Friday, May 13, 2011

Lessons from the Inbox

Yesterday I spent almost two hours clearing out my e-mail inbox. It had started looking an online version of a hoarder’s file cabinet, crammed with literally thousands of old messages that I might need again someday. I’ve started the process many times only to give up at about page three. This time I decided to start on the last page and work my way backward, figuring the end was where I could most often click “check all” and delete.

I sent hundreds in a row to Trash and others to folders dedicated to encouraging notes, helpful information, recipes, and pictures. But many, I must admit, I reread. The more I opened, the more I started feeling like I was looking through an old photo album or a journal. What popped out at me most often were the responses to past prayer requests. At the time they had been vital enough to e-mail friends, family, and prayer loops with calls to “Please pray,” followed by updates and praise reports. I’d held onto each promise of prayer, offer of help, and reminder to “call if you need ANYTHING.” Some of those prayer requests were written with such a deep, aching desperation that it was all I could do to get the words out in a way that made sense. It got to a point where I could predict which prayer-request-related e-mails I would find based on the dates in the right-hand column.

October 2010 . . . I can almost feel the panic I felt that day

December 2010 . . . another trip to the hospital with Norm.

And now those problems were over.

I moved many of those e-mails to my “Encouraging Notes” folder as reminders that 1) I have never suffered alone, and 2) no crisis is forever.

This was one of the sweetest hours that I have spent in weeks. What started out as a tedious task of cleaning out my Inbox, turned into a blessed time of tracing God’s goodness. Once again I am in a season of sending out prayer requests and updates (to fewer people this time), but I feel a little less desperate. I know God is working and that He has surrounded me with friends who are praying and supporting me and my family. And in several months when my Inbox is once again crammed with messages, I’ll rediscover and reread the reminders.

Maybe I’ll let old e-mails pile up more often.



Blogger Joanne Reese said...

Great post, Jeanette. I've got you're back girlfriend.

9:16 PM  
Blogger Xochi said...

What a wonderful reminder of how God works through all things. Thanks for the fresh perspective that shines with the evidence of God's fingerprints in our circumstances. His faithfulness can truly be traced if we only take time to look. I am grateful for your friendship and your gift of writing for God's glory.

9:45 AM  

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