I got my first journal when I was in 7th grade from my Great Aunt Ruby. She wrote on the tag "key on back cover" and I thought it said, "key on wrap paper." It was years before I discovered that key inside the back cover. If you had read her writing, you would completely understand!
I began writing in it immediately. I remember that I began my first several entries with "Dear Diary" before realizing that I wasn't really the "Diary" type. It reminded me of a Judy Blume character. I wasn't talking to a book. My journal was between me and Jesus. After that, I just wrote about whatever was on my mind as if no one in particular would ever see it, but I always knew that God knew exactly what those pages said.
In junior high and even high school, I remember writing a lot about boys. I wasn't overtly boy crazy. I didn't date a lot in high school, but my journals from those days definitely tell a story about a girl who liked a few boys but wasn't brave enough to tell them.
My first date is in my high school journal. My first big break-up. The story of a failed scholarship audition followed by a couple much more successful auditions. Prom. Graduation. Parties. I loved high school, and my journal certainly reflects that.
I was thinking about this today and how my journal has changed since then. While I wrote about what God was doing in my life in high school, I spent a lot more time writing about my faith in college. Since college, my faith journey is what the words on my journal pages reflects most of the time. I am glad for that.
My journals contain talks with God. Poems I've written. Scripture which spoke to me and on which I meditated. Stories of our lives. Ups. Downs. Prayer requests. Praises. Confessions. All the drama that is in my head. My journal is my story. It speaks volumes. It speaks private thoughts that I have shared with no one. I use it to work out the hard stuff, to remind me of the tough stuff that God walked me through, that He carried me through. Reading old entries is good for me.
My journals are the story of God in my life.
There are holes in my journals, long periods of time when I didn't write anything. Life got in the way. Babies. Major moves. Spiritually dry times. Times when I didn't connect with God daily.
Those holes speak volumes too. They speak of how God sought me out and always brought me back. He not only accepted me, but He gathered me from afar when needed. He sought me out like every Good Shepherd does.
Some day, I hope that my children enjoy this story of God in my life. I hope they read the struggles and the pain and the praises and the joy with every emotion that I felt as I wrote them. I hope they see a few tears in the smeared ink. I hope they hear the laughter as I tell of the times that God moved in glorious ways. I hope that someone, someday is completely blessed by what God has done in my humble journey and that they realize what I most want them to know from reading those pages...We've all been there. We are not alone. We all hurt. We all get blessed. We all have a story.
For now, it is my story, and I will keep it to myself.
How about you? Do you tell your story somewhere? Do you blog? Journal? I know it isn't for everyone, but try it. It is amazing what God can do through something so very, very simple.