Today I spent a lot of time working on school scrapbooks with several of my kids. Let me tell you, it does not pay to wait until you have six of seven kids in school for several years before you figure out what to do with old school work. It has been a monstrous task.
But it’s also been a little bit fun.
At one point I was about to complain that my eldest daughter was lallygagging instead of working when I realized she was reading some of her old school work. Isn’t that exactly why we are putting a subset of these things in an organized folder? To enjoy looking back and seeing how much we’ve grown, learned, and changed?
Thankfully I caught myself before I started scolding. Instead I smiled and asked her if she was enjoying reading her old papers.
I wish I could scrap book that moment. I often feel like I jump to the worst conclusion and act on it before I’ve even gotten my bearings. So much of life is busy, busy, busy. I pray and grow and learn and change and have no real record of it all.
But when I take the time to stop and look back, I see I have a lot of noteworthy moments, too. Maybe I can’t make a binder of handprints, drawings, letters, poems, and crafts to sum it all up, but there are definite signs I have changed. I might not have a lap-book of colorful slips of paper cataloging the ways I’ve learned to hold my tongue or the times I’ve cast down heart-idols in a painstaking process of learning to think less of self and more of serving. But when I take stock of where I am compared to where I was five years ago – even one year ago – I can see my Teacher has been effective. I am learning. I am growing. I am changing.
I think it’s important to look back every once in a while – not like Lot’s wife, longing for the things from which God has called you, but like the good kings, who looked back, saw God’s faithfulness, and worshiped all the more because of what the Lord had done in the intervening years.
Can you make time today to think about your heart-school scrapbook? Maybe you journal and can browse the pages to see how your heart has been shaped. Maybe you sketch and can flip through a picture book of life changes. Maybe you simply need to remember what your days were like last summer this time. What is different in your house besides the size of the shoes by the door?