This past weekend my husband Rob took our two youngest daughters, Madison and Alexis, camping which meant I had a lot of alone time to spend with the Lord. I felt inspired to read my old journals, which I have done a couple of other times in the past. This time was different though as I am seeing life differently and understanding my life with God in a new light. I have 10 spiritual life journals going back to when I was 17 years old and left home to do traveling youth ministry with REACH THE STORY OF MY LIFE. I call them spiritual life journals because I document my spiritual life like I am now doing in this blog. My entries are focused on my relationship with the Lord, where I am spiritually and what God is doing in my life. It took me 11 hours to read through these journals. It took so long because I did it prayerfully. The Lord helped me to see my life through His eyes and it was beautiful. As well, the Lord went deeper into healing parts of me through this process. I wept with the Lord, laughed with Him and melted into His love and peace. It was an amazing experience! One that has changed me and brought me into a deeper understanding of who I am, who God is, and how much I desperately need Him.
Reading through the journals in one day gave me such a wonderful snapshot of the significant and difficult times in my life where God sustained me and filled me with hope and faith. He was my constant, my rock, and my hope especially in the midst of dryness and darkness. Even in the midst of my great sin He never abandoned me, even though I abandoned Him at times. He never gave up on me even though I was tempted to give up on myself. I understand so clearly that the life I lived was the life I had to live in order for God to get me to where I am today. My trials and sufferings have taught me that I am nothing without the Lord. I learned that He is everything and that I am so dependent on Him because I am weak. My life has taught me that I am powerless over my own brokenness and sin but God is not. He has transformed me so much. I am often lost for words and am in complete awe at how beautiful and amazing God’s ways are. The more the Holy Spirit opens my eyes to see God as He truly is the more and more I am in awe. I am a new creation and am beautifully and wonderfully made. I am an image of the One whom I love so much and am in awe of. It has been a long, painful and arduous journey thus far but now I see that it was all worth it. Being given the pearl of great price is a gift but it still costs us something. The Lord took me down paths that were hard, painful and dark but He allowed it to teach me how much I need Him and how weak I really am. He allowed it so I could be free from the bonds of sin. So my soul could be free to fly with Him and so I could live a life of love.
One thing that stood out for me while reading my journals was how boy crazy I used to be. I would fixate my attention and energy onto two people. I always had a girlfriend whom I was really close with and I would always have a huge crush on a boy or several at the same time. I always hated this about myself and would constantly pray for the Lord to change me. Little did I know at the time but the Lord actually created me this way. He created me with a desire for great intimacy, to be known and to fully know. He created me with a passion for relationships. Once I realized that other people would never be able to fill these desires I turned to the One who could and became fixated on Him. The Lord created me the way He did so I would become obsessed with Him (which I am), seek Him with passion (which I do), and be zealous for Him. Once the Lord revealed this to me I laughed and laughed. I found it so funny that this part of me that I used to be so embarrassed about was actually a gift from God. It is amazing to finally see this truth about myself through His eyes. This quality in me is now rightly ordered and my affections are for God and not others. I am no longer boy crazy, I am God crazy!!
As I was reading through the first couple of journals I could not even remember the girl I was when I was 17/18 years old. She is so different from who I am today and it was weird reading about her like she was a fictional character in a novel. For some reason the truth of this hurt and I wept before the Lord. The Lord comforted me and told me I needed to let go of who I was. The Lord spoke to my heart saying, “Detach from her Rebecca, just as you need to detach from all things in the world. She is a part of your story but she is not who you are today. You are no longer the confused young girl you were when you were 17. You are no longer the sinner you were in your 20’s. You are no longer the angry women you were in your 30’s. I have taken away your confusion and given you clarity. I have taken away your sins and made you dependent on Me and Me alone. I have taken away your anger and replaced it with My peace and love. You are a new creation, you are My beloved child, and you are the spouse of my only begotten son. That is your identity!! That is who you are!! You have a story but you are not that story. You must detach and transcend beyond your story. Your story holds you to the earth and keeps you captive there”. As I was crying and pondering these truths the Lord was revealing to me I felt so vulnerable and I told the Lord so. He asked me why and through weeping I told Him that I felt naked because there was nothing left of me but who I truly am and that no one has ever seen me this naked. My Jesus reassured me that He has always seen me naked and that I need not feel ashamed of my nakedness. I then thanked the Lord for being the one safe place where I could be so naked and not feel judged or condemned but to feel only love and life. It is the same vulnerability and nakedness I feel whenever I bear my life and my soul to everyone who reads my blog. I am laying my life down for all to see. I am not ashamed of my nakedness and my weakness for it truly is in my weaknesses that He is strong. Now I can truly cry out and proclaim that I rejoice in my weaknesses for without them I never would have become like a baby in the arms of my Father. Completely and utterly dependent on Him to meet all my needs and keep me safe. I am like a blind women who needs to be led by her Father into all things.
Life is different now that the Lord has given me the grace to detach from my story. It is much easier to live in the present moment I have a present for you!! when I don’t have my story playing in my heart and mind. It is much easier to stay in the present moment when I have abandoned myself to the Lord and have put my trust in Him. It is much easier to see my neighbor with love when I see them for who they are and recognize Jesus in them. It is much easier to avoid sin and do what’s right when I am in the present moment where the Lord provides for me. Life with the Lord is just easier I find. I still have my crosses to bear don’t get me wrong and I still sin all the time but I’m walking through life with the Lord as my constant companion. This knowing, this union, is deeper then it used to be and so because of this union with God in my soul I can actually bear greater crosses, recognize deeper levels of sin, and give more of myself in love to others. It’s a beautiful thing, the work of the Lord in our souls!!
The last thing that really stood out to me while reading through my spiritual life journals was how similar my prayers were throughout my life. At the age of 18 I was saying the same things to the Lord that I say to Him now. Although the words are very similar the depth of understanding and the ability to live out my prayers are greater now. There has been a consistent deepening of faith, hope and love throughout my life. Greater trust in and abandonment to God. Deeper healing and transformation. This is what the Lord does and if I did not go back and read my journals I probably would not have seen this progression so clearly. God is so amazing!!
In 1995 when I was 18 years old and on REACH I wrote:
Dear Lord Jesus. Things seem really messed up right now and I feel so frustrated, it’s driving me nuts. I’m messing up so much in so many area. Doing things I should not be doing and not doing things I should be doing. I know I need to persevere Lord but right now I really just want to give up and not try anymore. Lord God I just want to start all over again. Forget about all that has happened and turn again to You for strength. I ask Your forgiveness for all the stupid things I have done lately and I ask that You would welcome me back. Lord God help me to have a good attitude for the upcoming week. Help me to be closer to You so I can hear your voice and know what Your will is for me. Help me to love myself the way that You love me and to see myself through Your eyes. Give me a thankful heart for all that You have given me. Help me to see You in the people around me. Amen.
In 1997 when I was 20 years old and well immersed in a life of sin I wrote:
Separated from my heart’s desire by the bonds of human flesh. I desperately seek the truth but find only confusion surrounded in darkness. Where will I find what I am seeking for? For how long must I wander aimlessly through the dark halls in this maze called life? Who will answer my questions so that the clouds of confusion will finally disperse? These are the questions that plague my very soul. My heart is pounding within me reminding me of the limits of flesh and blood. With this realization I am left frustrated and tired for I believe my efforts to find the truth will end in disappointment. Will I ever find peace and tranquility? Where do I belong? I have this haunting feeling deep inside that frightens me as well as lures me. What is it that haunts me in my dreams and in my waking hours? Despair takes over as I realize that the more I probe the questions in my heart and search for the truth that haunts me the more confused I become. Then I sigh and find myself still separated from my hearts desire by the bonds of human flesh. Then I cry myself to sleep.
In 2001 when I was 25 years old I wrote:
To Jesus. It has been a long time since I have talked with You. To get back into prayer time is going to be hard for me so can You please help me. I need to straighten up my life but I know I can’t overwhelm myself with too many changes. I need Lord to be whole and be healthy, happy and content. Have patience with me Lord as I do some self reflection. I need to be emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually healthy. (I then went on to do 6 pages of self-reflection/examination).
In 2010 when I was 34 years old I wrote:
Oh Lord you are so beautiful. I worship and adore you. I love all your ways. I trust only in You. I know You will lead me and take care of me. I know I am in Your hands. I know Your mercy and compassion will save me. My life is Yours. Give me the grace Lord to lovingly and joyfully accept Your will for me every moment. Transform my mind, my heart and my soul. Make my desires conform to Your desires. All I want is to love, honor, and serve You all the days of my life. Please accept my life as a a sacrifice for Your glory and honor Lord. Teach me wisdom and truth. Replace my selfish heart with a selfless heart. Amen.
In 2014 when I was 38 years old I wrote:
Where do I begin Lord? So much is in my mind and it is flooding, overflowing. For 3 years or more I have been in a dessert, so dry and painful. All I can do is cling to You Lord Jesus. You led me to the Father whose love I have come to know and rely on. My faith has strengthened and hope has kept me alive. I long for You night and day. I am drowning in my own sin and weakness. Lord I have nothing but You and I am nothing without You.
In 2018, just 5 months ago, at the age of 41 I wrote:
Lord God I commit myself to You. I dedicate my fast to You and do it for love of You. I desire to be closer to You. To love You with all my being, my mind, my heart, my body, and my soul. I have drifted from Your love and protection and I desire for You to forgive me and welcome me into Your loving arms once again. Transform me Lord through this fast and throughout lent. Transform my mind and my heart so that the words that come from my mouth reflect Your goodness in me. The words that come out of my mouth are so vile and sinful. Please Lord deliver me from this!! I do not want to speak this way any more. It come from a corrupt mind and heart. From anger, resentment, hatred and impatience. Please fix me Lord. Amen.
My entire life has been a journey from sin to saved, slave to free, broken to healed, self to God. And what a journey it has been and will continue to be. May God continue to transform me and fulfill the desire of my heart, which is to be united with Him forever. United in His will and in His love. I pray these same prayers for all of you. May you all find the only One who can fulfill the deepest desires of your hearts. Your desires to be healed, whole, forgiven, and free. Jesus, we trust in You. Amen.
I came across this song a few weeks ago and just the other day the words hit me hard. This song is my new anthem song!! It sums up my life so well. Enjoy!!
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