Random Journal Day is a day when we pull out our old journals and share something from our past...hopefully something that reminds us of how far we've come in life...where we once were...and if we are able...we can see the way God was preparing us for our future today...at least that's what I've noticed from my former writings. Sometimes I discover that the dreams I had twenty years ago are actually coming true today...like this one, written on July 1, 1990! 23 years ago? Can that be possible? Wow...
I wrote this during a time when we were serving in a metropolitan church way up north. I was having a difficult time adjusting to my role as Pastor's Wife in this particular congregation...and also trying to adjust to life in the suburbs of a large city...a place I really did not like much at all. It was a struggle for our complete family the whole time we were there. It seems as though we were all a bit like fish out of water. Here's what I wrote on that Sunday evening:
"I seem to be having some troubles adjusting here-more than usual. I find myself wanting to 'withdraw' from people more and more. I'm lonely for a real friend-but I'm afraid to even try to find one. I just don't feel accepted or a part of things. Even though people are very nice to me, it seems so superficial...no one seems to care about me. I know I shouldn't be so sensitive--I should be the one caring about others. But I'm having a real struggle in even being around people."
(NOTE: We had just moved there a few months previous to this writing...and I had left behind a very active women's ministry in which I was a Bible study leader and had many good friends...so this was a big change).
I went on to say: "I find myself really wanting to retreat-to hide-to withdraw-to insulate myself from the outside world. This isn't me~I've always been a 'people person'. But now I'm afraid to reach out-afraid of rejection-afraid of being inadequate-not having anything to say or contribute. Not having anything in common with anyone-not even my own family. (? Not sure where that came from, but it's how I felt at the time). I feel so isolated-cut off--out of sinc."
Sounds like I was depressed now that I look back! I didn't realize that at the time...depression is something for other people...not me! At least that's what I've always thought! But now, in hindsight, I can see where I probably was depressed and just didn't recognize the symptoms. It's strange, but this was written just a few months before our middle son, Matthew, was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of 18. That started a major time of testing, total dependence on the Lord, and a huge amount of questioning as well. It also started a period of new growth...spiritually. I didn't realize THAT at the time either. Oftentimes we don't comprehend what God is truly doing inside our hearts and minds while we are in the middle of the battle. We just put on our combat gear and start headlong into the fray. Especially when one of our children is at risk.
That's what I did. I jumped in and started fighting the unseen enemies of fear, anguish, and yes, anger. Anger that my son was suffering and fighting for his own life at the age of 18...right when he was supposed to be enjoying his senior year of high school, preparing for graduation and going off to college in a few months. Doubts assailed me...why was this happening to us? And yet, God, in His mercy, reached down and showed us His mercy and love. He became the Comforter in our time of sorrow and uncertainty. He became my best friend. And best of all...He became the Healer...miraculously, mysteriously, and wonderfully! Not only did He heal our son, He healed my soul from it's depression.
I wish I could say that everything was wonderful from that day forth...but it wasn't exactly. Not too many months after all of this turmoil we were on the move again...and my journey in search of a place of peace and retreat continued to grow in my heart. As I look back I realize now that the seeds for where I am today were planted back then. Little by little we are developing our home into the kind of "retreat" I once dreamed of...but not just for me. My dream is to share this place with others who need a place of comfort, rest and retreat from the world for a while...so they will be better prepared to face the world again when the time is right. God does work in mysterious ways.
Isaiah 40:31 is a favorite verse of mine...and probably yours too: