It was hideous.
I was just short of disgusted with it and ashamed. So I hid it away, hoping to forget about it. I was ready to throw it away, but my dear mother said no, “You will get better at it, and then when you make a perfect one, you will be able to look back and see how far you have come.”
Grudgingly, I decided that I might as well use it after all, I was taught not to waste things, but the truth is, I thought I had already wasted the paper, string, and the genuine leather. Tucked away in a tote, I tried to forget about it, but I never truly forgot, and then God started showing me that I was just like that journal.
I had begun the creative process with the dream of making beautifully handmade books. My romanticism always loved the idea of stacks of paper, covered with handwritten ink, all wrapped up in beautiful, smooth leather.
Reality would have none of that. I set out hoping to make it perfect and beautiful, but I ended up with an uneven, crooked, and a sloppy mess of paper, leather, and string.
Then I realize that I am just like that journal. I am a sloppy mess of a person, fighting every day my spoiled sin and pride that would pull me away from those I love. Yet God looks at me and says,” That one is mine. I love her, I have made her, and she very, very good.” He saw all my sin, and He took it upon himself so that I might be free. I am redeemed.
When I thought about this, I realized that I could not throw this pitiful thing in a corner all by itself to gather dust.
I tore out the pages I had already written in a different journal, one that was perfectly neat and prim, and a placed them in the handmade journal, and wrote my first entry. You see, I knew how I could redeem this pitiful thing, I knew how to make it beautiful. By filling it with beautiful words, filling it with the story of how Jesus was redeeming me and the world, I knew it would not be so ugly. In fact, it would be a treasure of books.
If one was to read my journals, you would not find them all happy cheery. You would most likely find pain, sorrow, loneliness, often anger, and many wails out to God haunting their pages. You would also see joy and jubilee, fun and laughter as well, gracing the pages and brightening your eyes. That’s the beauty of it all, that even in our messy lives Jesus gives us gifts of joy, of redemption, and even in those ugly times, draws us closer to Him.
I don’t see the homemade journal as a ugly thing that needs to be thrown away anymore, I see it as a beautiful mess. A little book for me to record my hopes, dreams and prayers, and a reminder of just how much I am loved by my Creator.