on finding what’s lost . . .

Every now and again, you find something you weren’t looking for—a surprise tucked into routine. Sometimes the discovery proffers pain; sometimes promise. Today I straddle the fence between both of them, pain and promise. Let me explain.

For over a week now, we’ve been scouring the nooks and crannies of our home looking for a misplaced video camera. We haven’t seen it since our moving here nearly three years ago, with little to no distress regarding its absence. Why the urgency now? Well, my son would like an IPod, and we wanted to make this happen as cheaply as possible. Accordingly, a trade-in at the local pawn shop seemed in order—a rarely used camcorder for a gently used IPod. Thus, the search began.

Yesterday, after piecing through every single box in our attic, under our beds, and in our closets (to no avail), I sat down in the den, staring at the television in the corner of the room. Slowly, a thought emerged: Maybe it’s in there (“there” being the antique trunk that serves as the entertainment center beneath our television). Figures. The forgotten treasure was right in front of me all along; I just didn’t have the eyes or the inclination to see it.

The like-new camcorder was found, along with the original box and accessories. Delighted with the discovery, my husband began the delicate process of repackaging it for resale; I had a further thought: Maybe there’s some footage on that camera that needs to be erased before its relocation. Maybe there’s a forgotten story or two that we pushed aside in an earlier season, leaving it to marinate and simmer on a 4GB scan disk for later retrieval.

To my surprise, there was some forgotten footage—two stories; one in particular that struck my heart with both pain and promise—a video clip in 2009 of a speaking engagement at Little River UMC. I spoke twice that day, a morning and afternoon session. In hindsight, I recall uploading the afternoon talk to my computer and tweaking it for promotional purposes, but I never did anything with the first session . . . until now, nearly four years later.

What makes that day significant for me (and the many weeks of prep work leading up to it), is that my focus for the event was the underpinning for the manuscript I would write over the next several months entitled On Walkabout with the King. I finished that work with firm and good intentions of getting it into the hands of publishers. But then, life happened—a ministry move, cancer, the writing of Beyond Cancer’s Scars, and homeschooling. So, I shoved it aside, a purple binder filled with 50,000 words about my struggle to make peace between my “Faith” and my “Elaine” (for those of you who don’t know, my name is Faith Elaine).

And just last night, I struggled with it all over again. I listened to the passion and purpose in my heart from 2009, and I wept over and wondered about the woman talking back at me—the one with hair, a slimmer frame, and well, a couple of other things.

Is she still here? Does the flame still burn as vibrantly as it once did?

Tough questions. Ones with which I’m willing to wrestle. And so, I give you this clip this morning, even as I give it to myself—a few words about faith, solidly anchored in the faith of our spiritual ancestors as chronicled in the great Hebrews’ “Hall of Faith.” Indeed . . . every now and again, you find something you weren’t looking for—a surprise tucked into routine. Sometimes the discovery proffers pain; sometimes promise. Today I straddle the fence between both of them, pain and promise.

If you’re so inclined, I invite you to pull up a chair, grab a cup of your preference, and open up God’s Word to Hebrews 11. Maybe, just maybe, there is a forgotten story you tucked away in an earlier season that needs remembering. Maybe it’s in there, hiding and simmering deep within you, waiting for re-discovery. Today, I join you at the table, and I promise to keep you close in my heart as we wrestle the thing out. You are never far from my thoughts.

PS: Congrats to Leah! She is the winner of the audio CD of Alicia Chole’s Anonymous.

14 Responses to on finding what’s lost . . .

  1. What a powerful message, Elaine. I am so thrilled you shared the video with us. Love the Scripture passage – Jeremiah 6:16. Need to commit that one to memory.

    Thank you for sharing your heart.

    • I thought, perhaps, the message was meant just for me, but I felt I needed to share. Thanks for being here.

  2. I had such a moment today…a surprise tucked into routine that I wasn’t looking for…and yes, there was both pain and promise.

    I was walking at the Community Center where I try to exercise daily, suddenly my attention was drawn to a chair at the end of the track. My minds eye saw my dad sitting there. It doesn’t seem that long ago that I would take dad with me to the walking track. I would walk at his pace, as far as he could go, then he would rest on that chair while he watched me stride a few laps, as he regained some energy to walk with me again. Suddenly I felt my eyes watering and a lump in my throat. Yes, a surprise tucked into my routine walk. A precious recollection.

    Straddling the fence with you, of pain and promise. What was and what will be. Treasuring the sweet remembrance, while wishing I had enjoyed the moment more at the time. Dad and I walked today, down the hall of his nursing home, at a snail pace and the assistance of a walking device. Making new memories.
    Thanks Elaine,
    PS. Loved the example of “Faith Elaine”, living between “faith” and “Elaine”. I can identify even without the name 🙂

    • Oh friend, I was right there with you, on the track with you and your daddy, also with you and your memory. Yes, it is a pain to feel our memories at such a deep level; it’s also comforting, right? Sounds strange, but true. Don’t be afraid to feel your “all” mightily as it arrives on the scene of your heart. Keep living forward!

  3. Jesus, son of David…have mercy on me. What a cry and one that I have uttered on more than one occasion!! I’m so thankful for His mercy. Bless you, dear friend and thank you for the giveaway.

  4. There’s a commercial for Special K Cereal that airs here frequently. Following the anticipated tout for the product’s yummy wonders, they close with their tagline: “What will you gain when you lose?”

    Now I know they didn’t expect that question to become a spiritual rallying cry for me, but it has. For all my losses, the gains have far surpassed them. I couldn’t help but think of it as I read your post.

    I, for one, have witnessed your gains because of your losses. They are stunning & altogether worthy.

    Loved the video!

  5. Elaine, I can understand your tears as you found this surprise tucked into your routine. So much has happened in your life since you spoke this message. Bless you, friend, as you wrestle with the questions it raised and as you feel the pain but look forward to the promise. Am so thankful for our Jesus who grants us mercy and gives us eyes to see!

  6. wifeforthejourney:

    Finding that video camera has amounted to a trip in the time machine. There are things here for us to celebrate and certainly cause for you to reflect and grieve. I’m grateful for this chance to revisit this moment in history, not just to consider what you have endured in days since, but to be able to number what gifts you have today. I am still amazed by all you do, all that you give, and all that you bring to each and every day.

    Thanks for posting the video so that the rest of the world can see what a day with Elaine looks like. Love,

    ~ Billy

  7. Dear friend,
    I have been slow reading your book. My friend Melanie arrived early November and handed the two books to me. I gave one to a very dear friend, Rosemarie, whom God had miraculously healed from Stage 4 breast cancer without going through any chemical treatment – she went all natural under a wellness doctor who resides in Texas. Nevertheless she had a strict regimen of changed diet and lifestyle (taking kefir was one of them)… now I digress. But my point is that your book has been awesome, and one of these days, I will also probably do a book review of it. There are some chapters that I can’t get away from – so I read them all over again. Savoring every word you have written because I have been privileged to walk with you in this journey through your blog. The forgotten video tucked inside that camcorder was serendipitous for you… amazing. I will connect my speakers to my laptop and get my Bible and notebook as I listen to the video later today. Thank you for the way your heart speaks to me, Elaine.


  8. How touching and thought provoking. A bit of history can jog so many memories. God has brought you so far, He has many of us hasn’t He, and what a beautiful, thought painful, path it has been. We have so much to look forward to, especially you dear friend. Keep writing and perhaps it’s time to publish that book on the shelf:)

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