Spiritual Journey: Stolen.
I was crushed. As I drove east on Interstate 40 towards our new home in Nashville, I frantically called all the important numbers I could think of, while trying to hear over the flapping of plastic that covered our recently broken window.
A new ministry job had our family moving from Texas to Tennessee. En route, we stopped for a night in Memphis. Our housing wasn’t available until the next day, and the kids had never experienced the indoor hotel swimming pool (“Dad of the Year” Award went to me). After breakfast and a morning swim, I began moving suitcases from the hotel room back into the car to continue our new Tennessee adventure.
As I neared the car, I stepped on glass.
A thief had broken into it. The moment that thought registered, I felt instant frustration. Anger.
Then the anger led to confusion. I’d unpacked almost everything from the car the night before, so what could they have stolen? What was missing? Even when I met with the police I couldn’t remember what was in the car that might’ve been taken.
But between Memphis and Nashville, it hit me–I’d left one bag in the car overnight. It contained a Ziploc bag, which held all the contents I’d taken from my bank’s safe deposit box– passports, birth certificates, SS cards, and even my wife’s most important jewelry was in the bag.
Most of those things were replaceable. Bu it was the next few items I remembered, that caused me to literally become sick.
Journals, my personal journals. One recorded how God had been dealing with me the last two years, including the very important last six months as God called me from one church to the other.
But there were also other journals in the bag–gone. And those were the ones that caused me to grieve.
For each of my children, I’d started a journal. From the day of their first sonogram, I’d been writing in a journal that was just for them. I planned to give it to them when they moved from my home as adults. Their journals were about them, my faith in God, my hope of their faith in God, their awesome mom, and other “dad needs you to know” stuff.
I could never replace that content. It was worth a lot more to me that anything else stolen from my car. The moment I realized the journals were gone, I was disheartened.
But I chose to journal again for my kids.
With the outset of a new journaling venture, I chose a new plan–a simpler plan for me to start from scratch. I purchased a nice, large leather journal, and its contents were for all four of my kids, one journal to be shared amongst them.
My entries are typically universal. I record what God is teaching me that I want them to know when they’re older. I brag on their mom and the daily sacrifices she makes for them. I write about the importance of manners, and of reading Scripture. I record significant moments in each of their lives, that each of their siblings will be able to celebrate with them as they read about it.
When my oldest child moves from my home, I plan for the journal to go on loan. It will be theirs to keep and read through until their next youngest sibling leaves home. Then they will pass it along. (I realize the journal could forever be lost in a college dorm room, but I’ve dealt with that loss before.)
For me, it’s a part of legacy-leaving. I’ve blogged before on how journaling serves me, how God has used it in my life. Now, I hope the discipline of journaling will allow my kids to remember some very important things (plus some funny things) about their lives and about the lives I believe God has for them.
Consider a journal for your children. You have a lot to say, and it can be a lasting legacy for your family.