I have kept a journal for as long as I can remember. I would start one and write feverishly for a week or two (that’s about as long as my consistency lasted) and then it would dwindle down to every once in a while for a
vomiting venting session between my pen and I.
The thing was, whenever I would go back and read what I wrote, my cheeks burned with embarrassment. I would rip the pages out and start over. But the same thing kept happening.
I threw a lot of garbage away. So I would quit journalling, but then I would start up again and the same cycle would continue. I would write nonsense about the weather and the weeds growing and doing the dishes and my angst with people and my insecurities and it would turn into another vomit/venting session. Time would pass and I would take a trip down memory lane and flush with embarrassment as I considered my words. I would either hide the evidence or rip the pages out and start again.
Until one day I started thinking: ‘Do I want my kids reading this garbage when I am dead?’ The answer was a resounding ‘no!’ I didn’t want my kids to just know about the ugliness in my heart. I wanted them to know how my garbage met Jesus and changed me for the better.
How could I turn my rambling journal thoughts about the messiness of my heart into an honest portrayal of a woman bent on living and loving and serving God while staying true about my struggles, but not staying in the struggle?
This became my quest.
I decided to be a ‘life-giver journaller’. I wasn’t sure what that looked like, but I wanted to be able to leave my journals as a life-giving gift to my lovelies after I died. So I bought a pretty journal because beauty inspires me. It was lavender pseudo-suede that I found on the end-cap of a discount store. I dated it and the blank page sat there, staring at me, mocking me, daring me to fall into the same ugly writing habit.
That blank page turned into a fledgling attempt at turning all my garbage and brokenness into an offering of praise. I would write verses that spoke to me and then an application for my life in my present season.
Yes, I wrote about the ugliness of my heart and the garbage would spill out, but this time I laid God’s word over my words and saw things through his lens. I said my truth and then I covered it with his Truth.
And for the first time, my words became life-giving.
I wrote as a gift to my kids, but I also wrote to myself.
Encouraging my heart. Examining my heart. Exercising my heart.
Now, when I take a walk down memory lane, I see remembrances of the evidence of God in my life. I see how he showed up in my ugliness and messiness and insecurities and emotional brokenness and brought healing and life. Through his word in my words.
I don’t hide my journals anymore. I have one on a bookshelf, a couple others are kept on a side table by my favorite chair. They are there for me to leaf through and be encouraged. The current one is with my bible and comes out each time I open God’s word.
I write about the nitty-gritty stuff of my heart and life. I also write about the joys and triumphs. I write quotes from books that affect my heart. But mostly I write those books to be a gift to my lovelies to give life to their hearts and for them to see into their flawed mama’s heart as she struggled along loving them well.
Proverbs 16:24: ‘Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.’
How do you use your words to bring life? Is this an area you struggle in? If you are a journaller, do you have hidden journals that need to see the truth of God laid over them?