I bought this journal in a bookstore while I was in the Netherlands. It wasn’t just any bookstore; it was an old church that was renovated into a bookstore. My two favorite things combined, and in it I found a beautiful, small, blank notebook waiting to carry my stories.
When I first held this journal in my hands, I never could have predicted what stories would fill the pages. I never could have imagined the growth that could come from the six months of life recorded in the tiny book.
I’ve been journalling ever since July of 2008, filling hundreds and hundreds of pages of words, pictures, ideas, quotes, and memories, but this journal was the most difficult one to write thus far. It was in this journal I had to take a good, long, difficult look at myself. I did not like myself on the first page. I quoted the song “Be My Escape” as I wrote:
“There’s no way of knowing where to go, but I promise I’m going because I gotta get out of here . . . I’m begging You to be my escape.” I am coming off of a long, stressful, anxiety-filled summer . . . I don’t like who I am and I don’t know how to get “me” back. I feel like I’ve de-raild and I want to get back on track. Teach me, Oh God, to live into the truth that “the beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair.”
Through several months of surrender, heartache, celebration, exploration, and growth, I have learned more about what the beauty of grace is. I’m working on rooting my identity in Christ alone . . . not in relationships, not in fear, not in grades, not in a job, not in the number of likes I get on Instagram . . . only in Christ is my hope found.
I found this journal somewhere I never could have expected. When the architects were building the church, I’m sure they never imagined that it would someday be a bookstore. I had designed and dreamed where I would be at this point in my life, but grace swept me off of my feet and brought me to places I never could have predicted. I believe that God is redeeming all things; I’m excited to see where grace leads me next on this journal of redemption.