Monday, September 25, 2017

Write it out

I'm a paper and pen kind of girl. I will forever have a real paper calendar. I love lists. I function best when I can physically write things down. I remember them better. I feel accomplished. Pen and paper work for me.

And so, it's no surprise that what works best in my day-to-day life also is effective for my spiritual growth. At our kickoff Moms Group meeting (read more about that here) we gave each mom a plain composition book. (We found the jewel toned covers at Walmart).

The moms decorated their journals as our kickoff craft.

And I'm sure some of those moms decorated their book while thinking, "What in the world am I going to do with a notebook?"

They could take meeting notes in it. Record the contact info for moms they meet. Remember table prayer requests. Doodle. Whatever.

I took mine on vacation last week. I am not even sure why I grabbed it instead of my regular journal. I love to write out my prayers, take sermon notes, etc.

As I sat in a different church (our vacation church), listening to a different pastor, taking notes, my mind started to wander. And I began to panic. I still had a week left of days on the beach, but I was already becoming anxious about my to-do list when I got back home.

The longer I worried, the longer my to-do list seemed to grow. I started thinking about our next mom group meeting, other ministries at church, my house, my laundry....And in the midst of my panicked thoughts, the Holy Spirit seemed to tap me on the shoulder and say, "Are you listening to the passage this pastor is reading from?"

"On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews,  Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you," When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord, Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you," And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit."
John 20:19-22, NLT

The pastor was encouraging this group of believers to take ownership of the mission that Jesus was passing on to His disciples. He was encouraging them to take the Gospel to those around them. And He was reassuring them and giving them confidence when He said "Peace...

I scribbled down a few other references to look into more later. And started praying that the Lord would help me to remember the peace He has already promised me. In that moment...I calmed down.

Later that night, after I had put the kids to bed, I pulled out this notebook. I wrote out the Scripture references I had listed that morning in church. And this one in particular resonated well with me.

"You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you."
Isaiah 26:3

When I write out Scripture, the words seem to come alive to me. I am more focused. More involved. And somehow more receptive to the Holy Spirit's prompting.

I then, wrote out my to-do list. I wrote names of people I needed to contact. Things I needed to check on. I wrote it all out. And I prayed over that list.

"Lord, You have called me to be a wife, mom, caretaker of my home, and a girl who shares Jesus with others. Help me to remember the peace that you have promised me. Thank you for the Holy Spirit and His involvement in my life. "

As I looked back over that to-do list, the tasks didn't seem so daunting. Ideas popped into my head about ways that it would all get accomplished when it needed to be accomplished. The Lord was in control of my emotions, my anxiety and my to-do list.

I don't know how you may use journals - but I have found that my spiritual life and my day-to-day life must intersect. And I have found that the tools that work for my day also work in my relationship with the Lord.

I encouraged my mom friends to use their journal to write out some Scripture. To use their journal to write out some prayers. We prayed over those journals, and I know that the Lord has ways that He wants to work.

I passed around this Scripture Writing Plan geared towards Thanksgiving. If you'd like to join in on the challenge, let me know how it goes for you!

And just think...a few generations from now...someone may stumble across one of these journals written by a mom who loved Jesus. They may read of struggles and victories. They may see the good things our Lord has done.

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