January 13, 2007. Sure, the dreams started long before then, but it wasn't until this day that my dreams took physical form. Letters, to be exact. Out of strictly pure motives, a letter was written. To whom you may ask? My future husband. A letter filled with all of my hopes and dreams. One single letter filled with words that poured out of my heart and onto the paper. Sealed up. And not to be opened until the day of my wedding. And by none other than the man of my dreams. All of life was still rosy and brimming with hope of the future. All of my future dreams sealed in an envelope.
Between 2007 and 2011, close to 20 letters were written. All for different dreams. Dreams of anniversaries. Dreams of children. Dreams of the perfect ending and happy beginnings. When I was sad, I wrote a letter. When I was happy, I wrote a letter. When I was mad, I wrote a letter. Those dreams that were once innocent had quickly turned into a full-blown idol. Those letters were living, breathing, physical representations of all that I ever wanted. The guarantee of God giving me what I wanted and even believed I deserved. My hope was in the one day of giving those letters to the man who would become/be my husband. I clung to them as if my life depended on it. God could ask anything of me, but He could not have my letters. They were my letters.
Are you starting to see what I mean by idols? God started to warn me that I needed to let them go. He even placed the book, Lady in Waiting, in my life to open my eyes to the realities of my singleness. God has done so much work in my life since 2011. I stopped writing the letters. I started going to God for answers in my confusion, questioning, fears, and hurt. I finally understood that God owed me nothing. Marriage was not my right. God's plans for me were all that mattered. I started seeing my singleness through God's eyes instead of the world's. I've come a long way, but I hadn't let go. Those letters were hidden away. An old prayer journal for safe-keeping, I kept those letters. They were still mine. They were still a part of me. God could not ask me to give those up.
Fast forward. 2016. Exactly 9 years from the weekend it all began. I decided to let go. The flames rising between the logs of wood. One by one. Each letter had its turn in the flames. Crinkling. Burning. Falling. Ashes. It was done. As I read through each letter, each memory blazed through my mind. Knowing the state of my heart in those moments. Knowing that I trusted in my dreams/idols instead of God in those times. The burning set me free. The burning turned me toward Him. The one who wanted to care for my heart in those moments. I saved the first for last. As I held that letter, I knew God was holding me. I thought there would be tears. I thought there would be pain. But I could only smile at the work God had done in my heart. I could only marvel that it took me this long to let go of something that was destroying me.
I feel free. Who knew ashes would bring such freedom? I had no idea the weight I was carrying by holding onto those idols. I had chained myself down to those letters. I had committed my heart to an imaginary future/husband instead of God. I have been set free. Praise God. I have been set free.
It was in the ashes that God breathed new life and a new beginning into my heart and awakened my soul to the one true love I have had in Him all along.