The other day, I realized that I had been writing in a journal fairly regularly for just over 20 years. As I look back through my thoughts and prayers, I see some times in which I wrote a few times per week, and other times that I would miss 1-3 years of writing. The years of experiences which produced our book, A Recipe for Survival, are an example of one of those longer gaps.
Now looking back at the years before that gap, I see a prayer that showed up regularly: “Lord, draw me closer to Yourself.” I realized recently that one of the main ways we are drawn closer to Him are through trials…. so the very trials I resented were the answer to my prayer! I just didn’t think at the time that I prayed for a closer walk with the Lord that He would use temporary difficulties to show me my sin, and therefore, increase my appreciation for His eternal salvation of my soul. Seeing my prayers from years ago helped me gain a fresh perspective on trials.
Another good result from keeping a journal on a semi-regular basis is the reminder of how God brought me through past difficulties. I see how something consumed my attention in the past and how I prayed about it and now, years later, the issue is barely in my memory. Sadly, that may also mean that I easily forget how God graciously worked to either change my circumstances or change my heart to accept His will (with joy) in that particular situation.
Maybe the Psalmist also suffered from a poor memory when it came to remembering all that the Lord had brought him through, so he reminded himself to forget none of His benefits:
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
May we remember all of the Lord’s benefits to us who are relying solely on Christ’s perfect life, death and resurrection for our eternal salvation! We, as rebellious sinners, deserved instant physical death and eternal suffering for our hateful rebellion against God. He kindly turned us from the path we were on, gave us hearts that love the truth and did all that was necessary to reconcile us to Himself. And He did this all for the praise of His glorious grace! What love He has shown!
Brody and I have started experimenting more with salads since they are satisfying, can be thrown together rather quickly after some previous, simple preparation, and they don’t require heating up the kitchen on hot days. Here is one of our latest concoctions:
Basic Mexican Chicken Salad
Ahead of time:
Boil some chicken breasts; slice or dice them after they cool.
Prepare some Basic Black Beans (See Appendix B in A Recipe for Survival.)
Cook some quinoa (See Appendix A in A Recipe for Survival.)
Wash the lettuce and cilantro.
Store all the ingredients in the refrigerator.
When you’re ready to eat the salad,
Chop the cabbage, shred the lettuce, chop the cilantro and dice the tomatoes.
Add all ingredients in the proportions you like onto your plate. Finish the flavors with salt, freshly ground black pepper, some lemon and lime juice or zest, a diced garlic clove and dried red pepper.
Cut the avocado and add this last.
Be filled with a satisfying combination of flavors and nutrients!