Monday, January 2, 2017

Journaling Hope by Annette M. Irby

Happy New Year 2017 banner on blue with stars and ornaments*

Happy New Year, dear friends! 

The new year can bring so much hope, can’t it? My personality tends to vacillate between glass half-full and glass half-empty, but at the new year, I’m a glass half-full thinker all the way! 

Like many of you, no doubt, I’ve seen that some years are much harder than others. If you’re coming out of a challenging year, I pray you’ll grab on to hope that God is at work on your behalf. Recently, during a supremely challenging season, I held on to the following truths about God. I journaled about them, writing them out. Reminding myself. They seem simple, but the following phrases were a lifeline for me. If you need encouragement right now, I pray these encourage you. 

1. God sees. 
2. God knows. 
3. God cares. 
4. God is working on my behalf. 

First, God sees. Maybe you’ve suffered injustice. God saw that. Maybe you’re patiently waiting for your breakthrough. God has seen your patience. Perhaps you’ve prayed unceasing about your situation. God saw that too. What’s more—He honors those prayers and your patience. 

Second, God knows. Not only does He witness what happens in our lives, He understands how those situations relate to us. He knows us. Intimately. He knows our situations. He is not unaware or uninformed. We don’t even have to express it—all that pain or anger—though we can put it into words, if we want. (Raise your hand if you journal like I do. Writing is cathartic, isn’t it?) 

Third, not only does God see and know, He cares. Deeply. Because He can see the impact of those hurtful things in our lives, and He knows how those hardships hit us personally, He has compassion. In fact, in my experience (both at salvation and so many times since) He is moved by that compassion. He can’t help Himself. He rescues. If you write out the list on this blog in your journal, feel free to add: God rescues. He loves to rescue. And whether our pride likes it or not, we all need rescuing at times. Jesus is the Redeemer. He is satisfied (His work is His food—see John 4) in rescuing, redeeming, saving. This truth—God cares—got me through that aforementioned season. I kept telling myself: God sees; He knows. He cares. And… 

Fourth, God is working on my behalf. Oh, if I didn’t believe this I’d be lost. The tricky part is we can’t always see Him working, so we feel we aren’t seen. That God doesn’t care. That God doesn’t know. We have to remind ourselves of our list. You know what… I need to amend my list. Here’s my new list: 

1. God sees. 
2. God knows. 
3. God cares. 
4. God is working on my behalf. 
5. God rescues. 

I can say that because He rescued me and others from that situation I mentioned. In fact, He did the impossible in order do so. Just ask. Like the characters we write about, sometimes we need to get through a situation. Sometimes we need rescuing out of a situation. What do you need? When Jesus walked the earth, He asked a certain question as recorded in the gospels a few times: What do you want Me to do for you? Try journaling your answer to that question. God likes to both place desires in our hearts and then answer them, fulfill them. (see Ps. 37:4) 

Do you need hope today? Try pondering this list. Perhaps write it out. Pray through it. See what God shows you. I’m thinking a year from now, you may see how He has shown up in your situation. My journaling review showed a stark contrast between the depths of that situation and following His rescue. 

Until God manifests His work, hang on to hope. Don’t let go, even if the cord frays. The more you entertain hope, the stronger that cord that’s holding you will become, until it’s strong enough to pull you up and out of your situation. 

God is the God of hope. He will help. 

Have a blessed and hopeful new year, friends. 

Your turn: Have you journaled through a difficult situation? Do you treat your journal as a prayer tool? Do you write out God’s answers? How has a journaling review shown you changes from one season to another? 


Annette M. Irby

Annette M. Irby is a freelance editor and Christian fiction author who dabbles in gardening and photography. She has recently fallen in love with her grandson. She enjoys spending time with her family and husband of over twenty-five years. You can learn more about Annette by visiting her website or her page here on Seriously Write. 

* photo credit: the awesome people at Pixabay.