One year ago, I began what I called my “Journey to Forty.” It was my year of restoration in preparation for the start of what is commonly accepted as the second half of life. I began a journaling project where I would learn to write all that I heard from the Lord as I sought after Him. Words. Images. Things that would draw me to the very center of His heart for me.
I began the journey writing in a new level of brokenness, as I had learned that I had miscarried my third pregnancy.
The very next day, I bravely faced my anger and frustration with hurts from my past that I had never been willing to allow my heart to even acknowledge…and have wrestled multiple times throughout the year. It was hard.
I journeyed into possible places that I believe God was calling me into to serve and minister.
I took notes as I took on the heavy, yet positively life changing task of writing my identity statement. It was beautiful.
I read books and wrote the things I always wanted to remember. Each one inspired me into new realms of faith I never knew existed.
I wrote down words of worship that emanated from my heart. Some were praises. Some were lamentations. But all demonstrated and spoke of a gracious, loving, and awesome God.
I begged in writing that the Lord would use me and give me a new mission in life. Instead I received greater clarity on who He is and how much He desires me to know Him…deeply…intimately.
I wrote down prayers and questions as I walked through a season of cancer in the family. I subsequently wrote my laments and declarations of absolute trust in the Lord when we lost this loved one just before Thanksgiving.
I meditated on Scripture and wrote down all I remembered learning about those passages as well as new revelations God gave me about them.
I took sermon notes from so many messages that revealed truths of God I never realized.
I grieved, through words, some of the turmoil and drama taking place within the global Church…some of which were attacks on fellow brothers and sisters.
I pasted in memorabilia from dear friends that encouraged me and made me feel so very loved.
I documented key moments of my children’s growth through the year…and the growth they inspired in me.
I dreamed and brainstormed a gathering of friends in worship to celebrate what the Lord was doing in my life for my 40th birthday…a dream I’m not sure was ever meant to happen and is pretty much impossible in the current COVID-19 season.
I griped about being tired, worn out, and emotionally drained. But I ended each of these moments praising God for His promise to be “more than enough” to carry me through those moments. He totally came through.
I wrote about writing…and sometimes how I had run out of words to write.
I jotted down words impressed upon my heart by the Spirit…and ended up writing anywhere from two to five pages on what those words meant to me at that moment. I began to believe that God was speaking directly to my heart through the Holy Spirit.
I listed all the things I was grateful for on certain days when I felt at my lowest…just to remember that despite circumstances, God is still so good.
I learned to open my mind to streams of consciousness and no longer hide my thoughts from the blank page in shame and fear that someone would read them and judge me harshly.
I lamented the end of a calling I thought came from God. Perhaps it was, despite how it ended.
I wrote song lyrics and movie quotes that opened my eyes to God’s truth about who I am, where I have come from, and where He desires to take me.
I dedicated Year 2020 to “ADVENTURE,” knowing that God has something new and bigger than me for me to step into.
I claimed my right to ROAR for the Kingdom.
I learned to be still before the Lord.
I learned to seek the Lord in the midst of a world pandemic…and trust Him in the midst of the pause and the chaos it brought.
Above all else, I saw the power of Jesus revealed…in all He did for me, in me, and through me.
This journaling project has been a whirlwind and has documented a year of immense growth. I flip through the pages and see so much of the work God has done in my heart and life.
I honestly thought that on the other side of this project, I would know where God was wanting me to do…what He wanted me to do…in this next season of life. But I walk into my forties with almost as many questions about my purpose as I did walking in. The picture is starting to take shape, but there is much more adjustment God needs to do with my ability to see for it to come into focus. There is much more “darkroom work” that these images need to go through.
If there is one thing God has taught me in my “Journey to Forty” that helps me be okay with that fact, it’s that He is worthy of my trust. He will fulfill all that He has promised. And I have no doubt in my mind that His timing is so much more PERFECT than mine.
Soli Deo Gloria…all glory be to God alone…all glory be to the ONLY God.