Today is November 15 and I am halfway through National Novel Writing Month. I want to thank you who have been encouraging me by prayer, your comments here, and particularly on Facebook, where I’ve been posting my semi-daily word counts. Despite not being able to write every day, I have been able to keep on track. Last night I reached slightly more than 25,000 words. I’m halfway there.

Comments from you and many other friends, past and present have encouraged me to write something autobiographical. This has been a real challenge, as it has required me to take yet another look at my past. Some memories have not been easy. Yet, interestingly, I have discovered something amazing—I am changing! <DUH>

I have had to refer to some old diaries, and been looking at previously written material. Most of it I’ve had to edit… it seems that my perspective on things that have happened in the past is very different from a time, nearly 20 years ago, when those same memories literally resulted in panic attacks and physical pain. This discovery has been a tremendous encouragement to me. I wrote on Day 5 of NaNoWriMo

Already, in less than 5 days, as I consider the pictures in my mind, I am beginning to put things together differently and see from a different perspective. From angles I’d never quite considered before. The past is nothing more than a path leading truly forward to the doorway of the present. The future I see in the horizon is never what I thought it was, once I have passed through the door—in some strange way the door is always moving forward.

Perhaps this challenge is more for my benefit. However, I do believe that by the end of the month I will have some material worth working through and refining for…. a book? Maybe…

In any case, I hope that these brief thoughts are also encouraging to you. It took me years to realize that the past does not rule me, and that no matter how much the past may influence me, it has no power over me other than what I give it. I was meditating on these things this morning and was reminded of Paul’s words,

Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:12–14 HCSB)

I realize that only as I remember something, can I then choose to forget it, and move on. May each of us find a way to do this with the painful things in our own pasts. What is ahead for those who belong to Jesus is far more wonderful, glorious, and exciting than anything we can even try to imagine.