While I was in the hospital in November and December, many many packages arrived from Japan containing most of my earthly belongings. I have avoided opening them for the longest time because I just don’t want to think about all that situation. But yesterday I broke down and opened a box. It was a wonderful box, too; just like Christmas. It had a bunch of decorations from my walls, my jewelry box, a photo album, and some books.

Among the books was a notebook that I started when I was in college. It’s one of those black and white, marblized composition books. I think I got the idea from reading “Passion and Purity” by Elisabeth Elliot, in which she describes keeping a journal of quotes and scriptures and songs that encourage her. She named hers her “Omer of manna,” taken from Exodus 16:32, “Fill an omer of it to be kept for your generations; that they may see the bread with which I have fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.” When I began writing in my journal I was going through a rough time and wanted to record the words that gave me peace and encouragement. And I think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. So many times I have looked back on those entries and they’ve helped remind me of the truth that can be easy to forget when times are tough. It’s also nice to look back and reflect on where I’ve been and what God’s brought me through.

The reason I share all this is that I encourage everyone to try this for a while. It’s not something you have to update daily, but when a scripture, song, quote, poem, whatever it may be really speaks to you, jot in down in your journal. You never know when it will come in handy again in your own life or maybe the life of a friend.