So I was sad and anxious and angry and tired. I need to write I thought, I need to write or I will not get through this. But I couldn't concentrate long enough to work on my novel or my non-fiction book or my articles or my devotional notes. So I found what my daughter used to call my "God book' and decided to write in that - I was planning a long, shapeless rant about evil, death and the depressing march of time (to say nothing of the John Lewis Christmas advert). But before I started, I had a flick through previous entries in older books (I am a sporadic but life-long diarist). And here's the thing. Whenever I look back, I'm transported - to the time when we couldn't find anywhere to live, to my longing for a baby, to our crazy times living overseas, to those terrible days when my husband was rushed into hospital, to the first stirrings of possibility re moving. The words penned by The Younger Versions of Me made me miss her, this hopeful woman who expressed her fears so keenly yet remained filled with faith and hope for writing and life. She seemed so good at looking for positives, for seeing signposts, for keeping her eyes open for surprising things. There she was, reaching across the years, as if she was trying to tell me something.
Have you ever been touched by your own writing? More often, we cringe when we read things we wrote years ago when our style was wordy or unformed. We wonder how we could ever have thought we were any good, and then worry that one day we'll think the same about our writing now. But it's
quite lovely to reread things you wrote that conjure up impressions of other times in your life, what you were afraid of, and how God put your fears to rest, what you dreamed of and how God gave you better dreams. Through the pages of my 'God books' I remembered...these Other Versions of Me - exultant, hopeful, dreamy, scared. And I saw how, over time, the same God met with each one in His own surprising and tender way, encouraging, revealing, realigning, blessing. I smiled as I read of small miracles and big graces. And I was comforted.
|Another version of me|
I've heard it said that we write so we are not alone. It's not always helpful to look back, but sometimes, those Other Versions of Us might want to remind us how to hold on, stay focused, keep the faith. At least, mine did. Better days will come, she told me. And they did...
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Deborah Jenkins is a primary school teacher and freelance writer who has written articles, text books, devotional notes and short stories. She also writes regularly for the TES. She has completed a novella, The Evenness of Things, available as an Amazon e-book and is currently working on a full length novel. Deborah loves hats, trees and small children. After years overseas with her family, who are now grown up, she lives in south-west London with her husband, a Baptist minister, and a cat called Oliver.