“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior”
“These handwritten words in the pages of my journal confirm that from an early age I have experienced each encounter in my life twice; once in the world, and once again on the pages”
– Terry Tempest Williams
“The nicest part is being able to write down all my thoughts and feelings; otherwise I might suffocate”
I’m coming down to the last few pages of my current journal. The journal that Hawk handmade me for my 22nd birthday. The journal he expressed his love to me in by sewing the pages together and gluing them into the spine and picking out a fabric cover he thought I’d like. The journal he told me “I love you” before he ever even spoke the words themselves. The journal where the first page is his birthday letter to me, signed with an informal – Hawk. The journal where I knew the dash had so much hope for so much more. I think for those reasons, this will always be my favorite journal.
Underneath the beautiful black and white damask cover was a color of emotions and memories. What began as a dash, quickly and deeply developed in its pages as our like, our love, our passion, our tales of falling in love – and the realization he was most assuredly “The One” for me.
Some pages in between the pretty cover are not so pretty. Some have tear stains. The tear stains of the struggles of the long 11 months we spent apart during Hawk’s deployment. Those pages are the hard ones to read. The raw, intense emotions I felt when he left…and continued to feel throughout the long months where 5,550 miles separated us.
And yet, it also holds copies of some of my most favorite emails and text messages sent during our separation. It holds the story of being reunited in London – the story of Steven’s joyous return home, of how he got down on one knee right in the middle of the airport and asked me to be his wife and my enthusiastic “Of course I will!” It holds the story of our engagement, our wedding, our honeymoon. The story of getting our first apartment together and building our first house. It holds the first year of our marriage. This journal holds the story of my life. And all of its gloriousness and raw ups and downs.
Now approaching my 25th birthday, I reach the last few pages of this beautiful damask journal tenderly created and crafted by my love. These three years have been so sweet. So hard at times, but oh, so sweet.
This journal also holds another love story.
In the middle of every single journal entry, every line of words, every space between the letters of the words, was God’s faithfulness. His pen swept across the pages of my life as I chronicled fears, prayers, desperation, and joy. His ink, His fingerprints cover each and every page – because while this journal holds the tale of Hawk and my love story – it also holds the love story of God’s pursuit of me.
The first love story between Hawk & Her was just a mere fraction, a mere glimpse of the ultimate love story between me and my God – Christ and His people. Those tear stained pages? Those were the days where He literally carried me through one of my impossibles (Hawk’s deployment) and He blessed each day — At the end, I knew we survived, and yes, even thrived, all because of Him.
When I wandered – He brought me back.
When I strayed – He bought me back.
These journal pages hold deep wrestlings with God. Transparent moments of surrender. The most intimate prayers and petitions of my heart and the confessions of my soul. It holds powerful moments of intimacy and encounters with my God and pleas from my bones for more of Him. Because there were pages where He was all I had. Pages where I needed more than anything to cling to my Jesus. It holds the words of my struggles, of my lack of faith, and unbelief, and yet it is a testament to His great faithfulness. His faithfulness to never divorce His beloved. His faithfulness to bring His children back, to restore them to His Presence.
My journal is proof of God’s faithfulness.
This journal is my story with my God. This journal is my reminder of who He is and all He’s done and who I am in Him.
As I come to these law few pages in my favorite journal, it’s bittersweet. It holds so many wonderful memories and lessons and life experiences. Yet I’m excited for the continuing romantic saga in my new journal. I have my eyes wide open to see how God takes me in a deeper knowledge – a deeper love for Him throughout its fresh new pages. I know He will continue to weave His love story deeper and stronger into the years of our marriage and my marriage covenant with Hawk.
I have a feeling I will revisit these sweet journal pages to remember these precious beginning years, but I’m also looking forward to giving God this fresh new “life” page and continuing to let Him write His love story in my life.
Because He’s the very best author I know.
This is what you do when you journal. You’re recording God’s grand, epoch-spanning redemptive story as it unfolds in your limited, temporal sphere of existence here on earth. Your journal has the potential to record the continuation of the Holy Spirit’s work in our world!