Last week I opened my teenage diary to do some research for the book. It was strange reading the writings of this girl who didn’t know what was happening to her, who couldn’t understand her tears, who also writes about fancying unobtainable boys and friendship squabbles. The two sit side by side in this diary – teenage trials of first loves and homework next to the the confusion and desperation caused by the depression which forced itself into my life.
I’m very glad I wrote the diary, it’s making my job as a writer much easier. It’s also a wonderful chance to look back through the pages of my life and see God’s hand writing alongside my own.
In and around the desperate words of exhaustion, sit the power of God to awaken even the most fragile of hopes.
It’s not particularly easy to look back at the hardest and most painful times of my life, but there is something particularly beautiful about seeing Jesus move on every page; staying my hand and holding hope before me.
So often in the midst of the ordinary, we miss the glory of a God who shows up in our stories at the moments we least believe it could be possible.
As Pete Grieg writes in his recent book, Dirty Glory:
“This is the staggering message of Christ’s incarnation: God’s glory became dirt so that we the scum of the earth might become the very glory of God.”
Weaved through the diary of my teenage years in the promise I held onto the tightest. That God “moved into the neighbourhood”. It was then, and it still is now at the very centre of my hope and the very centre of my faith.
As I look back through the pages of those darkest years; I see the Light of the World shining when I couldn’t see it and when I couldn’t understand it. Where then I could see only glimpses, now I’m hit with the force of God’s light through my story, and through yours.
And if this book does nothing other than offer a glimpse of that light – I’m okay with that.