Long before my husband came along… before the house payments… before the babies… before the worries about insurance and work and laundry and housecleaning and homework and car repairs and unexpected medical diagnoses, there was journaling: long, quiet hours spent at coffee shops counters with a legal pad and paper.
For five dollars, I could sit at the counter, order the $2.99 breakfast special, drink unlimited cups of java and write.
I’d outline plans for the day. “Pick up diet Coke for Christmas party. Get Mac Ruby Red lipstick to match your new scarf!”
I’d write about my plans for my upcoming script sales. Set VCR to tape Friends so I can outline the episode as a sample for my own show.
I’d write copious lists of how I’d decorate my ideal starter home. Pastel paint in every room … purple velvet couches to match matted Matisse Picture — specifically Woman in a Purple Coat. “You are that woman — strong and sassy with fabulous hair!” I’d write to myself, forever my own personal cheerleader. “Speaking of, get a haircut, you slob!”
I’d describe in detail my future husband. Tall, strong jaw line, kind and into nature. Someone who thinks I’m funny but will ground me. Someone who gets my sense of humor.
It mattered little that I had no idea what I was doing when it came to script writing. I couldn’t give a hoot that my little secretarial job could barely buy sofas from the Salvation Army, let alone Pottery Barn plush sectionals.
Getting art professionally matted was out of the question, but postcards purchased at museum gift stores? Perfect. I framed them around my apartment door. In colors as vibrant as hopes and dreams, they shouted blessings to me every time I walked out the door: “This whole ‘world by the tail’ thing? You’ll nail it, Andrea!”
And I did. For a while, as if in some Secret meets The Power of Now, my positive thinking seemed to be the only seeds I needed to grow a rich and rewarding life.
Eventually, I landed a TV job. I purchased the home of my dreams. A beautiful husband? Yes, thank you very much. I even plunked down $200 to get a beautiful Marc Chagall print framed. In it, a man floats through the air, bending over backwards to kiss his bride. Featuring brilliant oranges and reds, it also showed a bed with a lovely tapestry hanging, as well as a kitchen promising snacks and beverages. The painting seemed to represent everything my life was: romance and passion, nourishment of body and spirit. I did it!
And while that was glorious and sexy and more exciting than groupies at the New Kids on the Block reunion tour, at some point it wasn’t enough. The romance faded. The TV jobs ended. Not unlike my soul, the poster within my expensive frame started to buckle.
When my son, who I mentioned in my first post my son was diagnosed, with Tourette Syndrome in 2007 – a neurological condition that causes involuntary twitches and tics – it felt as if the picture I had dreamed for my life had fallen off the wall and shattered. Since I could not cure the tics, there would be no cure for the storm cloud that had permanently settled over my son’s future.
That’s when I started to question how in charge of my life I really was. Fueled by grief, armed with logic, and banking on hope, I began to really wonder who this Jesus was. Sure, there was a God. But was there really a person who came down to earth and felt what I felt? And if I sought Him, how would He change my life?
It would be a long road, but it turns out that, like that man in the Chagall picture I so cherished, He would bend over backwards for me in wild abandon to prove His love. “You are mine,” He whispered into my pain and my hurt. “This sorrow? It’s nothing. If I can die and rise again, so can you from these miserable circumstances. This suffering will be transformed into something so much greater.”
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. —Romans 5:2-5
How I clung to that Bible verse above. I had to. I had to constantly remember that I could not write my own life’s plan in my journal. I’d have to accept Him as my new Author and trust He had plans for me.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future… You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. —Jeremiah 29:11 & 13
Six years later, I have a long way to go, but I find the more I seek Jesus the more peace I have. My circumstances might not always be peaceful, but there is joy. Like my son’s tics, there are ups and downs, but through it all, Jesus is there – the calm in the storm of life.
Beginning today, I’m going to start journaling again. But this time, I’m going to start journaling to Jesus. 15 minutes of Bible reading, 15 minutes of journaling. My son’s tics are up this month. I refuse to go back to that place of worry and fear. I must remember Jesus has a plan for me. This means I must seek Him – every day.
Leave a comment: Who wants to join me? Who else wants to commit to reading 15 minutes of the Bible/day and then journaling? Let’s see where Jesus leads us (Note: You’ll have to register at Believe to leave a comment. Don’t have an account? It takes seconds to create one! Please do – your opinion matters!)
Andrea’s Blog Look for more of Andrea’s posts here.
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