitude of memories was unlocked. It was as though I was seeing my life from all these years on film before me...

As I discovered folders of writing projects the Earnhart children had written, I was transported back to my six month sojourn in Peru, living with their family and teaching them school. I still had all the lesson plans spelled out in my spiral notebook, all the papers they had turned in to me. I smiled as I read eleven-year-old Abbey's beginning attempts at writing a classified ad; a girl who could barely spell correctly then, and who is now preparing to enter college as a lovely, accomplished young lady. I discovered the "Gladys Gazette" the children had compiled as the culmination of their newspaper writing skills on the life of Gladys Aylward and the country of China. Such fond memories spent in their basement schoolroom teaching them the difference between nouns and verbs, encouraging colorful writing styles, and letting them have fun with creativity in the Imagination Station we visited every day...

Another folder brought forth the newspapers the Loo children had written over a semester's time period with their hilarious pen names and catchy headlines. Still another revealed the Jameson children's published work under the auspices of The Jameson Journal - this one complete with color pictures! I smiled. Had I really instructed all of these children at different times in the art of writing? It seemed so long ago...

As the folders kept coming off the shelves, the memories kept flooding my mind. Sound Foundations and the quality music training I had received those three weeks in Indianapolis. Camp Ironwood and the relationships with campers I had built as counselor of Moonlight cabin in the high desert of California. Handmaidens of the Lord class and the wonderful home economic skills I had learned along with other young teenage girls my age in the lovely home of our mentor, Mrs. Kipp. Skills such as cooking, cake decorating, floral arranging, de-cluttering, table decor, hospitality; and the list could go on...

I found file after file after file of Bible studies I had written. Some for the GOGAT club (Girls of Grace and Truth) when I was on a mission to win the teenage girls in my neighborhood to Jesus. Some for the Beautiful Girlhood Discipleship group I had led the summer after arriving home from Peru. Many for the girls at American Chinese Fellowship in my quest to give them solid, Bible instruction that they might better understand God's Word and follow Him in their lives.

Of course, an entire binder was dedicated to Maiden's Quest Ministries; that amazing, unexpected work of the Lord through which He led us on such adventures around the country ministering to young ladies! I found original brochures stuck to the inside pockets of the binders, cost lists for the retreat, notes and handouts from my speaking sessions. My favorite part was going through the cards and letters so many girls had written to us afterward describing how God had worked in their hearts and lives through the teaching, the stories, and the elective classes. Such precious, indescribable memories of a season of ministry that was so delightful...

There was another folder on the bookshelf containing notes and lesson plans from a public speaking workshop I had conducted in Dallas several years ago. Another one with clippings of home decorating ideas I had cut out of magazines "for the future." (Think I had better hang on to those!) Still another one in which I found pictures from my high school graduation as well as the program from that memorable event. There were Christmas letters I had written on behalf of our family and other newsy letters I had sent out to a collection of girls that seemed to grow with each new ministry I experienced. Then there was the binder of training information I had received from Care Net Pregnancy Center as well as all the various ideas I had filed for how to present the Gospel most effectively to clients at the center...

Of course, half of an entire shelf was dedicated to Spanish books, dictionaries, and papers I had written while at RGBI last year. I was reminded of my love for the Spanish language and the Latino people and my desire to dive back into language study once the dust settles after the wedding. (If it settles, that is!) Homework assignments, exams, dialogs once memorized. One would think with all the hours and hours of study those many books and papers represented, I would be fluent by now! :) Ah, well...maybe one day....

I found my thick binder of Bible college studies and the hundreds of papers I had written to fulfill the lengthy writing assignments I had been given. There were personal letters my professor, Dr. Pent, had sent cheering me on the way, not just in the college studies but also in Maiden's Quest and other personal endeavors I had told him about.

As my walk down memory lane came to an end and I surveyed the stacks I was surrounded by on the floor, an incredible sense of gratitude welled up within me. I almost felt like crying over the sheer goodness of God as I pondered all the experiences He had given me, the doors He had opened, the opportunities for learning and growth He had orchestrated, the lives He had allowed me to touch and be touched by. I was overwhelmed to look back along the pathway I have trodden these last many years and realize how extremely blessed I have been.

And the amazing thing is, the blessings aren't stopping anytime soon! They are only growing more sweet as I prepare to marry the most incredible man I could have ever dreamed up! The Lord Jesus is so very good. I don't deserve any of these manifold blessings that He has poured out upon me nor the ones to come, but oh, am I ever grateful for each one!

It was such a sweet afternoon of remembering. Of closing one very long, very rich, very fulfilling chapter in my life and preparing to open the pages of a new one as the wife of Nathan Britton.

"Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation. The works of the LORD are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. His work is honorable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever. He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion." (Psalm 111:1-4)

5 comments:

Jennifer T. said...

Have you read "Preparing to Be a Help Meet" by Debi Pearl? Your story should be used in future editions!! Many blessings as you prepare for this transition. :)

Adam said...

Miss Katrina

Thanks for sharing. God used your post to remind me not to fear the future nor to dwell on the past mistakes but to see where He has brought me from and what great things He has in store for my life in the future. I will truly praise the LORD with my whole heart.

Signed a Brother in the Lord
Adam

Hannah said...

Amen!

Katelyn C. said...

Katrina, I love this post, and can relate so much...God's hand of faithfulness and constant provision is overwhelming and beautiful. Excited to share these new seasons together!

Sarah Beth said...

Miss Katrina,

Ohhhh the imagination station!!! Wow... what a long time ago! Your testimony fills me with hope and joy. God is blessing you as you have obeyed. I truly believe this. :) Thank you for taking the time to share and help me remember God's goodness.