Looking Back on God's Faithfulness
I go through seasons where journaling is a huge part of my life. Logically I know there are so many benefits and in some seasons it comes as naturally to me as brushing my teeth before bed. Other seasons it’s harder and I do it more of a practice than a desire. And then there are seasons where I just don’t do it at all. I have written how a few years ago I combined by prayer journal with my Bible and last year I mainly used my new Bible for all my personal journaling. I also keep separate prayer journals for future kids and others who are close to me.
On July 26, 2009 I started a prayer journal for my husband Chris. I didn’t know his name so called him “Ish” which is Hebrew for “man”. It is a name that became so dear to my heart that he is actually saved in my phone as “My Ish” to this day.
Although I started the journal as a prayer journal for my future husband, it wasn’t until I went back through it
and its sequels in December 2017 I realized in my brokenness, I had not only prayed prayers, but there was also a lot of doubt and self loathing weaved through the pages. I know the date because I was emotionally in a place to start the journal that would ultimately be the gift I gave to him a couple weeks before our wedding. The journal that is full of prayers and a few notes that to this day serve as reminders of the faithfulness of God. I am so thankful for journaling my prayers because looking back, God’s hand is so obvious even in my pain. The cover of the first journal for Chris says “The Story of Us…” on the outside, then “as seen through my eyes…” on the inside. This morning I went looking and found what I wrote to Chris on November 28, 2010 and lost my breath. Ten years ago I was in the middle of God taking me on a journey of healing through some past trauma. I was smack dab in the thick of it and only a few weeks later would enter a season of six months of constant tears as I allowed myself to feel things I had numbed for over a decade. November 28, 2010 was also Black Friday. I'm in awe as I sit here again on Black Friday reading the cry of my heart voicing that I did, in fact want to be married. “For so long I never said it out loud-even to Jesus, because I thought I don’t deserve it. And even now, I don’t but I still dream…”
As Chris and I are currently praying about where we are moving when our lease is up and weighing through the options, the words I wrote ten years ago voicing “I want my domain to be a home that is full of God. That is safe" for others, leaves me in awe of The One Who Loves Me Most.
You see thirty-three year old Danee thought she was just going to spend her life helping others fulfill their dreams. She had settled for helping others raise their kids and creating homes for other people, thinking it was as close to motherhood she would get. The idea of someone loving her for who she was was such a foreign concept. She believed she was “too broken to be loved”. I remember Black Friday ten years ago very well because I spent a few hours walking and crying at Kennesaw and Little Kennesaw Mountain asking God why I was too broken to be loved. I had been seeing a great guy and watched myself sabotage it like I had done in the past. I heard myself say and doing things as if I was watching a character in a movie, wanting to scream at her to just stop.
My anxiety at all all time high, although I had lived with it for so long I didn’t know it had a name. I thought it was normal and what everyone felt. I’m very thankful for the army of friends and counselors that gathered around me and loved me into healing. Along the way I know I wounded people as I lashed out in rage. Yesterday while reading “Defiant: What the Women of Exodus Teach Us about Freedom” by Kelley Nikondeha, I highlighted “suffering isn’t only sadness, also kiln-hot rage.” It resonated so deeply in my heart not only from personal experience but in light of the racial riots that have be so present in 2020. Since being married, God has loved me through Chris to get to the deepest wounds still hiding in my heart that trigger rage without warning. I am getting faster and faster at naming and processing when my feelings are lying to me and love that anxiety no longer has a home in my heart. It is an unwanted guest that when it comes knocking, I am armed, ready to fight it off. As I continued to read what I wrote Chris, I moved to November 28, 2010 and it ended with “I pray the day you realize you love me and your butterflies are a flappin you tell me.” Once again I am left speechless. You see, petty quickly I knew I loved Chris and felt God reaffirming to simply enjoy the journey without fear of how it may go and without trying to protect myself. It was the first time I was even attracted to a man where anxiety wasn’t present. I can’t explain how I knew I loved him and it was more than infatuation. I was also fine if I had fallen first. But then a few days after I told God I think I loved Chris, he was saying goodnight and told me he loved me. It was one of the most precious moments of my life as I learned to lean in and trust this man who is now my husband. What I didn’t know is he didn’t want to tell me he loved me. He worried he would scare me off because it was so soon. But God kept telling him to tell me. Little did we know that evening God was answering a prayer I prayed ten years ago. A prayer long since forgotten. The world is not easy and as a wise friend of mine wrote yesterday “living in faith is so much more than simply believing in a creator. It’s surrendering your life, your will, and your daily decisions to your creator. It’s relinquishing control. It’s letting go of your plans. It’s saying, “Your will, not mine.””
So wherever you are today I am praying that you so clearly see how The One Who Put The Stars Into Place is singing His love over you. I am praying for the areas in your life which feel scary and where anxiety is trying to take root or trying to make you think it will always be your companion. I am praying that you will so clearly hear the One Who Loves You Most in the areas you need to dig deep into trust. I am praying you will clearly hear Him speaking “surrender”. I am praying that as 2020 comes to an end, you are even more aware of how deeply loved by The Creator you are. I am praying that you allow Him to lead in you a way that ten years form now when you think back on 2020, His love for you overshadows all the pain and uncertainty this year has brought. And I am praying this in the beautiful name of Jesus, because through His death and resurrection, He made a way for deep relationship and forgiveness and life that our wildest dreams barely scratch.