It was my 20th birthday and I was in Target. Chip and Joanna Gaines (aka my favorite power couple on the planet) had just launched their line at Target a few months before and I was walking by it looking longingly at all of the pretty things that I couldn't afford to put in the house that I only own in my imagination when I happened to notice a beautiful little celery green journal. It was clothbound, simple, and spoke right to my stationery-loving soul. I had tried keeping a journal in the past, but I had never really managed to keep up with it. I would write in it for two nights, a week max, and then give up. However, finding this little green journal on my birthday felt like some sort of sign and maybe even a challenge, so I bought it and determined that I would write in it every night for a year, just to prove that I could.
Well, it's been a little over a year since then and I can say that I have in fact managed to write in my journal for probably 350 of the 365 days that happened. Sometimes it was just one line, sometimes it was eight pages. Sometimes I dumped out piles of feelings, other days it was a bullet point itinerary of what I had been up to. It didn't matter to me how much I did it so long as I did. But, I have to confess, I had a little bit of self-doubt, so for the first month or so, I typed my journal entries into the notepad on my phone, not wanting to waste a perfectly good notebook on a few ramblings about my life that I would wish I hadn't even bothered with later. That meant that I now not only had to take the time to write a journal entry each day, but also to copy down these old ones. And better still, I couldn't physically write my new entries until I got caught up on copying the old ones from my phone.
Long story short, it's March and I'm still copying journal entries from last April. I know you think I'm crazy. I think I'm crazy. But there's something so lovely about going back and reading about the things that I was doing and feeling, even though it's just been a year, that I look forward to the time when I can copy my thoughts down onto the page. When I look back at what I was doing almost a year ago, it's easy to see the "right" answers to my questions or to see all of the ways that what I was going through would work out. But at the time, I couldn't see past the night in question, let alone forward a whole year. I was stressed about a whole different set of classes, I had a whole different set of questions about various relationships in my life, I still thought I would be interested in things that I actually left behind months ago.
For me, going back and copying down my old journal entries has been a lovely exercise in taking time to consider my life. These old journal entries, compared with where I am now, are a portrait of God's faithfulness. So many of the prayers that I had written out, even if they weren't necessarily explicit, have been answered and answered so fully that I honestly had forgotten that some of them were ever an issue. It's also been a great way to see how I've grown as a person. Oftentimes I don't feel like an upperclassman, I don't feel any older than I was. But then when I look back at who I was then and what I was thinking about and feeling and dealing with, I can physically see how much I've grown up. There are times when I'm reading and I feel proud of past me or sad for past me like I might for a little kid. It's kind of fun to look and say "yes, I survived that."
While journaling every single night was definitely a task for me more than a pleasure experience most of the time, I feel very blessed and happy to have this snapshot portrait of who I was and what my life was like because I know that it will continue to offer me comfort that God has been faithful and that what feel like never-ending seasons in our lives really do come to an end and have a beautiful purpose to them if we can only have the patience and trust to wait them out.