I haven’t had a journal for an entire month. I don’t mean I haven’t written in a journal, I mean I haven’t had a journal to write in. And we didn’t have the money to buy one so it just didn’t happen. If you know me, you know that this is bad news bears. Especially for a new mom who is traveling across continents and cities, from house to house, bed to bed, airport to airport for eight weeks straight.
There were camping trips and weddings, laughter and tears, studying and learning, sleepless nights and almost perfect days – and they all passed by without a place to be written for safe keeping. For a whole month. I survived. Barely. So today when Ryan surprised me with a journal that he earned by taking promotional photos for our friend who makes these journals… I just about died.
I can’t really explain it, but there’s just something in my soul that lets loose when I put pen to blank paper and then wrap it up in its cover of canvas or leather and loop it shut. Anyways, as soon as we put Olivia down for her afternoon nap, I entered into my happy place with a fresh journal on my lap, the Oh Hello’s Radio playlist streaming from iTunes, and a trusty blue-ink pen. Ahhh, therapy.
As soon as I started writing, it was like God just met me where I was at. I was reminded that I am still His child even though I have a child of my own. These past four months of motherhood haven’t been easy, and many of my days have me feeling overwhelmed, powerless, and totally uncertain about who I am and how I’m doing with this whole parenting thing. I mean, Olivia is like the sweetest, funniest, chillest, happiest, most beautiful baby ever, and I’m in absolute awe of her every single day but I still have plenty of moments where I feel like I’m just not made for this.
I’m constantly ambushed with worrisome thoughts about where I stand with God, do other people believe in this or just think we’re crazy, will I ever sleep again, will we ever have the finances to not have to constantly worry about being able to pay for groceries or pediatric visits or a birthday gift for my friend, am I trying to do too much, will this ever be easier, is this really what God wants, do my friends know that I love them, is our family disappointed in us, how am I doing as a mom and a wife, am I leading others like Jesus, and so on.
God started to speak to me about just being a kid again. His kid. He took all those burdensome things running through my mind and replaced them with some of His promises. So that’s what I wanted to share with you.
Directly from the fresh pages of my new journal…
We have no money, barely any food, but it doesn’t matter. We are so rich in the Kingdom, rich in community. We have nothing to strive for because we’ve already been found. There’s nothing more that we need to be full. On the days when we’re uncertain about our happiness, we can look to the Author and Perfecter of our story and find assurance in the promise that the worth He’s marked us with can’t ever be removed from our souls.
I’m not perfect, but I’m accepted. That acceptance can’t be taken away. No matter how I perform, where I go, or what I do. I am rich, no matter how much or how little I possess. Joy is accessible to me eternally and limitlessly. Love lives in me and makes me whole. Freedom is not something I can attain with my efforts. Freedom is the result of living a life of surrender to the One who made me. It’s not a prize for my achievements, it’s a gift that was extended to me before I took my first breath.
Why then do I so often live as if I’m chained inside a prison cell? Why do I sometimes walk as though a cloud of shame hovers over me? Why do I so easily forget that the Creator of the sky and the seas knows me by name? Why do I forget that He calls me beloved, and adopts me into His family where grace and peace freely reign?
This Father welcomes me, a child, with open arms over and over no matter how many times I betray or disobey Him. He seeks me when I’m lost. He’s with me when I’m alone. He’s faithful when I’m faithless. He’s love and hope and truth, and He chose me.
He chose you.
To walk freely and to know love down to the depths of your being.
There’s no test to enter into His Kingdom, no requirements to become His child, no interview to be His disciple.
We were created by love, and we can’t escape Him.
And you’d think that it wouldn’t be so hard for me to remember all this when I have a child of my own. To know how much I’m loved, cherished, and valued simply because I’m His child.
So next time you see me looking stressed or sleep deprived, remind me to think about the love God has for me, the joy He finds in me, and the forgiveness He’s given me and how it makes all the amazement I have towards Olivia look like a speck of dust in comparison.
I want to become like a child again. And I hope that my childlikeness will infect the world with the wonder of His free gift of love.
“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.”