“There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you.” Maya Angelou
Glancing back through the years, as far as my memory can take me, I have deeply loved Jesus. From a very young age Jesus saved me, and through the years of my life a connection with Him has always been constant.
But during the awkward phase of middle school Jesus stirred my heart to a new level. I remember the night clear as day. There in my room I opened up my first journal and expressed my new commitment to Jesus, to deny my cross and take up His. That night I surrendered my life to living sold out for Jesus and sharing my life with Him through the pages of journals. Since that night of middle school, I have spent hours pouring my life before Him in the pages of journals. For 14 years I have written almost daily. I write because writing my prayers, thoughts, and life out on pages heals my soul in an unexplainable way. Writing connects me to the realities of this life. Writing opens the door for God to pour forth His deep love & truth into my world and alter my perspectives.
Writing. It’s an addiction. I feel lost when a day slips by and the words of my heart are not penned inside the safe haven of my journal. Page upon page I write, throwing my heart’s cry before my Creator.
My younger years of writing were often filled with silly fears, hopes for the future, and endless possibilities. In youthful zeal I wrote prayers about future hopes and desires. Several journals are filled with sappy words of love-struck wonder over my first (and only) handsome boyfriend, now husband, Branden— the boy who stole my heart with his witty humor and passionate fire for Jesus. Those youthful nights of my life were spent detailing my deep love & desire to marry at the young age of 20. Nine years of my journals were filled with deep abiding love and affection for my Savior, prayers of big dreams and tiny problems.
Then the corner turned, where the last 3.5 years my journals have been filled with my laments.
In the Greek, to lament means, “to cry aloud.” Lamentations is a tiny book of the Bible many seldom hear about. The book of Lamentations is the author’s (most likely Jeremiah’s) personal account of his suffering during the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. In the 5 poems that make up Lamentations, the author expresses his grief and sadness in a somber tone,For all these things I weep; Tears flow down my cheeks. No one is here to comfort me; Any who might encourage me are far away. 1:16 My tears flow endlessly; They will not stop Until the Lord looks down From heaven and sees. 3:49-51
Amidst his dark emotions, he stays focused on the never-changing character of God. The author has tasted sorrow yet he clings to hope, by faith. So it is with my soul–to cling to hope, by faith, as the soul is afflicted in sorrow.I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, The taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed. I remember it all—oh, how well I remember— The feeling of hitting the bottom. But there’s one other thing I remember, And remembering, I keep a grip on hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; They are new every morning; Great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, To the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly For the salvation of the Lord. 3: 19-21
Oh, how the author of Lamentations is teaching us that we cannot ignore, pretend,or deny the sorrow and suffering in our lives. We must be courageous enough to walk through the deep trenches of stinging pain to come out on the other side. But know, on other side is where we find more hope and more Jesus!
Here I am tonight, cozied up next to the fireplace where I sit amongst some of my current journals full of laments. Some spiraled, some leather bond, others torn and tattered, and others bright and new. Each journal holding a piece of my heart. Page upon page laced with words written to my God over my journey filled with heartache and pain.
My fingers slowly run down the lines of pages as I retrace memories. It is here in these pages my story sits. Struggling to remember my past years I research my own life hidden behind the pretty covers of my journals.He is calling my to open up the pages I have hidden away.
Through the tear-stained, crinkled edges of the pages a beautiful anthem of His love and faithfulness sings out. It was and is my Savior holding me, the Spirit praying through me.
Here on the blog I will share snippets of my own laments, journal writings that unfold my pain of grief, chaos, suffering, loneliness, obedience, victories, faith, and hope over the last years.
As the author of Lamentations opened his heart to the readers, I will attempt to do the same over the next few weeks on this blog.
This is my story of daring to hope.
Personal journal entry–June 26th, 2011
“Lord, the only way to express all that’s within me is to write. I can’t verbally articulate my words, but I can write my soul out onto the pages of this journal. It is in the confines of this journal I am safe. You hear me. You hold me. You allow me to cry, to hurt, to wrestle, to work out my feelings and I know you still love me.”
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