From my Journal

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  • (I have been keeping some sort of a journal since 1938, often not writing in it every day, but recording events big and small, my conundrums, my joys. …here is an excerpt from my journal from September, 1969. I had married Addison Leitch on New Year’s Day, 1969, and I was learning how to juggle my new responsibilities. Although it represents quite a different set of circumstances from the ones I had in the jungle, I was still thinking about how my daily life was meant to be ordered, under God.) 

    September 29, 1969 

    It is a Monday morning and having put last night’s and this morning’s dishes in the dishwasher, I washed the remaining pots and pans, cleaned up the stove and counter, made the bed, and cleaned up the puppy’s scatterings. Then I checked my list for today: grocery-shopping, doctor’s appointment, pick up photographs, call locksmith to fix bathroom door, clean Add’s study, put prices on things for garage sale, write Tom, call Katherine, finish making skirt, wash hair, get out winter clothes, return book to library, iron, have Elizabeth for lunch. Now I have come down to my study to try to put in two hours of writing. 

    But first I prayed, asking God for guidance today—how to do things serenely, in their proper order and each as an offering of faith to Him in whose hands are my “times.” I asked also for clear direction as to my new responsibilities. Having been recently married and recently moved into a new house and community—how shall I know what to do to help my husband, my daughter (who is in a new school), my church, the college where Add teaches, my new neighbors, my “reading public”? It is all too easy to leap into the saddle and ride off in all directions. 

    “Next week I’ve got to get organized,” I tell myself. But I know the absurdity of such a resolution. It won’t work. It’s today that I have, only today, so I’d better organize my tasks and do them carefully, one by one. And the Lord who walked this earth and knows all its exigencies and interruptions and frustrations walks with me. 

    September 30, 1969 

    Sitting on flat granite rocks by the sea. The water is calm and swells gently in the morning sunshine, sliding up the dark brown seaweed-covered rocks. A single lobster fisherman checks his pots. The motor of his boat is muffled in the distance. Seagulls and crows glide nearby. 

    Yesterday’s schedule went fairly well. The photographs were not finished, though they had been promised ten days ago. The bank had closed at 2:30; I got there at 3:00. But we are not let loose in a chaotic world. Our lives, as God promised David, are “ordered in all things and sure.” So a trifle like a ten-mile drive to find one’s photographs not yet ready must mean something, and we walk in faith if we can believe that and give thanks.

    **Excerpt originally published in the July/August 2003 Elisabeth Elliot Newsletter.