The best journal I’ll ever look back on

I'm super excited in seeing how God continues to teach me through this.
I’m super excited in seeing how God continues to teach me through this.

There are so many ways to document one’s life via social media today especially with facebook being a “timeline” and all. However, documenting one’s prayer life would be a little more difficult via something like instagram or twitter or whatever else is up and running today. I finally started a prayer journal. It’s helped me see things I need work on– things I had no idea were even an issue. I feel like sharing what prayer is doing so far in my life. This song is essentially self-explanatory about what happens once I start praying. He lights up my room and my life: When You Walk into the Room.

There are times in my life when I’ve questioned prayer and I choose to worry instead of pray. This is where I fail. However, in the moments when I choose to pray– w o w, no wonder God’s word says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6, NIV). One of my biggest dreams in life is to adopt. My first blog post was in dedication to that dream and to Hope. My first mini internship was for an organization called Christian Alliance for Orphans, and it was during that time my hope to adopt only spurred on more heavily. Knowing the heavy need for children without families out there is heart-wrenching and sad. I long to be an adoptive mother to a child who needs someone to have dinners with, outside play dates with during the day, and someone to soothe them to sleep at night. I want to be a child’s forever.

I was flipping through my child hood bible and found this within the sheets. I must have written these when I was 10. I thought it was quite relevant to this post.

It wasn’t until somewhere in between my different doctor visits recently that a thought about China adoption I read a long time ago struck me like lightning. Applicant must be free of any condition that would affect lifespan or the ability to parent, including autoimmune diseases and lifelong conditions requiring medication. All of a sudden, I just felt sad. I started to have flashes of my doctor saying, “You will be on this medication for life,” and how I mumbled out words to him about what would happen to me if I just stopped taking medication all together. I wanted to be a magical fairy and tap my body with a magical wand. Zap . . . done. The pessimistic, realist, wrong part of me who doesn’t pray first would think, well you can’t adopt nowYou have a chronic illness, no cure, not ever. Give it up. However, the optimistic, fervent praying part of me would think, “My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever” (Psalm 73: 26, NLT). Prayer has helped me see I have an issue with worry. Worry and stress only add onto my shooting burns and flares. When you’re told you have an immune system that’s attacking healthy tissue in your body and it’s unpredictable, sometimes you just can’t help all the places your mind wanders. So then I get disappointed and it ruins me until I eventually get drained. My last check up I was told my lupus should stay the way it has been level wise, mild and non-affecting to organs. It’s only affected tissues regarding my joints. Okay, so I know what to expect pain wise and yet I still get worried and it hurts when I’m inflamed. So the two things I seem to worry about the most are my health and my future. When I feel helpless, I’m learning to pray instead of worry and journaling is helping me keep up with that.

One of the greatest realizations I’ve had doing this journal is that instead of thinking God needs to help me accomplish this goal or that dream, I get the sense He’s trying to develop my character through suffering more than anything. Regardless if I am suffering or not, I am praying for myself to stop worrying and for what other character traits I need work on. “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4, NIV). I know that I am young but things like adoption, stabilizing my career and financials, and taking in children that need families are things that I desire in life.

My young age is the time to make firm foundations for myself and there is nothing wrong with that. What is wrong, is when worry and doubt soak in the cracks of the foundations I am trying to build. My future doesn’t deserve that.

This was when I was on top of some rocks at Garden of the Gods when I lived in Colorado Springs, CO. God was always with me, and He always will be.
This was when I was on top of some rocks at Garden of the Gods when I lived in Colorado Springs, CO. God was always with me, and He always will be.

Worrying is something I’m giving up on. I’m crumbling it up in my hands, climbing all the way to the top of a mountain, and throwing it into the abyss. I’m climbing with God again holding my journal, and His hand in the other. He’s the lead— He’s much tougher than I am and I want Him to have all the control. No matter what storm comes my way I’ll always be okay, because I let God take the reins. The thing is, I don’t believe in magical fairies or magical wands. I believe in the power of God and the pen He holds writing my life story.

Maybe the bigger picture here above all else is learning to surrender my whole life to God, letting Him write it all. That’s it Savannah– just drop the darn pen. The journey of life is no simple thing but it is a journey— a prayerful one I want God to write. The only pen I should be carrying is the one to my prayer journal.

And it will be the best journal I’ll ever look back on.

More prayer. Less worry.

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34 thoughts on “The best journal I’ll ever look back on

  1. Jeffrey H. King

    Looking at your categories, I thought I’d look at “Adoptions.” A dear friend of mine founded and continues to run “Friends of Russian Orphans.” You can find the web site at http://fororphans.org/. She and her husband have adopted two Russian orphans themselves some years back, and adopted a Chinese orphan a couple years ago.

    I did catch the date of this entry, but in case you haven’t adopted already or are still thinking of doing it, I’d be happy to introduce you to her.

    Blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. brittany

    Hi! I just wanted to let you know what an inspiration this post is to me. The first post I’ve read of yours but I can’t wait to check out the rest.

    & also, can’t wait to start my prayer journal. I’ve been feeling so distanced from God lately and this sounds like the perfect way to reconnect. Thank you!

    Like

  3. Kathleen

    Hi Savannah, I really like the line More God Less Worry-so very true. I always try to remember that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” When I forget this that is when the anxiety and fear creep in. Very nice post!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Wendell A. Brown

    Savannah, God has placed within you a fountain of his love through the power of his spirit! His love fills your individual soul and spirit, while also framing your heart wonderfully. My sister what you are empowered to write is from that spirit of love which is individually yours to praise God, lift others, help other heal hearts and minds with your wonderful messages. No one can do it the way you do it but you…and God smiles brightly every time you do. We are all a part of God, his love, his blessings and his grace. Some are open to service like yourself and I. Unceasingly we serve each day in the smallest ways and largest ways and both are always so meaningful. I have missed your words and yet I am made full within by the selfless kindness and love you always share with us. Because of God if you trust how he leads you without giving it to much thought, your happiness within will always blossom and will pass to others causing them to do the same. When I first was led to write, i remember someone telling me that His word was simply written without great vocabularies, and it was simply given to those who are said not to me very intelligent in books… but the simple things God treasures and when a genuine message is simply given the seeds within it are greeted with happiness by the receiver. Simply given, simply received, the messages i write come from an ever filling well in my heart…but the message is given at the right time for some who need it at that moment not for my sake, but for their sake, not by me, but by God…he loves us all and he uses those he loves and he will use you in the most simple of ways bringing much joy to others. Sarah was supposed to be barren, and yet she was blessed with a child by the Lord our God. Nothing is impossible with him…he knows what your heart seeks and he will fulfill all your needs. I have talked too much, but you have left me with a smile my sister…you have always trusted in God, wait on him and trust he will bless you because of his awesome love. I pray your family and your sister are well. God bless and have a beautiful week ahead. Know you are in my thoughts and prayers always…in Gods love!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Savannah Hardcastle

      Wendell, as I was reading your comment I was listening to Nearer my God to Thee, and lets just say I had a few tears. Very rarely do I cry while reading, however yours moved me in every way.
      Thank you.
      I wish I could give you this huge reply, or maybe even an “I second all that back to you,” but nothing would pay token to how much I really appreciated your words.
      I don’t believe in talking too much, I believe your heart was set to uplift and it surely did to me.

      I hope you are well, how is your MS this time of year?

      P.S. I also have not been getting your posts updates, I am going to have unfollow/re-follow your blog again! :)
      Blessings Wendell, you truly blessed my Monday.
      -Sav

      Like

    • Wendell A. Brown

      Savannah, the MS has its moments, up and down, yet I refuse to really give in to it! Your words, your prayers are always a wonderful blessing…to me whether it is everyday or every once in a while as you are always in my prayers also my dear sister. Thank you for the spiritual hugs you sent my way…it makes my day also…you are a wonderful gem…God bless!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. booklovers1

    Having just read your about me page, I am encouraged and really looking forward to reading more about your journey. How hard life must be. Yet what joy you are able to bring to others! Orphans and adoption has been a big issue on my heart, and how fortunate you are to be able to make a difference that way!! Sounds like you will fit in nicely, with what sounds like a easy going and kindred spirit God has blessed you with.
    How fittingly then, that I happen to be nominated of an award and believe you are more than worthy of it – the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. More information will be found on my blog by following this link ~ http://booklovers1.wordpress.com/2014/11/08/ive-been-nominated-very-inspiring-blogger-award/
    God Bless xox

    Like

    • Savannah Hardcastle

      That is the sweetest. Thanks a bunch for that nomination. :)

      Yes, life can be tough at times– no doubt. I believe in uplifting each other, as you have done to me and that God never leaves us alone in our trials.
      Looks like we have a kindred heart for Gods little ones– I only hope one day I can take them in as a mother. :)
      Blessings to you
      -Sav :)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Mormon Soprano

    What a beautiful post! I regularly journal about my life in general, but I love the idea of specifically recording prayers offered and watching for, and recording our answers. Thanks for the reminder. I’m going to incorporate that more. My heart aches for your beautiful unrealized dream of “being a child’s forever”, and I can empathize with your physical challenges [our family also carries the burden of chronic pain & unwanted dependence on medications).
    I truly believe that our Father in Heaven knows the righteous desires of our heart and if we remain prayerful, “rest in the Lord” and trust in His timing, things will work out. He may not answer your prayer in the way that you had hoped, He rarely ever answers in the way that we imagine, but I have seen too many miracles in my life to ever deny the truth that He ALWAYS answers.
    And, now that I’ve lived long enough that I can look back over several decades, I can see how God has intricately orchestrated my life. He has not given me the answers I wanted, but be has given me exactly the answers that I needed.
    Hang in there. Remain prayerful. God is listening, and He will lead you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Savannah Hardcastle

      This was such a blessing for me to read. Truly. Thank you so much.
      God usually answers prayers in His own way doesn’t He. . .and it’s always what we need. He knows best. My life in His hands, and that’s the best hope I could ever ask for. I know I will look back on decades of my life (as you have) and know He orchestrated everything so beautifully.
      Thanks again :)
      -Sav

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Freedomborn ... Aussie Christian Focus

    It’s good Savannah that you enjoy your Prayer Journal, I often go to the cupboard of my heart and Pray even when I’m on my mobility Bike and I sing to God too.

    I would like to share a message with you (see link below) and some Scripture but I will also affirm we do not give thanks for our suffering but that God is with us when we suffer, He strengthens us so we are able to endure and He works everything our in our lives for good but He does not willingly afflict us, He is Love and can do no evil, would you deliberately hurt someone you Love?

    Lamentations 3: 33 For God doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.

    Isaiah 43:1-3 – Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.”

    Jeremiah 29 :11-12 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

    Summer Camp – http://freedomborn.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/summer-camp-blues/

    Christian Love in Christ Jesus – Anne

    Liked by 1 person

  8. DanielleChoosingHope

    Savannah, it’s uncanny to me how much I can relate to most of your blog posts. I am so glad we found each other. Even in Indiana, my heart is in a very similar place to yours.
    Before POTS came into my life, I worked in mental health. I’ve become passionate about the foster care system here in the United States, and I so want to open our home to kids who need a stable family (either on a temporary or permanent basis). When I recently read that foster care applications require “no chronic illness” and a doctor’s signature, I was heartbroken. I am still holding on to the hope that God has a plan. It’s tough sometimes to be in such an uncertain place health-wise. It is hard to make long-term plans, for sure.
    I appreciate what you said about using our younger years to build a foundation. That is advice that I am going to keep in mind this week. I’m also going to write out Romans 5:3-5 and hang it up somewhere at home. I love how much HOPE is found in that verse.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Savannah Hardcastle

      Hi Danielle :)
      I know, we relate in a lot of things don’t we?
      Wow, that is such a breathe of fresh air reading that. You want to open your home for others– how wonderful.
      The “no chronic-illness” rule is disheartening. . .I know. But as you said, God has a plan. :)
      I hear you on making long term plans– good golly, sometimes that’s just what I’m really good at. . .and now, I’m like woa.
      Yesterday was quite possibly one of the most horrible days for me. I flared up overnight, and literally stayed in bed all day. I hated it– all of it. But I prayed, and had people praying for me. And last night I has such a break through spiritually. My worry has been lifted prior, but the pain was still there. Now I am learning to push through all pain. I went walking today, and it was awesome. I feel refreshed, and now am looking into those coffee mugs you had in your posts :) AND starting a photo album I’m going to create after I buy some things from Michaels. I’m going to to start printing photos a whole lot more, and making an album of my life and people close to me. For all we know, the internet could die one day! =P
      Have a great wednesday :)
      Always keep the hope. We will keep it together!
      -Sav

      Liked by 1 person

    • Savannah Hardcastle

      I love your fav line. wow.

      This line: “There are a million beaten paths. And no matter what words people use — everyone is just asking to be loved.” — woa. So true and simple and real. I loved this.

      I really enjoyed this read.
      Thanks so much Danielle :)
      Hey! Happy Friday-ness to you! Hope you have a wonderful weekend.
      -Sav

      Liked by 1 person

  9. moderndaywarriorprincess

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful post! I appriciate your honesty and candor about giving up worry for prayer. I also understand the desire to have a child, I have hopes of adopting in the future after I find a husband of course. I don’t have Lupus, but I have Reflex Sympathetic Dystophy/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (RSD/CRPS) which is also a chronic illness. I know that I have to take medications to keep funtioning and I know that I also face the future knowing that more of me will be affected RSD/CRPS and I never know exactly what it will be.

    I have been prayer journallying for years, but recently I switched to electronic prayer journaling through an app on my phone and iPad. I have found this to be so useful because I can add a prayer request of mine or someone else and record when the prayer is answered. I have found I still give into worry at times, but when I take the time to pray it is very grounding and also remindes me I am in His hands and God is planning my life if I work at following his plan.

    I want you to now how refreshing this post is to me. It reminds me that those desires of my heart, which are sometimes a source of my concern and worry, may still happen and to keep prayer journaling. You have refeashed my belief that it is better to pray than worry.

    Thank you for your wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Savannah Hardcastle

      Hi there. :) I am so glad this touched you in some way. I think it’s awesome that you’ve been prayer journaling for years.
      I am sorry for what you’re going through illness wise, I am glad you know that we have a Father more loving and real than anything else.
      I hope we can encourage each other more so and always know God is with us through any and all trials. And to always, always…PRAY and not worry.
      :)
      -Sav

      Liked by 1 person

    • moderndaywarriorprincess

      Savannah, Your post could not have come at a better time! After I commented and was reassured that I need to worry less and keep turning the stress over to God and let Him aid me with such things. Shortly after I saw your response I ended up in the hospital because I was having horrific, even for me, abdominal pain and vomiting (sorry if that is TMI). I learned what it truly means to cry out to God during the time before I went to the ER, from which I was admitted. I was there a week, it took them until the last day to figure out my GI system is starting to not work correctly, so I am still on a liquid diet for now, and this diagnosis is also most likely going to be a chronic illness as well as my other medical issues. After the doctor told me I had a freak out time, then I remembered your post and comment and I turned to my prayer journal. I read some of the verses I have written in it to remind me of who is *really* in control. I added my new diagnosis and just started praying over that and also everyone and everything on my list.
      While I was praying the pastoral care volunteer walked in and saw I had been crying. Despite my prayer I was still feeling a heavy burden, not as bad as it was before the prayer, but I was still feeling very upset and frustrated overall. This wonderful “angel” from Pastoral Care asked me what was going on and I explained it to her and to my surprise she gave me some of the same verses you did. She then we discussed Job and his suffering, and that he still praised God despite all that was going on and the fact Satan had to ask God for permission to cause all the suffering of Job.
      She looked at me and reminded me that our Father in heaven believed in me enough and in the strength of my Faith to allow me to go through such things. I know I am not Job, and in the end all that has happened will strengthen my testamony, but also I know I have been praying almost nonstop since the abdominal pain started. It is so comforting to worry less and pray more. Thank you for also being a angel for me and sharing what I needed to know from God. An angel, in this way is someone God uses to teach me or say something when I need it. Thank you for your timely conversation.
      -Andrea

      Like

    • Savannah Hardcastle

      Andrea, first of all I am so sorry you had to go through that experience of the vomiting and ER. . .

      I cannot tell you how much this message made me smile above at our Heavenly father. . .literally I have little tears in my eyes, because of how amazing God is. Really– I mean, can He get any more real?
      I totally believe God sends us people as angels in disguise in the moments He knows we need them. Your story made me beam with glee at how intricately God works.
      In your weakest moment, you didn’t cease praying– you powered through, and that is something that has truly inspired me today.
      YOU have truly helped me see some light today as the past couple weeks have not been so well for me. I have slipped backwards a little health wise, and pain is seeming to come whenever it pleases; I’m sleepless, in pain, slowly walking, getting headaches and flares. . .and sometimes I have these quiet moments where I just can’t stand it. It’s like sometimes– I just miss feeling completely normal. No disease. No thoughts about it or medicines.
      I’m trying to be so strong all the time, but unless people like you and I, who are sick with something, people just don’t comprehend the magnitude of the pain and discomfort it brings– anytime it wants.
      Your message reminded me GOD is the one to turn too, and He knows we can handle this.

      I’ve been listening to a new song, and I wish you happy thoughts and feelings, and pain-free days.
      Thank you for blessing me, Andrea.

      -Sav

      Like

    • moderndaywarriorprincess

      It is my turn to have tears in my eyes, I am so honored that God used me and my experience to bless you. I also love that song too, do you listen to KLove?

      The radio, website (www.klove.com) and app all allow you access to great contemporary Christian music and short uplifting messages. If you already do great, if not I suggest checking it out. I listen to this in the car and it helps me have time to praise God when I sing along, since I cannot stand the vibrations from the speakers at church I miss worshiping God through song and this is one of the ways I keep it in my life despite my limitations.

      I have added you to my prayer list and also added this amazing answer to a prayer for you, which I will still continue to pray for the request I made, but I love seeing the results as well when I read over it. I also suggest next to journaling (be it physically into a journal or digitially) to also to get a prayer request app for your phone. I have one, I used it when I was literally crying out to God, to also remember to pray for others and to thank God for all he has already done for me.

      I use this prayer list in my phone so no matter where I am I can add a prayer request to my app called “Prayer Notes,” which I know is in the Apple App Store. The app lets me catagorize prayer requests, share prayer requests (with others if I am starting a prayer tree for someone, with their permission always,) and best of all reminders to pray daily. I am sure there are other great apps that do the same things. I love the fact that I don’t forget a request and can add to it where ever I am at the time. I also have my current prayer journal on my computer since typing and writing are hard due to my decreasing fine moter skills. I hope these suggetstion help.

      I am so glad that I have met you since you are a wonderful Godly woman who I love digitially fellowshiping with and you are such a blessing in my life.
      -Andrea

      Liked by 1 person

    • Savannah Hardcastle

      Thank you, Andrea. I will be checking literally everything out you’ve suggested. I love K-Love!
      I can’t thank you enough for adding me to your prayer list.
      I started little prayer cards awhile back; you are on mine!

      I’m so glad we found each other! You are so inspiring and wonderful and have been a blessing to me.
      I’m looking forward to seeing how God moves amidst our lives, even what He is doing in the now. :o)
      I will be popping in time to time on your blog and see how you’re doing :o)
      Blessings today and have a warm, cozy weekend!

      -Savannah

      Liked by 1 person

  10. SimplySage

    Beautifully expressed. Fear can paralyze and get a grip. I have actually withheld doing good to people for fear they would view my kindness as “weird”. Isn’t that crazy? People do not expect it and they are looking for dubious reasons. I love your prayer journal idea. I’ve kept one for 10 years and it’s amazing when I look back! I don’t write everyday but it’s still great to see how God worked. (I also think your journal is so pretty!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Savannah Hardcastle

      Hi :) Good to hear from you!
      Wow TEN years– awesome.
      I know what you mean about the kind thing :) Pretty crazy stuff indeed, but learning to not care what others think helps :)
      Thanks, I love my little green journal. I too, will most likely not write everyday, but by golly it has really helped not only in the things I’ve written above, but also finding my deep joy again in my Father…

      Liked by 1 person

  11. rolerrol

    Savannah…..
    This is such a deep post.
    The first thing I want to touch on is what you spoke about when you were speaking about adopting and the other desires of your heart. What I want to say is, I know God has given you those desires and as He has placed them in you He will bring them to pass and it will be clearly evident it was Him! He will bring it to pass…..His purposes for your life will come to pass! The prayer journal you have will be a testament. A testament to everyone but most importantly to you that God is good and He hears you!
    In scripture we see, before God moved, He got the prophet to write in down, record it so it would testify of who He was to who ever read it!

    There is a scripture I want to share with you,

    GOD proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from GOD. It’s a good thing when you’re young to stick it out through the hard times.

    When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The “worst” is never the worst.

    Why? Because the Master won’t ever walk out and fail to return. If he works severely, he also works tenderly. His stockpiles of loyal love are immense. He takes no pleasure in making life hard, in throwing roadblocks in the way: (‭Lamentations‬ ‭3‬:‭25-33‬ MSG)

    Your life is being directed by God and He is directing it somewhere amazing!!! He can be trusted…..😄

    Rolain

    Liked by 3 people

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