Unlocking the Past

suitcase no name

This isn’t the post I thought I was going to share today. But what can I say? God has been working on me. Maybe He’s working on you, too.

Dealing with the past can be hard. If you’re like me, you look back and blame yourself for…well…pretty much everything you can: the things you said and didn’t say, the timing of what you did and didn’t do. The list can go on and on.

But what if you and I stop looking back at the past as if it’s something dreadful to ponder, something painful that left us scarred and tattered, broken beyond repair and instead look to God? What if we hand over that old suitcase from our past, the one we’ve locked and buried in the back of our spiritual closet, and allow Him to unlock it?

It can be scary. I know. But what is even more frightening is living with the knowledge that the suitcase is still there, something we never dealt with, something we kept pushing to the back of the closet. It can hide in the shadows like some monster from our childhood, bringing nightmares and stealing our peace.

But what if, instead of being afraid or cringing with guilt when we see it, we realize that old piece of luggage can actually be a beautiful thing because of what it holds:

Experiences. Stories. Lessons.

They are the hidden gems tucked inside the suitcases of our past just waiting to be unpacked to help others.

Sure, the failures and disappointments are there – abandoned dreams still on hold, tear-stained journals, and faded, torn photographs. But those are the very things that make our stories believable, relatable.

We all have brokenness from our past.

But it’s up to us to decide what to do with it. We can either hand it all to God, surrendering its hold on us. Or we can let it control us from the shadows of our closet, leaving our spirits in a state of mustiness and stagnation, never learning, never growing; giving more weight to the past than the desire to move forward to the future God has for us.

(Deep breath here.) I officially surrendered my suitcase, my past, to God yesterday after years of ignoring it. And when I did, I realized it had quite a hold on me.

And today, well, today is a new day. And the lessons are pouring out as He holds me, steadying me…

I pray you feel Him steadying you, too.

“Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.” (Isaiah 41:10 MSG.)

God Is Speaking


I was sitting at my desk, surrounded by books and notepads with my laptop nearby and my cup half full of that oh-so-delicious afternoon coffee.

There’s something truly wonderful about preparing to write a new book, something so deeply intimate about spending time with God in the stillness of a room as He guides and teaches you about things you know very little about but are excited to learn.

Before I go on and on, leaving you to feel as if you’re in a vague fog, I promise there’s a point to all of this for you.

I can’t tell you exactly what I’m researching for my next book. (For those of you who know me, it’s the “purple elephant” all over again.) You see, if I were to tell you I’m writing a book about a purple elephant, you might look at me like I’m crazy and question why I wouldn’t make it pink or polka-dotted. Then I would start to doubt my purple elephant and question all of my work. Not only that, I don’t want to stick my purple elephant in a padlocked trunk (no pun intended) in case he needs to be rewritten in the middle of the story as a flying potato with antlers and chicken wings. (Can you tell my heart is yearning to write fiction?)

So I have to be all hush-hush about this book I’m writing, but I can tell you one thing about it – there won’t be any flying potatoes as far as “eye” can see. 🙂

But I can share something about this process that might help you if you’re working on something close to your heart or embarking on a new journey (could this be mine?!) – when you ask God to help you tackle something that is so far beyond your own knowledge, capabilities, or confidence, He will tiptoe into the room with you, pull up a chair, and gently whisper to you. He will teach you through His Holy Spirit.

All you have to do is ask, be still and listen, and takes notes the best you can.

And should God choose to speak through something visual like a rainbow landing right in your backyard on an unusually warm day in January and teach you how it connects to the very question you asked Him earlier, grab your camera and do your best to stop giggling so you can get the shot. Just remember, the lesson doesn’t end when you capture the image; God can reveal the hidden layers, the depth of His lesson even while you’re brushing your teeth the next morning.

God is speaking, my friend. And the Holy Spirit is teaching. Can you hear Him?

“And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.” (1 Kings 19:12 NLT.)

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8 ESV.)

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10 NIV.)

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26 ESV.)