23 Jan

I’m sure I’ve written about my journaling before. I use it as a way to pray. Yes I’m in conversation with the Lord at other times too, but this is a dedicated way which works best for my practice. Up until recently I used the journal and time of daily engagement, sharing with God everything and anything, petitioning and questioning. I put it down after a series of bad choices that let go of who I really am and didn’t stop to think that this was one more. Not intentionally and certainly not desired, putting aside my journal created a space to let go of God a little. Reworking the phrase let go and let God.

More recently I traveled to 6 countries in 2.5 months and took that journal with me. I fully intended to pick my pen up again, just as I had in the 20 months before. The first country I visited I wrote a little, dabbling in sentences, not forming more than a few pages total. However, I found that with no responsibilities, no schedules, and no “things to do,” I spent a good time of dedicated prayer walking to and fro, sipping coffee, people watching, making the bed and getting into it. I didn’t think about the journal much and when I did, my hand didn’t feel ready to write. For 7.5 weeks I carried that journal around, not removing it from my bag more than 10 times. Between my 5th and 6th country I had some time in California. It was the Thanksgiving holiday and everyone from my immediate family was going to be there (if you know my family, it’s not often we’re all in the same place anymore), so mom was instant I not be away.

After the break from suitcase living, there was an opportunity to visit one last country before Jesus’ birthday and the new year, so I jumped. I boarded my 12th flight in 9 weeks and left my journal behind. While packing, I thought about the journal, deciding against it because of it’s scarcity in the previous weeks and the room I needed in my pack. Turns out I had more than enough room and still didn’t throw it in there. Not worth mentioning I continued to carry around a to go pack of 20 Clorox wipes about the size of my journal that I never used either, returning them to CA just as they had left. It took about 2 nights in my new place of residency to want my journal. I was briefly sad over the decision I made, mourned the thought of printed prayers I could be partaking in, and even looked for a new journal. I was in no rush to find a new one though, after all I have a perfectly good, barely dented journal at home (two or three if I’m honest) and I didn’t particularly like the country branded ones I found in the shops where I was.

It wasn’t until my last hotel, 2 nights before I went home, where I was moved so much to write that I tore up an extra brown paper bag gifted to me by an incredible art shop and made my own 8 page journal. I used the crafted journal not to engage normally with God like I would have in the past but instead to explore opportunity and make a list together of things wanted out of life. We spent a good twenty minutes and came up with a rough draft, starting a pin point of 17 things to cross off. Yes some of them are mainly of my desire like becoming a stunt driver or renting out an amusement park but I believe others are rooted in the will of God like opening free animal clinics or owning an Airbnb (or few). Sure, one may think that owning an Airbnb would be a solo desire, but I trust the place would be a pillar of introduction to Christ and a way for people to share His glory.

This list felt good to produce and it was something I had never truly done before. I’m not a list maker, a calendar/book keeper, or a “to do” kind of gal. In fact one time I made a plan for the week and nearly every day had something penned in and every time one of those things came up on the list, they got cancelled or postponed. That was 13 years ago now and I haven’t attempted anything like it again. This new list of new possibilities produced desires and remembrance of enrichment (I just hope the majority of them don’t get cancelled or postponed like the last). I looked at the list and the world I wanted to create for myself and then began writing this. Reflecting on all that had happened in the past 3 months, the past 3 years, the past 3 decades, and became hopeful.

The intimacy I’ve had with Christ and the things I’ve seen Him do in this season alone brought a stronger desire for strength to carry out His will. It’s definitely not an easy thing to do, to love everybody always, to connect authentically with people in no matter how short a time you have, or find the ways of engagement that allow for strangers to know they’re purposedly created and specially loved, but it’s on my list of things to do. I know that this type of list comes with set backs and challenges, heartbreaks and mourning, difficulties that will shake the inner most parts of my being while posing devastating questions I’ll continually learn to surrender but I also know that it is the most fulfilling, the most enriching, and the most rewarding type of life I can live. I pray this list will keep developing as I continue to grow in my relationship with Christ, that the journaling of my heart will be a record of His glory. What He chooses to do with that and how He brings it about only leaves me asking one thing. Lord have mercy and grant me Your grace to say yes every time You ask of something. May I mourn properly over circumstances and past decisions, while rejoicing in the confirmation of Your love. Help me to stay in hope that every little thing is going to be alright, instead of making more choices that leave You behind. In Your precious name I pray Jesus. Hallelujah, amen!

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