I have just finished yet another journal. I cannot help feeling satisfied with myself when I completely fill a journal’s pages with my thoughts, feelings, fears, anxieties and tales of life. I started journaling when I was in my third year of college, I remember going to Walmart and picking up a simple black bound journal. My journal is not like a diary, I don’t record my daily actions and interactions instead I journal my feelings and worries. In a sense it is like my prayers, the inner workings and meditations of my hearts. At times it is almost a conversation between God and myself. I am thankful I began journaling, it has given me a safe space to lay out my heart, it is raw and incredibly blunt. The praises, the fear and even the anger that rest on those pages is raw and very real–coming straight from my heart to rest safely on the pages of my journal.
I believe I have now fully filled three journals since that initial journal. Occasionally I go back and glance through my journals; I look at the concerns that plagued my heart, I see praises when I remembered to be thankful rather than ungrateful. But going through these journals shows me something I too often forget, God’s hand on my life. Reading through my journals allows me to see my struggle, my growth, my transformation and reminds me of the people I have loved, the people I have lost and that God is truly involved in every aspect of my life.
This morning I have just finished my third journal, the one that I began while sitting in the airport over a year ago waiting for a plane to take me to Scotland. Within the pages of that journal I see just what an incredible year it was. I started that journal embarking on a new and exciting journey, with my heart somewhat open yet a bit naive. What occurred throughout this year was something I was not entirely prepared to handle, I experienced intense spiritual warfare, doubts, fears, failures, homesickness, anger at God. But I also experienced healing, love, friendship, thanksgiving and countless blessings. I have finished that journal in a spot that I never believed I would be in. God has transformed my heart and my life. After a year of such struggle and suffering in my relationship with God–I have come to a place I have never been with God. My heart has been opened to the world again and realistically opened fully to God again. I ended this journal with hope, peace, love and joy in my heart.
The journal I have been using for the last year is white with gold lettering on the front that boldly declares: “Live Every Day With Intention.” I know there were many days that I did not live with intention, instead choosing to merely exist. But if I think of the collective days, all the days that have added up to create a year, I truly think that I have learned to live life with intention. I have strayed and fallen off the path that I have been set on, but I have been reminded countless times that I should live with intention and my intention should be to add a little bit more love into this world. I knew God whispered Scotland to my heart and I am thankful that I said yes. For if I hadn’t, I would never have fallen in love with myself, with friends, a beautiful place, with my God and even with another person. If I had let fear keep me from saying yes then I would have missed out on one of the biggest adventures of my life and I would most likely still be locked away in my tower–hidden behind incredibly strong walls.
This year has been one of discovery and utter transformation. I am thankful for all that I have endured and all the people I have met and loved. This journal will go on my bookshelf and will always be looked at with true fondness, the journal of the year that my life changed forever.
“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
There were so many times that I doubted and there will be countless times to come that I will continue to doubt. But I like to think of that 21 year old girl, brokenhearted, scared and unsure who sat at her desk in Clinton, SC and submitted her acceptance of offer to the University of St. Andrews, believing that God would fulfill what was spoken to her. I think of her and I see that despite all my fears I am still capable of stepping out in faith and believing that God was with me, keeping me–wherever I may go and will never leave me until she has done all she has promised me (Genesis 28:15).
What a year it has been. I knew I was called to Scotland and so I went, unsure of what God was going to reveal to me, but I went in faith and so I shall leave the UK in faith. This year has truly been the most incredible gift.
Peace, Love, Joy and Blessings–Margaret