Updated: Aug 30, 2019
Four years ago yesterday, I was a confused, paranoid, exhausted thirteen-year-old girl. I knew I needed a Savior, but was too stubborn enough to admit it. For all I knew, it was just another summer night of being bored and feeling empty. I didn't know that that would be the night where I would rededicate my life to Christ.
Even more, I was sure that it was just a one-night encounter. I would be back to listening to the same trashy music on the same boring nights as before because even though I was set free in His presence that night, I didn't think I would be able to keep up with God's grace the days after. But, I learned that I didn't have to. Instead, His grace kept up with me.
It chased me down and sought me out every single night for four years now, yesterday marking the anniversary. I celebrated by spending all day yesterday with the Love of My Life. Even before I was fully awake, the Lord was walking me down memory lane. He recalled the mornings where I leaped out of bed and into His arms with genuine joy and anticipation—ready to start the day—along with the many mornings where I used the same bed to shield myself from the pain, concealing my depression with pillows and covers. My bed alone has been a memorial stone through the four years that I've known Christ. It represents both cheery mornings after peaceful nights and restless nights after exhausting days. My bed is where I curled up to cry on that July 2014 night, where I told God that I missed talking to Him. It's where I start my first conversations with Him every morning. It's where I pour my heart out to Him at night.
Then, there's my computer. I've always wanted to be an author, but I had no idea that God would give me a storyline such as "How I Fell in Love with Myself". I remember Him whispering a single quote to me that I stored away in the notes on my phone. Three months after that night in July, October 2014, I had begun building on that one quote, which little did I know would become my first published novel. My computer is what reminds me of the battles it took to publish it—the ones where I wanted to bang my head against the keyboard, the cursor mocking me as it blinked with a steady, taunting rhythm. There were battles I had with writer's block, my creative juices flowing so freely, only to be blocked by a brick wall, perverting my ideas into stale, dry sentences that couldn't capture the picture in my head. Four years of refreshing my email, waiting to hear back from my editor, nervous about the new chapters I added in, debating whether or not to keep the original ones. Though I would suspect anyone to get tired of my ranting as I would dive in self-doubt, God was right there with the right words. "One word, one sentence, one page at a time," He would always whisper. As I look at the copy of my novel sitting on my desk now, I am happy to report that His four years worth of advice worked.
My prayer journals are direct memories and conversations I had with the Lord. I have four of them, the first started in April 2015 and the fourth was completed last night as He and I celebrated our milestone. Yesterday, we spent nearly half the day going through each of them, observing how much I've changed, how even my style of writing became different. We pointed out my spiritual maturity as I first started journaling under the impression that God wanted my prayers to be perfect. He wanted me to write clear, vivid expressions of how I felt and be cautious in the sentences I use whenever I needed to cry out for help. We celebrated the truth about what I know now. I went from writing with only black ink, writing with full sentences with adjectives and imagery, and limiting my prayers to only one page. Even when I wanted to scream, I made sure that I cried for help eloquently, made my most desperate prayers sound beautiful. But now, my most recent prayers are short and choppy. There are pages that crack when I bend them because of the way the tears dried between them. Some ink is smeared with my tears, my words so scribbled on the page I can barely make out what they say. Some prayers take up more than half of the journal. Other prayers take up one line. And while it looks as if my prayer life got worse, I know it has gotten even better. These four years have shown me that I don't have to put makeup on my prayers. They can be as ugly, as honest, as vulnerable as I need them to be. God prefers it this way. No matter how gruesome, He reads every word. In fact, He told me yesterday that some prayers He rereads over and over. You have no idea how blessed that makes me feel, that the Lord of heaven and earth reads my journals like it's His favorite book, that He treasures them, keeps them in His library, tucks them under His arm as He walks the streets of heaven, writes back to me daily. God holds my words close to Him, which is why I hold His words close to me.
I can go on and on about the memories I've made with the Lord these past four years, memories from before I even realized that He was with me, memories I've made just within the four walls of my room alone. I can talk about how I would sit and cry in the small space in between my closets after a tough day and how that same space became the spot where I curl up with my bible now. I can talk about how before the night in July I would tape the most suggestive posters to my wall only for the same wall to be covered with inspirational quotes now. I can talk about how the mirror in the hallway outside of my room went from the place where I practiced sucking in my stomach to loving the way I look every time I walk past it now. I can go on and on and on.
And, while today's post is more personal than it is relatable (contrary to what I usually allow), I hope this reminded you to celebrate your milestones too. As I had no idea where my decision to follow Christ would take me, from uninspired to published author, from a paranoid incoming freshman to a bold high school graduate, you never know where your decision could take you too. You decide to go to the gym every morning, and soon you lose twenty pounds. You decide to never drink again, and before you know it, you're six months sober. You commit yourself to attending church every week, and before long, you've been going to church for a year straight. You never know how one decision can change your life forever. So celebrate the six months, the week, the day milestone, even. And watch how it'll turn to a year, four years, fourteen years, then forever.