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  • Writer's pictureNina Elliot

An Edit We Didn't Want

Updated: Mar 11, 2023

I like to keep a journal where I date and bullet point my prayers. It is to the point, something I could use more practice at in general. It keeps things clean, and it's easy to flip through from time to time and highlight things off and remember past "stuff" I had faced and compare what is written to where I am today.

I'd like to hope that with each passing year, I am growing in wisdom, experiencing Gods favor in my life as well as recognizing His blessings. With the strike of a pink highlight marker, answered prayers jump off of the page.

Aside from this being an exercise in gratitude, which it is, it took a season of intense heartache and instability for this simple act of marking answered prayers to become less of a "high-five" to God, and more of a weapon which I could weld against doubt, fear and discouragement.

Recently my cute little prayer note-pad got trudged through the "Valley of the Shadow" with me, and in the process, got massively inked up.

At this time last summer my husband and I were limping through the month of July. Every morning we woke up from a restless slumber to face the monumental task of dismantling our business of 12 years while experiencing the kind of emotional heaviness that made taking deep breaths hurt.

Everything we knew about our future was uncertain. Putting one foot in front of the other, we cared for our four children, met with our lawyer, dreaded our voicemail and sold our belongings.

By July 30th all our belongings were packed, and the key to our charming Alexandria rental was slid under the mat. From that moment on, we were slowly realizing that the relentless race at which we had been driving our entire lives in order to avoid the inevitable was over, and switching from 5th gear to neutral was unfamiliar and unnerving. And by that evening and 70 miles later, our ride would be pulling into a gravel driveway to our temporary home. I clung to prayers for provision. I cried out daily to God to sustain us. The future was so unclear. Our gas tank was empty.

As if life were a story, mine felt like crumpled papers where entire pages we had spent 12 years writing received red sharpie X's slashed through many key paragraphs, an edit we didn't want. Now, I am in the middle of that awkward first rough draft again, trying to recollect and reclaim what I loved about that first draft and capture them in my current chapter it while not repeating any of it's errors.

Today, while flipping through my tattered prayer journal, layering a fresh highlight onto past pleas, something more powerful than even gratitude stirs inside of me, and the only word I have for it is faith. It's the kind of faith that while cruising in neutral toward the unknown can still look at the window, loosen her grip on the ceiling handle, and enjoy the scenery.

My journal now has 12 months of pages featuring various pink highlights, reminding me that my God cares deeply about all the things, from "groceries this week "and "friendships for my kids" to "a van for our family" and even "God, I would really like to have this specific book that the library doesn't carry" to find it in the Blessing Box at the park two weeks later.

I am fully convinced of three things: 1) God delights in our details, 2) His answers come from random sources at unpredictable times, and 3) It is His delight to keep us digging eagerly onto our messy purses for our pink-highlighter pen.

It is good to remember that as I write this next draft, I hold two pens, one for dreaming, creating and praying, another for gratitude and reflection. I will remember that, while sometimes I get to do my own editing, sometimes it is done to us.. and our story is always all the better from it.

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