In my forty years of life, I have learned that some moments in life slip by and for some reason or another you do not even remember them as a part of your life story. Good or bad. Happy or sad. Victory or defeat. If not captured in writing or in picture, some life moments are not turned into lifelong memories.
However, there are moments in life that mark you as if they are etched in your brain with a Sharpie that never fades away. Years later the recollection of these moments in life can cause you to return to the age of the memory as if they happened yesterday.
There are many Sharpied memories for me from my early teenage years.
Some of these memories are very random.
I vividly remember suntanning in the backyard with my older sister, Monta, scorching our skin that was lathered in baby oil and iodine. When I close my eyes, I can still smell the oil, feel my skin scorching, and hear our jam box blasting our favorite 80s songs.
Tossing a watermelon in the living room with my big brother, Jeremy, is a moment I have never forgotten. My memory of that moment is like a slow motion video in my mind. A poorly thrown toss caused the watermelon to crash in an explosion of red mess to the carpeted floor. I can still see the terror on our faces as we thought about what would happen when Mom walked in the door.
These vivid memories bring a smile to my face as I reflect over my young teenage years.
There are other moments from those years that became memories that helped to shape me into the person I am today. The lessons I learned in those early teenage years have been like highway guardrails on my life that protected me and guided me on my journey as I navigated middle school and the rest of my teenage years. These guardrails became a sort of “rules to live by” as I grew into a young woman trying to figure out just what life on earth is all about and what in world I was supposed to do with the life I had been given to live.
Over the past few days, I have been writing out a few stories from my middle school days to share with my two favorite middle school girls. These stories are dedicated to my sweet niece who is turning 13 today and to my daughter who will walk the halls of middle school for the first time tomorrow when we go pick up her middle school schedule.
However, I decided to share the stories with these girls here on my blog so that I could also share them with friends and family. Many people who read this blog knew middle school Holly and had a tremendous impact on my life during my teenage years. I am who I am today because of the friends and family who encouraged me along my journey to keep my eyes of Jesus during those tough days of being a middle school girl.
These Sharpied memories I will share are ones that permanently marked my life with “rules to live by.”
Three decades ago when these events were happening, I didn’t know how significant the lessons I learned from them would be in my life. Now I know that each of those moments were teaching me what became important “rules to live by.” Rules that have helped me navigate life understanding that the moments of my life here on earth have eternal purpose for God’s kingdom.
The four stories I will share taught me these “Rules to live by” …
- Be quick to acknowledge the good you see in others, especially when others are pointing out the bad.
- Always offer forgiveness and grace to yourself and to others.
- Guard your heart. Don’t worry about gaining the attention of boys.
- Offer compassion before judging a person’s actions. Remember that it is likely they have a part of their life story you don’t know…and many times people act out of life’s heartaches and pains.
Ashlynn and Brooklynn, may God turn your life moments into Sharpied memories that will mark your life in such a way that your life in turn will mark others for good from the lessons you have learned on your life’s journey. May you enjoy reading these stories over the coming days and always be quick to learn the lessons God wants to teach you through the moments of your life.