Freedom Journal

Tonight, I opened up a document I started in 2015 that I titled my "Freedom Journal." It's a place for me to write unhindered and unfiltered, and I am now a firm believer that most of us should have a Freedom Journal of some sort. 

I wrote in it tonight for the first time in almost a year, which is a shame both for my writer brain and my human spirit. Writing does good things for me, and I have neglected the muscle for all sorts of weird reasons that I may try to work out sometime. 

I thought that I'd share tonight's entry as a very nervous attempt at being a bit more gutsy. I realize that some of it may be a bit out of context, but it's honest, and I appreciate honesty. Maybe you do, too. And maybe you also need to get a big more gutsy. I don't know. But here goes:


I’m not even sure that I’ve considered opening this document again until just now. I halfway forgot about it, I think. In the bliss and busy-ness that has been adding Eliana (that's what we named that glorious baby, by the way), I’ve put lots of stuff down just because my hands have been full.

But as I read what I have written, I am reminded about a couple of things.

First, God is really very faithful. I am referring to the baby, the prayed for, longed for, loved baby, but also I'm not. I look back here on all of the honesty, all of the questions, and I see so much that I still have not figured out. But I see some small, steady progress, and it is all due to the Holy Spirit. You know how I know? It’s all growth that has come in a way I wouldn’t have asked for, in timing I wouldn’t have planned, and it’s changed things in me that I didn’t know needed changing. 

Also, I realize that there’s always content to write. I enjoy reading those things I wrote. I know that the words often felt like ramblings (I mean, right now, these words feel like ramblings), but that doesn’t mean that they weren’t worth writing. Self, let me tell you now, your heart and your thoughts and your struggle and your process is never accidental. Your shape is not wrong. Your heart is sometimes misguided, but the Lord is pleased with you.

Oh, that happened. It’s worth recording.
I had a moment within the last few months (I think I measure lots of recent things this way — pre-Eliana and post-Eliana) where I was driving, not praying, and I remember just where I was in that neighborhood by the church. Right then, this Presence settled inside my chest, and I felt the sweetest words I didn’t know I needed to hear — “I’m pleased with you.” 
Even now, typing it, I’m not sure I can articulate all the ways I need that truth.
It felt like one big stamp — pleasure with me because of who I am, not what I do. And pleasure with my efforts, fumbling though they are. And pleasure with my space, the one I’ve been given. 
I keep going back to that, rolling the words and the feeling around in my brain. It’s changing me, and I’m interested to see what I think about it 1, 5, 10 years down the road. I hope I let it keep doing work inside. 

One thing I do want to notice is that I still have some of the same struggles and desires. I want to simplify our life. I feel like we aren’t exactly lining up with our intentions. It makes me wonder if I am doing this always — measuring the way things are versus the way I want them to be. And it makes me wonder what stops me from pursuing the life I envision for us. Because it’s not huge stuff. I’d make changes to our schedule, our food, our possessions. These are harder areas for me than starting big things. Follow through isn’t my best quality. 

I realize that I’ve said more than a couple of things, but I didn’t anticipate bringing up all of this.

I must write. This is the last truth that has come from this, I promise (at least for tonight). I must find a space to work out all that goes on in my mind and heart and spirit. Putting fingers to keys or pen to paper allows me to process in a way nothing else does.

AND, done. 
It wasn't glamorous, and I didn't write it for anyone else, and I don't always intend to share what I write there. But there's something a little freeing about this kind of honesty. And I haven't even pressed publish yet.


Today, I have been married for eight years. Instead of a fancy dressed-up night date, we went out during the day, in our mini-van, during school hours. 

We ended up sitting in a bookstore, knees touching, him reading Hiroshima, me reading Maya Angelou. This makes us sound educated and fancy, but it's a rarity. It's just a rarity that makes me really happy. Anyway. I've been in some sort of mental/emotional process lately, and I kept interrupting his reading to talk about it. We ate Thai food for lunch, and I continued to verbally unpack my brain over rice noodles and peanut sauce. 

This is what marriage looks like without some of the glamour, I think. Today, we talked through my mess. Last week, we talked through his. In between, we held hands and hugged the kids and emailed the teacher back and he folded laundry.

These days, we get tired because of the babies who now talk at us while we try steal moments alone to kiss (or to argue). Our eyes meet over their heads -- sometimes to laugh, sometimes to glare, sometimes for a lifeline. Often for a lifeline. 

Until Billy, I always was unsatisfied in friendship. I wanted one person to be my person, to get me, to always be for me, to know what I'm thinking just by looking at my face. In so many ways, he is that. And in some small ways, he is not. He is only human. We misunderstand each other. We think we know one another, and then something new comes to the surface. Gracious -- we think we know our own selves, and then something new comes to the surface. We're growing up together.

This day, this eighth anniversary, I want to celebrate the life that is revealing itself as the glitter fades. I celebrate the efforts we've made to be for us when it was messy and really not cute. I celebrate the way he is so much more of a man than he was, so much more confident, so much more willing to admit when he is wrong, and so much more willing to tell me when I am. I celebrate the way he has stayed up late counseling me, diving into the depths with me, pulling me out gently and patiently, making my crazy feel not so crazy. I mean, I couldn't have ever articulated it before, but I think that is one of the most wonderful things we can do for each other -- make the other's crazy seem just a bit less so. 

I celebrate that he, too, doesn't seem to know what to do as a parent but that he keeps experimenting right along side me.

Last night, we were trying to correct our oldest child on some attitude issues. I am unqualified for this. As we were talking, I mean, just really trying to figure out what to say as we were saying it, I burst into laughing. I couldn't stop. This little human is watching us, being molded and growing, and we are truly just trying our best, but we are just winging it (and praying, too, I promise). I had to get up and leave the table so that Billy could try to salvage the moment without starting his own laughter.

There is nobody I'd rather wing it with and pray with and laugh at inappropriate times with than him.