Writing, or maybe I should say, journaling has been a beautiful place of retreat and reflection for me over the years. Not that all my journal entries are beautiful...some look more like verbal vomit, but there is a time for that as well. Better to end up on a page than on my family! Therefore, there are a few "missing" pages, burned somewhere, usually followed by a prayer of humility as I realized my attitude was the problem. When I look back through my years of journals, I am amazed at God's faithfulness and struck by how many miles we've traveled together over my relatively short life. He is a good God!
I am also struck by the amount of constant conflict I was in through my 20's and early 30's. Maybe it came from being a mom of small children and unable to complete a single thought for a dozen years! (That could drive anyone a little crazy!) But a few years back, I began to realize I was missing something. Peace. My "light-bulb" moment came when a friend said something about loving the songs we sing about peace in church. I asked her why those were her favorite because, honestly, they were NOT mine. She explained how peace was one of the sweetest things about the presence of God in her life. Hmm.... God's presence equaled peace. Nope. I hadn't experienced that one yet. I told her that when I sang those very same songs I thought those words meant the peace you'd get when you died. She was shocked and through her laughter she said, "You can have peace in life! It's not just at death!"
Here's the weird thing, I thought peace was the absence of fear in the face of death. I had personally been touched by this "peace beyond understanding" when I about died after Trey was born. When things were critical and I was being put under, I remember thinking that I didn't know who's voice I would wake up to... My surgeon's or my Savior's. And I was completely at peace, either way. (This is a whole other story, so another day!) I trusted God with my life and my death and God's peace was more real through that time than ever before! He took away any fear of death and I was ready to go home to Heaven. Obviously, I didn't die!
But why did I have such a lack of peace in my daily life? I was in such an internal conflict. I had an invisible civil war being waged inside and let's just say the "south" was winning way too often, wanting to keep it's slavery...and I was the slave. I knew God, but had little peace. What was my problem? It came back to grace once again. Now, when I read those journal entries, it's so clear how I continually went back to what I should be doing, how I should be behaving and how I never felt that I could measure up. I had missed the sweet, simple truth that God really loved me and desired to be with me. He was gracious to me, faults and all. God began to use Daryl's example of unconditional love to show me what grace looked like in ACTION, not just definition. I already knew the definition... I needed to experience it!
Jesus knows me, this I love!
When I saw these words one day, it struck a chord inside. Yes! This was true! This very day, my heart began to feel God's peace in a new way as I let this truth penetrate more than my head. It struck my heart sweetly. I went from God loved me and sent his Son now behave and be righteous to "You love me, Jesus. I believe this and I am so grateful! I love you back!" I began to believe he loved me...unconditionally. The war inside began to die down.
I still journal to help me figure out life, but I also write love letters to Jesus now. I am free to enjoy his presence in a whole new way because I sense his eagerness to be with me when I sit down to write. I am eager to be with Him, too. What peace!