In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.—Genesis 1:1 (NIV)
We were prepared for our daughter’s birth, but her congenital illness was a surprise. It turned our world upside down. Tending a healthy newborn is stressful. Add a strict feeding timetable, ever-changing symptoms and a schedule of medications and it becomes chaotic. We lived in a hurricane. Any calm was quickly followed by gale winds blowing from the opposite direction.
To cope, I began charting her care. I drew a grid on a piece of paper. Each day I recorded every feeding, medication, temperature check and diaper change. The rows and columns brought a sense of order that had been missing for a long time.
I also started keeping a journal. With notebook and pen, I recorded my thoughts, emotions, responses, hopes, prayers. Line by line, I brought order to my inner life, which also had been absent for too long.
God created our world by bringing order from chaos. He gave us predictable cycles of morning and evening, summer and winter, workweek and Sabbath. Without that, our lives become unlivable. When change becomes overwhelming, we must restore that balance.
I could not control the course of my daughter’s illness, but I could at least get up at the same time, eat breakfast, drink coffee, pray and journal my thoughts. This ritual gave me a sense of order and calm. It still does.