Back in early 2016 (some date in early February), I had found a note I had written to myself exactly one year prior (February 2015). In that note, I was telling myself how strong I was, how beautiful I was, and how I needed to remember that. I was encouraging myself in that moment because I was feeling extremely sucky after a situation with a guy turned out to be trash. Although I was feeling like complete crap, I felt the need to write down what I wanted to feel: happiness. Fast forward one year later, I had found out that this same guy that I was so hung up over had gotten engaged. Although I internally wished the best for them, deeeeeeeep down I was feeling some type of way: lonely and unloveable. At this moment I decided to rummage through my things and came across a notebook so I could write down how I was feeling, only to see the note that I had written to myself a year prior.
I was so shocked! I had to keep re-reading the date and checking my phone to make sure that it was indeed the exact date. I called my mom and explained everything to her and how I was feeling and how this note had given me the encouragement I was needing. It was like a breath of fresh air that I had given myself. It honestly only could’ve been God that knew that in exactly one year’s time, I would need to read those words of encouragement that I wrote to myself one year earlier when I was feeling at one of my lowest points.
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Growing up, my mom would always tell me to write everything down. Everything. My thoughts, my dreams (both literal and those that I wanted to achieve), to do lists, everything. And even though I miss her voice reminding me of that, her words still echo in my mind every so often. Recently, my sister and I moved into a new place. With moving, you come across a lot of things that you forgot where even there. In the process of packing and unpacking, we came across multiple notebooks that belonged to my mom (we recently gave away a bunch of her stuff while moving. It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in awhile and emotionally I felt drained).
As I flipped through the notebooks, I saw that my mom had written down everything. From sermons, to things she learned from the Bible, to her nightly dreams, to her goals, to her prayers for my sister and I. It was amazing. I knew she would document things, but I didn’t realize the level to which she was doing so. I’m sure she probably did it for her own self, not knowing that one day she would leave this earth prematurely and leave us with the gems of her words.
Seeing those notebooks has pushed me to get even more serious about writing things down. I’ve always written out my goals and such, but I’ve wanted to be more intentional with other things that I can make plain (Habakkuk 2:2). I recently started writing out my dreams. I have some of the most interesting dreams and usually after 5 minutes of waking up, the details of the dream start fleeting. I can recall one night waking up once my dream was over, turning on my salt lamp, writing out every detail of the dream I had, and then going back to sleep. When I woke up the next morning, I reread what I wrote and I was a little stunned. It was about my mom. And while I don’t feel comfortable sharing all those details, it was probably one of the best dreams I’ve had in a long time. And now I will always remember it.
In addition to writing out my dreams, I have a notebook to write out all my frustrations. Yep, I get frustrated a lot. 2017 was the year of frustration for me and I wrote all that stuff down. It was the only way I could release. I would write out my disappointment with God, with people, even with myself. It felt great to actually “talk” it out. Just the other day I opened the notebook and read how angry I was at one point. I didn’t realize it then, but I was in a state of depression. This bitterness had taken over me and reading those words made me sad. And while I still have those feelings every now and then, having a physical memory of that helps me to put things into perspective when I feel like things are spiraling out of control.
Lastly, I have a notebook dedicated to my goals. This is where I write down everything that I desire. And although I am ok with not every single one of those things coming to pass, writing it out helps to keep me on track. While I don’t believe that God dishes out blessings based on merit and hard work, I do believe that we need to work hard in order to be more prepared for said blessing. So writing out what I want to achieve and how I want to achieve it is my way of getting myself prepared. Writing things out holds me accountable.
I hope this encourages someone to start being more intentional with writing things down. Whatever it is, it could help you out in a year’s time, or maybe even 5 years time. It could be something that you pass down to other people in your family. But most importantly, writing your thoughts down will help you.
Until next time…
All Photography by Kristen Ashley