Journaling, Spiritual Growth, The Spiritual Discipline of Journaling

Make Yourself a Plate

Your theology is very personal.img_4203

Lauren Chandler’s statement has stuck with me in a profound way. These words, my journals, hold records of my theology, my very intimate and deeply personal wrestlings with God. Documenting this continuous journey of working out my faith by pressing deeper into communion with God. They chronicle so much about my fears and faith, my doubts and belief. They are my Ebenezer Stones, my Songs of Remembrance.

I started my last journal 18 months ago with Psalm 40:5-

Many, Lord my God,
    are the wonders you have done,
    the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
    were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
    they would be too many to declare.

And what wonders those journal pages told. The wonder of a positive pregnancy test, the wonder of a great pregnancy and incredibly easy labor, the wonder of these first nine months of our son’s life.

What a treasure it is to go back and see all the answered prayers, to see God’s hand all over ever single page, between and over the lines. He is so faithful and these journal pages magnify His goodness in my life.

I ended my most recent journal with this prayer:

Thank you, Lord for being you, for being faithful when I am faithless – for being so incredibly merciful and good to me. I don’t deserve it at all. Thank you for all the wonders these pages hold, the wonder of new life, the wonder of new/renewed thinking, the wonder of being a momma to a precious and precocious little boy.  Many are the wonders you have done. Truly none can compare to you.

img_4202As I begin my new journal, I’ve decided to once again start with a Bible verse, this time Psalm 107:9 –

For he satisfies the longing soul,
    and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

This current season of life finds me greatly overwhelmed in the throes of mommy-ing and memory-making. I want to be present and filled with good things like joy and patience and peace and contentment, not depleted, deflated, defeated, worn, and emptied.

I think of John 21:12, when Jesus says to the disciples “Come and have breakfast.” It’s such a simple statement and yet it has such incredible meaning and power. Jesus invites us to His table. Like David invited Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth to dine at the king’s table as one of the king’s sons, Jesus invites us to God’s table as one of God’s sons and daughters. 

Jesus was cooking fish over a fire and asked the weary fisherman to come and partake. He wants to break bread with us, to fellowship and communicate with Him, to know Him. He comes to us in our everyday messes, our superbly unexciting ordinary moments, and asks us to feast at His table.

“Pull up a seat,” He says, “Take some fish and eat with me.”

He not only takes interest in their physical needs, they were weary and hungry from fishing unsuccessfully, but He also cares for their individual spiritual needs.

Come. Come rest your achy backs, come fill your growling stomachs, come feast on me – have your daily bread – drink from the well – have as much of me as you want!

Matthew 5:1-2 in the Message talks about how the disciples, the committed, climbed with Jesus up the hillside and there at the quiet place Jesus sat and taught. In this season of busyness, the season of diapering and clinging little arms, I’ve got to commit to do some climbing. Later in Matthew 5:6, Jesus says, ““You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.” It takes dedication and focus these days to lace up my hiking boots and climb with Him, but when I do, He’s there at the top of the hillside with a plate full of Himself. Come, come away with me for a little while and rest (Mark 6:31).

I’ve always loved the book of John and the account of how the beloved disciple reclined against Jesus at the Passover (John 13:23). Jesus invites us closer and closer. He is leanable, dependable, lovable.

Come and eat, He says. He is the Bridegroom welcoming us to the wedding feast: “He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love” (Song of Songs 2:4).  He allures us to His table, a table full of the best food (Job 36:16). He invites us into His arms so that we can eat and drink at His table in His kingdom (Luke 22:30). 

As I flip through these new blank journal pages, I’m full of anticipation. Anticipation for what is to come – the hikes together, the fish over fires, the learning on the hillside, the reclining, the knowing, the longings satisfied and the good-things filled soul.

Come, He says. Come and have breakfast. It’s a meal you don’t want to miss.

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