Romans 15:4 – “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.”
I started journaling regularly sometime in the Fall of 2007 when I sensed the Lord shifting things in my life in a radical way. Writing helped me process the changes and made the Lord’s revelation tangible; the changes were no longer shifts in the wind that I could sense but not see. Writing also seemed to give my life significance and offered proof that the Lord really was moving and working in my life, and would do the same for others.
Soon, journaling became a precious time for me. As I neared the end of one journal, I anticipated buying a new one. At Barnes and Noble, I took my time selecting a journal with the perfect cover. When I traveled to work, I always tucked my journal in my bag so that if I had a thought during the day, I could write it down in the moment, or flip to a particular page if I needed encouragement.
Eight years later, I am grateful for this detailed record of my relationship with the Lord. I think I have about 20 journals, which have become a wonderful archive. There are certain journals that I do not like to read because they remind me of particularly difficult struggles. Once, I ripped up a journal and cut it into tiny pieces because the Lord said it was time to let go. Others, however, make me smile as I recall the hope, favor, and joy I experienced. One journal has a bright yellow cover that reflects that joy. Sometimes, when I’m writing, I’m reminded of something that happened several years before, and I dig up the journal, find the entry I recalled, and receive encouragement and confirmation for the present. Flipping through the pages, I bump into scripture that sustained me in rough seasons. There are pictures I doodled during prayer sessions, prophetic words from friends and strangers, friendships that sharpened me, times when I followed the Lord’s voice to talk to a stranger and ended up making a friend, prayers that were answered, dreams that came true, and powerful song lyrics that matched my circumstances. When I put all of these events together, observe the connections, and make note of the miracles, I am amazed at the testimony the Lord has created from my life and the shape that testimony continues to take.
I am grateful for the record because it is so easy to forget what has happened before. So many details happen in one day, let alone one month, one year, and one decade. How sad it is to forget the revelation of God and have no record of His faithfulness, generosity, and goodness. That’s why I record almost every thought, desire, dream, prayer, and answer I receive from Him. I don’t want to forget. I need to be able dig out a journal from Summer 2010 from the back of my closet and remember the miracles that launched my life in Washington, D.C. I need to be able to pull my journal from Spring 2013 off of my bookshelf and remember the events that catalyzed my move to Virginia Beach, Virginia. I need continuous confirmation of His faithfulness and honesty so that I do not doubt Him. I know that God does not change, and if I remember that He was faithful then, I will remain confident that He is faithful now.