Have you ever had one of those gifts that only you knew you really wanted or were looking for, but then all the sudden it showed up, as a gift straight from Jesus? Well, that was my recent experience in South Africa.
Journals have always been important to me–special. I am not one who journals every day, but some things just need to be recorded–life journeys, journeys with God, stones of remembrance. Those are the sorts of things that make their way into my journals. Each journal marks a season of life somehow. I can look at a journal and am reminded about so many things in that particular season. Some of my journals are just a “purchase” but others are really a stone of remembrance.
Last August, I had just finished a journal recording some very dark and hard places, and I felt like the Lord had a special journal for me for the next leg of the journey. He had put a particular store on my mind for a journal, but when I got there, the store was actually out of business and there was a second hand store there instead. I thought it was strange that He put that store on my heart and then it didn’t exist, so I just decided to go into the second hand store and look anyway. Would you believe that there was ONE journal. I didn’t even know that these stores would sell a journal, but they did AND it was new and not written in. I just knew it had been specially picked for me–for this season. Here it is:
Funny thing, but when I saw it, I wasn’t that excited. It was monochrome. It wasn’t very pretty, and “growing things in silence” didn’t sound very fun to me. Truth be told, it hasn’t been fun–at all–but in coming to the end of this journal I wrote in ink in a circle around that tree, “…They will be called OAKS of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.” Isaiah 61:3. That’s my prayer…that this season and the roots that grow in deep places in sorrow and suffering will produce strength and fruit from Jesus like none other and that I will display His splendor somehow.
As I closed out this journal during my trip to Africa, I felt like the Lord had a new journal for me specifically from South Africa for this next season for some reason. When I was there in early March, I had asked one of the women at the conference if she knew where I could buy a South African journal in Johannesburg. She gave me a couple of great ideas, and I was heading to the city that next Saturday and was going to look.
Right before I left Camp Eden, I had breakfast with John and Lorna Abrahmse, two dear friends that run a ministry called J-life where I was staying and participating in their annual summit. As breakfast was being prepared I was talking with Lorna and saw a bar of chocolate on the table–a kind I had never seen before. I asked about that flavor, and she said, “Oh, that’s actually for you, and this is too,” and she handed me a journal–a South African journal.
I was actually somewhat speechless, because, as many of you know, I always have tea and chocolate every morning with Jesus–even in Africa, though it’s a little melty there sometimes :-), and I had just run out that very morning. And…the journal. Lorna had no idea that I was planning to go to Johannesburg to buy a South African journal, but the Giver of all good gifts did. He amazes me. In addition to the gift of a South African journal, He even gave me one that is fun and colorful for this next season! I’m so excited about that, let me just tell you!
His gifts–He knows us and provides for us in intimate ways if we have eyes to see–sometimes before we even ask. Thank you, Lorna, for your sweet generosity and for being the conduit of His good gifts to me! I’m so grateful…