I started journaling in junior high. The entries were pitiful and embarrassing…as was my junior high existence. Perhaps that is why I didn’t want to document it and found, instead, that detailing the events of that day’s syndicated Little House on the Prairie was more worthy of description.

I wish I were kidding. But I’m not. If you were to bust through the lock of those tiny journals {with barely a dozen lines per page} – you would find what Ma and Pa were up to that day…all documented in careful handwriting and an organized rotation of brightly colored pens.

Eventually I moved to writing about my own life…who I loved {which changed, it seemed, on a weekly basis} and what God was doing in my heart. I love it now that I have those documentations. I can watch Ma and Pa any old day of the week and catch up on their life. But without the scribbling of my high school journals, I can’t remember what pushed and pulled within my heart and how I began to come into my own relationship with Jesus.

Those words on a page are precious to me.
{And at times, still embarrassing.}

As many people do, I had my whole life planned out when I graduated from high school, and it included meeting my husband in college and marrying him the summer after graduation. It was standard practice where I attended, and I saw no reason why I shouldn’t fit in with standard practice. I’d be a housewife – a pastor’s wife, actually – and we’d have two well-behaved children and possibly a dog. And I would spend my days organizing potluck dinners and welcoming people into my home.

So you can imagine how, when I reached my late twenties, and I was not married – or even dating – nor did I have a dog, the journaling picked up speed. My books moved from the tiny generic locked versions to giant 8×11 spiral bound books that I pored over every night, writing down the deep cries of my heart.

God and I walked a lot of territory in those journals.

I wrote in promises from Scripture and wept as I cleared out the ugly in my heart, begging for a husband and in him, the answer to my deepest longing and prayer. I wrestled and praised and questioned and thanked and lived life from my heart to the page.

I went through dozens of those massive books, hauling them back and forth to work, sometimes writing on breaks and all during my lunch hour. Every breath, it seemed, transferred into script on a page.

And then God answered my prayer. He sent Ryan to choose me, love me as Christ loves the church, and make me his wife. My heart soared.

And my pen seemed dry.

The journals that I opened dozens of times each day sat on the shelf and my cheeks would pink with embarrassment each time I opened them and realized that perhaps a week had passed since I last wrote. My heart panicked, as I thought of the territory I’d covered with God in that week…territory I’d not documented. Answers to prayer, lived with Ryan, that I’d not preserved on page.

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I felt like a failure. This was how I had always known to document my faith and I’d stopped. Had my faith stopped with it?

One night, long after Ryan had fallen asleep beside me, I tossed from one side to the other, recalling a text conversation I’d just had with one of my friends who was in a prolific journaling season of her own. I’d celebrated with her that she’d found 25 pages of material to write that day – and then felt tears slide onto my pillow as I tried to remember what I’d done that day besides chores.

I whispered to God in the darkness,
“Am I failing You because I’m not journaling?
Help me.”

 

And He kindly whispered back No…you’re not failing, my sweet girl. This is a new season for you. You document your faith in new ways. Pictures, blog posts, scrapbook pages…and some things may not be preserved past the moment, but that makes them no less pivotal in that moment. This is your life. It’s different in every way – including how you preserve it. It doesn’t make you lesser. It makes you new.

I still love to journal and look forward to a season of life {someday} when my commute is shorter and we aren’t trying to sell houses and the schedule contains more free time…and perhaps I can begin to document more fully.

But for now, I celebrate being a new creature.

A wife. Redeemed and restored. Enjoying answers to prayer. And free to live in a new way. Not a right vs. wrong way. Just a new, and lovely way. 


Bekah 2

Bekah Shaffer wears many hats throughout the day, serving as a wife, writer, blogger, radio producer, and commuter. But under the hats, she's a redeemed and restored daughter of the Most High King. She loves life with her husband, after waiting 34 years to be married, and she loves to scrapbook, cook, make memories and point others toward the Lord!

Find Me Online: www.bekahsbits.blogspot.com 

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