A Joy Restored

girl 2
Photo Credit: “Jump” by Jana_Koll

I’ve said my dream was to be a writer. I developed this dream in childhood—I don’t know exactly when, but it was early. I read profusely from age eight on, and I’m guessing my writing dreams developed as my reading list grew.

At that age it was enough to have a foggy notion, a sort of affinity, a general inclination or tendency to writing. Writing was fun! I did it without overly thinking about it. I jotted silly stories and poems, and when I started playing the piano at age eight, also penning song lyrics. Back then I never thought about the practicalities of getting published, the imminent necessity of earning a living, the eventuality of needing a schedule to keep oneself on track to produce enough, often enough, to survive. No, back then my dream was a hobby, a thing I did at whimsy with no outside provocation. I did it because I enjoyed it. It brought me joy. It was fun.

How wonderful to be a child, to be innocent of worldly and societal expectations, or implications of adulthood. How I wish, as I write this, that I could go back.

Is that impossible?

It seemed impossible when life threw me its first really traumatic curveball at fourteen, when tragedy struck so quickly it seemed childhood was snatched away overnight. Then it was, I have to think, that Satan really went in for the kill on my identity. And with it, my dreams.

Suddenly I was no longer a capable, positive, promising child. I was an incapacitated, negative, doomed child. My world as far as I could see had collapsed around me. I couldn’t see beyond the walls of my home, now torn apart by dissension and hatred and despair.

Though a family breakup may not be our fault, it has everything to do with us. It has everything to do with how we see and understand our place in the world, everything to do with how we define ourselves. I’m not saying this is how it should be, or even that it’s logical, just that this is how it is.

This family event affected everything about me. It redefined me in negative, defeated ways. I became, in my eyes, a pitiable child, one who couldn’t speak up or have needs, either at home or at school.

Instead of being an empowered writer, I became a closet writer. That dream of writing got shoved in a closet, shoved under cover—literally, under the covers of journals—as I took to writing about my family plight and my own plight for no one’s eyes but my own. I guarded my writing, and with it, my pain, like I guarded the family secret. This was not healthy. And yet, by God’s grace, he even used that period of writing to myself for good. Even though the subject matter was bad, it kept me growing at least as far as a writer.  The writing kept my joints oiled, kept me in practice. The practice was being perverted, but it was leading to something only God could see.

happy life
Photo Credit: “Happy Life” by Lusi

Today I feel I have regained the joy of writing–maybe I’m even embarking on my second childhood! Gone are the dark days and the need to hide who I am, because God has restored to me my value and my worth. I rejoice because my identity is not defined by what was done TO me, but by what God has done FOR me. He saved me. He restored me. And He has returned me to the joy of my youth. Thanks for sharing my journey!


8 thoughts on “A Joy Restored

  1. mandaiht August 20, 2013 / 11:18 am

    I love that God can restore even the most horrific, breaking moments. It is true when He says in Joel 2 He will RESTORE what the locusts have eaten.

    • lindseygendke August 21, 2013 / 10:45 am

      Amen Sister! (Cousin!) He is good at what He does!

  2. Kate August 20, 2013 / 10:43 pm

    I love this redemption story, Lindsey! It always amazes me the depths that God can restore. There is NOTHING that He can’t pull out of the pit or raise from the dead. There is always a chance for hope and life with God!

    Awesome to see this love and dream given back to you! Celebrating it with you!

    • lindseygendke August 21, 2013 / 10:47 am

      Thanks for sharing along with me, Kate! It’s so encouraging to see and hear what God is doing in others’ lives…can keep us going when we are in a lull. Blessings to you!

  3. Jazzmine Bankston August 21, 2013 / 12:04 pm

    I absolutely LOVE this blog post, as I can similarly relate with my own life. I agree when you state that everything (in terms of chaos and hurt) is not our fault, but that it has everything to with us, and that “it is what it is.” To think that way sets us free and helps us on the road to forgiveness by seeing the unfair world from a 3rd person perspective. Keep spreading the good news of our redeeming Father of Love. How beautiful it is walk with Him, to journey with Him. It can be painful, but it is the most beautiful things make hearts ache with a breakthrough of joy.

    • lindseygendke August 27, 2013 / 9:14 am

      Thanks for reading, Jazz! Yes, it is so freeing to see a bigger perspective than the one our little finite minds can conceive of. When we open the door to God, He opens so many doors to us! Glad to be sharing the exciting journey of faith with you!

  4. Luanne August 21, 2013 / 12:34 pm

    I wonder if many of us go through a period where we are that “closet writer”?

    • lindseygendke August 27, 2013 / 9:16 am

      At least for those of us who are “informed” enough to realize what a difficult and daunting career it is, I think it must be pretty common! It’s scary to proclaim yourself a writer when you’re a no-name, but more than that, when you lack confidence in yourself. So, into the closet we go!

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