Yesterday I got the chance to sit down with some very dear friends of ours and chat for a little while. The time or topic was not planned, but I do feel led to share.
The mom was sharing how she keeps a journal of prayers, devotions, and thoughts of her time with God. She caught herself flipping back through old pages and reading some of her thoughts/cries over the past year. It was amazing to see a prayer and then find the day that it was answered.... sometimes quicker and sometimes longer than we expect.
When I was in the youth group our women's leader encouraged us all the time to write down our prayers and keep a journal. I'm so glad that I took her advice during those years for the very same reason mentioned above.
I can never remember how in-depth I went on my situation at OBU so i'm going to share a little in this post because it is relevant. I met a guy the summer before my freshman year at OBU (and you'll even find that in my journal- ha) and we instantly started dating. Wise, probably my wisest decision ever. For what it's worth I really and truly thought it was from God and that's where I was supposed to be.
The two months of summer that were left before I moved off to college we spent traveling back and forth to visit each other. During one of those visits something happened that I never expected... and although most people do not know this - I broke up with him that same night. I told him that I was serious and ready to be where God wanted me, and with who ever He had for me. I was no longer interested in high school immature worldly-ness. If that was how our relationship was going to be then I wanted no part of it.
It is so interesting to see the strong independent person that I was in my journal before and going into that relationship, and then who I turned into as a result of that relationship. Somewhere deep inside that person is still there and she's starting to show herself... Praise the Lord! It's taken me quite some time to see how much the decision I made to stay in that relationship has effected me, but my God is good and so very patient.
After my talk with him that night he shared that he had the very same desire and it would never happen again. (Wishful thinking)
We met in June and (if you recall) my depression/break down started in about October, a few months later. What's odd is that when you flip back through the pages of my Journal there are entries in August of doubt and fear in my relationship with this guy. I don't remember it occurring that early, but you cannot deny what was written in ink.
There were doubts and questions of whether or not this is truly where God wanted me or if I had heard Him incorrectly. Something was obviously on my heart.
The entry that sticks out the most to me is one that I read the week my mother moved me home from OBU. I was hurting and lost. I was clingy and dependent. I was confused, depressed, and lonely. And although I never admitted it then.... I wanted to be rescued.
School had not ended yet, but she felt like it was no longer safe (for me or him) to be in the same town on the same campus. So she showed up without warning, loaded up the car, and moved me home. The next 2 weeks my parents drove back and forth (2 1/2 hours) every morning so that I could finish my semester.
I remember feeling guilt. Guilt that I hadn't tried hard enough - to make friends, to make our relationship work, to enjoy school away from home. But as I sat down to unpack my bags and get settled back into my room at home I found myself reading through the pages of my journal.
One of the first pages that I came to had this written on it - Megan, I chose these parents for you for a reason. I knew what I was doing and they are perfect for you.
I don't know that I could even find those words again in my journal today, but I will never forget that moment as I sat on my bedroom floor blown away. I was doubting their decision to bring me back to this place. I was having trouble trusting them to lead. But those words gave me a little bit of peace that day... and obviously more than I realized because I can't seem to forget it.
I haven't kept a journal since that time in my life. I tried, but the pain was so hard that I couldn't stand to take the time to write it out everyday. You remember and pay attention to more when you write it down, especially prayers. And I just couldn't do it during that time. Part of me wishes that I would have because it's so interesting to see a prayer and then see the answer on the devotional that you read the next day. We are so blind.... but He is so patient and continually there.
So today I am thankful for our Women's ministry leader during my time in the youth group and all that she taught me. I hadn't realized how much I learned and how stable my life was during those years because of that group... but thanks to my journal I can flip back and remember.
I'm sorry if this post was depressing. I just wanted to encourage you that God is there. In the midst of your pain and confusion... when You can't seem to find Him anywhere.... you will find Him on the pages of your journal. Answers and evidence are written all over it.
If you get a chance over the holidays, take some time to read back through your old journals and prayers. You'll be amazed at what you find. You'll be reminded of where You use to be, where He has brought you, and for those of you who may be going through a dry time - you'll be reminded of your first Love.
Thank You, God, for reminders. Reminders of where we use to be with You. Thank You for youth leaders who encourage and challenge us. Thank You for a church family. And thank You most importantly, for You... how You are constant, faithful, soveriegn, and ever so patient. When I can't seem to find it in my life, it's evident in the pages of my journal. Thank You. I love You.