Friday, September 7, 2012

Happy New (journal) Year!

September will always be the start of a new year for me.  Back to school.  New pens and paper.  New clothes.

I don’t have any children still in school but as I’ve begun to put away my summer white pitchers and get out my box(es) of fall stuff, it still feels like something new is beginning:  my favorite time of year!

I’ve also begun a new journal – something I do almost once a year.  I use a blank book as I have my time in God’s word in the mornings to write down anything that speaks especially to me, verses I want to meditate on and prayers about what’s on my heart.


I especially like these journals (above) that I get for a good price at Walsmart – they are large, college-ruled and hard-back (a must for writing in your lap).

I love to be able to look back at what God has spoken to me through the Word, ways He has encouraged me when I’ve felt despairing, direction I’ve received when I needed it desperately and answers to prayer.  Especially answers to prayer.  Because sometimes it seems like God isn’t answering, doesn’t it?  I’ve found, in looking back at my old journals, that God was working in ways I couldn’t see then.  When I read the words I wrote from the vantage point of a few months or years ahead, I clearly see some of the ways He was at work behind the scenes


I was getting something out of my nightstand last month and found I could barely open the drawer because it was so heavy.  I realized that my stash of old journals had become a bit too much for that little drawer and I’d better find another spot to keep them.  Then of course I got sidetracked as I sat on the bed and began to read through my thought life over the last several years since we moved to Oregon. 

Here’s what I read:

~ God has faithfully led Jeff and I just as He promised He would.
     I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths
     I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make
     the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake
     them.  Isaiah 42:16

~ I am further from perfection than I used to think I was (ha!) and that’s a good thing to know about yourself.

~ There is not one problem, situation, relationship or responsibility that God is not more than able to handle.

~ I absolutely must have the Holy Spirit in authority over my thoughts and feelings.  They are not the boss of me.  He is.

~ I need to pray.  Don’t wait for more understanding about how God answers, how to pray with more faith or how in the world I can ever pray about all there is to pray about.  Just do it – pray.

~ Pride will always be my most formidable enemy.  Humbling myself over and over is the way to defeat it.  Just don’t ever ignore it.

~ God is doing something good in me – through pain and struggle and tough relationships – He is completing what He started  over 40 years ago. 

I’m reading Joshua now in the mornings.  In chapter 4, God tells the Israelites to take stones from the middle of the dry riverbed (after He had cleared a path for them to cross into the promised land) – proof of the miracle He did for them – and use the stones as a memorial to themselves, their children and you and me of how faithful He is to His promises.  It made me wonder what a memorial stone would look like today.

I guess my journals are kind of like my ‘memorial stones’.  They remind me of who God really is and that He does what He promises.  They remind me of my own bankrupt condition.

I recommend keeping a journal – thoughts, prayers, study notes, questions… anything that helps you remember.

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