Do you have a journal?
I began writing in a journal when I was 12, to record the events of an upcoming family vacation. I'd done a tiny bit of diary-writing before that, but nothing consistent. Since then, I've filled three and a half notebooks and who knows how many computer pages with events of life, miracles from God, lessons learned, and real words. Words that I can write because no one reads them. I don't have to proofread myself, or say words that might sound fluffy and fake. I love it! :-)
However, there's more reason for journaling than to simply vent my feelings or express my hopes and dreams. There's more to it than jotting down the ways God has led me, to make me realize at that moment how He is guiding. It's not just for the current; it's an investment for the future.
Occasionally, as I finish up an entry, I flip or click back towards the beginning and read words written days, weeks, and months before. Sometimes I even pull a box out from under my bed and read pages recorded in years gone by.
The result is the same every time: I am awed by the ways I have grown and the lessons God has taught me.
A few weeks ago, I scrolled through computer journal pages from December, January and February. Wow. Those three months were amazing ones. I realized just how much I had forgotten of the beauty, peace, and joy of that time in life. Here are a few excerpts to give you a peek:
January 1, 2012 - 11:53 a.m.
This blog post (some of my blog posts are actually journal entries).
January 2, 2012 - 8:40 a.m.
Filled. It's the perfect word for what I have experienced in the past few weeks. True, there have been ups and downs, but true to His promise, God has filled me--and is still in the process of filling. I'm sitting here on my couch, thinking of the night [three weeks before] when I was home alone. I experienced God's true peace, and it was the first time in a long time that I surrendered it all. I sat here just in front of the Christmas tree like I'm doing now. And now, I am back at last, filled and desiring more. God is so good. More than good--He's amazing!
January 7, 2012 - 2:51 p.m.
This week I've been discovering just how challenging it is going to be to live completely and fully for Christ--letting Him live through me. When you're back at home where everything is go, go, go… with often no chance to catch your breath, things tend to fall apart. Resolutions fail, schedules stretch, stress rises. It's definitely going to be a challenge. But I want it more than anything! At least, my head does. My heart… it's a little more prone to head the wrong direction. But God is faithful.
January 29, 2012 - 8:18 p.m.
This morning I had an extra-long devotional time, reading from Patriarchs and Prophets and Authentic Beauty. I am realizing more and more the shortness of the time we live in, and feel an intense urge to KNOW God. Really know Him. Time is so short!! I really want to learn to build my entire life around Him. I think I need to think more about what that will really mean for my life today. What do I need to give up in order to truly follow Him?
February 2, 2012 - 1:44 a.m.
Another blog post.
February 3, 2012 - 7:35 a.m.
Something is happening. And it's good. The elders' meeting I was invited to last night.... all about evangelism, doing something we've never done before in our church. Our Friday night youth meetings… all of us searching for meaning, purpose, connection. ____'s burning desire for service. Mr. ____'s burden for souls. My longing to do more. ____'s bold idea to scrap structure and do the work instead. The willingness of youth to actually attend prayer meeting. The realness of the people at GYC. ____'s three apologies, in a quest to draw closer to Jesus. Pastor Folkenberg's genuine appeals to win hearts in UCC. So much is happening, more than I've ever seen before. Surely Jesus is coming soon.... I want to be ready.
February 10, 2012 - 6:25 a.m.
I decided yesterday that we need a picture of Jesus in our office. All the work we do is for Him; why not behold His beautiful face every day as we work?? There is nothing else to remind us of Him. Or maybe I could simply put a picture of Him on my computer, then I could look at Him whenever I wanted. I just feel like the work I do is for Him but I don't think of Him as I do the work.
February 12, 2012 - 9:57 p.m.
Trying to comprehend the infinite love of my heavenly Father... I picture my own daddy. I picture dads of friends who I consider almost like my own. I think about how my heavenly Father is like that, only better. He loves me just as much, only more....
February 15, 2012 - 7:59 p.m.
Am I willing to be one of God's etceteras? That was an interesting challenge to me as I listened to one of Eric Ludy's Bravehearted Thots this evening. An etcetera. Not a somebody. Not someone whose name is known. Simply an etc. in the list of people who have done the most for God's cause. Am I willing?
Reading these kinds of words, I can't help but be re-inspired to follow Christ more than I ever have before. My heartbeat quickens, my brain begins running in a track. What must I do? How can I do it?
If you don't journal already, I encourage you, go find a notebook or computer notepad and write down what God did for you today. Then do it again tomorrow. And the day after. Your future self will appreciate it, and be changed because of your words today.
(Today's special blessing was supposed to begin with an R - I chose reading my journal. :-)