31 March 2014

Author & Finisher of the Notebook

From one of the retreat hikes
I have this old leather bound book-part sketchbook, part notebook, part journal, part prayer book.  I picked it up in 2003 during a trip to Galena, Illinois.  I keep it in a drawer in the coffee table.  It's very handy that way.  It isn't full yet, several more years to go, I'm sure.  The book has walked with me through some pretty difficult times in my life, through some dark times, through some pretty amazing times too.  It's become a chronology of the last decade of my life.

In February, 2008, it followed me to a cabin in southern Indiana for a focused time of prayer and seeking God.  I prepped my time by writing out several probing questions I wanted to ponder.  Instead I came back, questions unanswered, but with a much broader understanding of what God was doing in my life by just telling me to stop and enjoy "the clearing".  Several pages were filled during that retreat-and in looking back the scribbles became almost prophetic as life took some surprising turns later that same year.

Earlier this year we scheduled a meeting of the Historic Michigan Road Association in Madison, Indiana last week.  Realizing my wife and kids would be in Florida, and that I really love that area of Indiana-it seemed only appropriate to take a few days for myself.  But, booking a room where I had wanted to stay became an issue and ultimately I landed on returning to the state park, an hour away from Madison, where I had retreated to the cabin in 2008.  This only seemed appropriate since my wife "gifted" this retreat idea to me at Christmas.

The notebook followed me again to the cabin.  Early Thursday morning, before I set out for a hike, I started flipping through the book and landed on the pages filled six years ago.  So much has happened in those six years.  The words I read began to settle pretty deep in my soul.  And on the sleet-bathed hike they began to gnaw at me.  I got back to the cabin, plopped down on a couch, and started flipping back page by page chronologically.  And what it revealed, honestly, began to almost overwhelm me.

There was God.  Every step of the way.  In every page, walking through this notebook as if He were the author building and revealing plot lines in His own timing.  In simple journal entries from reading through the Bible in a year, in entries made from questions out of a book about our destinies, in simple questions and prayers that I scribbled down beginning in 2003.  In freehand sketch after sketch of the David Tree, of the lake outside that cabin, of a cleansing waterfall.

After reading aloud the fifth or sixth entry to my buddy who was trying to do his own thing......he said "that's quite a record" probably to shut me up.  I know, right?  So, I made a simple entry in the book during this retreat.  I wrote out my life verse, Micah 6:8, and journal-prayed it underneath the passage.  And that seemed like enough.  The affirmation found in seeing God page after page, made me realize.....well.....that that's all I really needed to know.  He'll be in future pages building and revealing the plot.  God, the Author & Finisher of our faith, my faith.....here in a tangible notebook.

2 comments:

Jim said...

What an incredibly valuable record. You are fortunate to have it.

hoosier reborn said...

Thank you-it really has added a new perspective on things for me.