I have been a Christian for 27 years. Throughout my walk with Christ, I have learnt and grown so much. I have changed incredibly. As I spend quiet time with the Lord each morning, I keep a notebook by my side and record things that I am learning, things that move or intrigue me, and questions I have. I have managed to fill many notebooks.
Yesterday I found some of these old notebooks, always the same; a visual arts diary with thick, coarse, unlined paper. I just love them. Because the paper is thick, there’s no bleeding ink, and far less deterioration of the writing. I loved reading over my notes yesterday. Beautiful Scriptures that were speaking volumes to me at particular points in time, with my notes and thoughts penciled in next to them. A lot of people write in their Bible, but I don’t. I write in my notebooks. My notebooks are evidence of how much I’ve grown and matured as a Christian. They are like a road map of my spiritual journey; recording how I have moved from questioning different things, to accepting and living them out. There are scrawls of the original Hebrew and Greek words that I have clumsily translated manually, using many Bible tools (before the days of the internet).
A couple of the notebooks are particularly dear to me. After years of spiritual abuse in the Pentecostal Church, I left and felt such a void. My theology which had always been quite sound had been rocked to the core, and I wasn’t sure of what to believe anymore. Prior to joining the Pentecostal Church (my husband’s decision), I was attending one of Australia’s best Bible Colleges. When I started attending the Pentecostal Church and slowly got to know the Pastor and other ‘elders’ better, I was asked to leave the college as it was considered heretical, and dangerous to Pentecostal Theology. I did not want to leave as I have always believed that strong theology is vital to a Christian, but I relented under the ongoing pressure and left. I wanted to be obedient to my husband and to the leadership of the ‘church’. Once I left the Pentecostal Church, I had such a longing to return to my studies and to cast aside the counsel of Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer, and Joel Osteen. Their teachings nauseated me and I wanted to return to solid Bible teaching. I made the decision that for the next few months I would read nothing but my Bible. No commentaries, no devotionals, nothing. Just the pure, unadulterated word of the Lord.
It ended up being a five month journey, and one of the most precious times of my life. I can distinctly remember reading through the book of Romans, and being convicted of election. I was stunned about what I’d read (yes, I’d read it hundreds of times before this point, but suddenly my eyes were opened). I then went through the Bible again to make sure I wasn’t reading something into the text, and found so many Scriptures about election, that I was stunned. It changed my life. I filled so many notebooks with Scriptures, and with my discoveries, and I spent about 5-6 hours per day reading through the Bible and writing notes. I had been diagnosed with a very serious illness at this time and I was too sick to do anything other than sit and read my Bible all day.
Yesterday when I found some of my notebooks in a cane basket of Bible material, I was thrilled. These notebooks contained my findings on election, and what I later discovered to be called Calvinism. These notebooks are so precious to me and just reading through them yesterday brought me such joy. I have a tangible record of my journey and I am so grateful.
I called my beautiful 18 year old daughter into my office after finding the notebooks and told her they were hers to keep. I want her to read through my journey, and see a piece of me that was so life changing. By the time the Lord calls me home my daughter will have quite a collection of notebooks from me. I don’t care about my jewellery, or expensive belongings (I have few) being passed on. Those things to me mean nothing. What I do want my daughter to have is a collection of notebooks written in my hand, sharing with her the journey of her mother with her Lord. A journey I hope inspires her to follow.