– Why Keep a Journal? –
Many ask ‘Why keep a journal?’ My answer – Why NOT keep a journal?
After all, our mind is crowded with a million thoughts every day, and not able to really sort through them. Years ago I thought like might go better if I could just throw my thoughts down on paper, making room for those other thoughts still wrestling around in my head. I started keeping a journal in 1979, when I was only twelve years old. Looking back at the joys, trials, frustrations and excitements I went through has been funny, sad, encouraging, and even a bit embarrassing.
Want to see what my very first writing was?
December 25, 1979 (8th grade)
Well diary, today was Christmas and I got lots of neat stuff like clothes, jewelry, a cool lamp, calendar, makeup and this diary! I’m so happy. Tonight our family seemed to be really close. We told jokes, played games and brought back memories. Bye until tomorrow.
Sweet and simple. But now let’s see how that changed as years went by: my two favorites. One is the last time I wrote before God opened up my heart, making me one of His.
May 14, 1985
Well, sorry. It’s been a while since I last wrote. A quick update. I graduate from Highline High school in twenty-nine days. I’m Eighteen years old and no, life is not easier at eighteen. I have my own car, a Capri. Attend Occupational Skills Center course and love being there half of each school day for the Visual Communication class. Work for Doug Fox Travel driving people to and from the airport while also being a ball girl for the Seattle Mariners. I will be going next year to Highline Community College.
Here. Let me stop. All sounds pretty great don’t ya think? Well . . . the next sentences alters that sound just a hair.
But I am now more confused about the love life. — I have spent the last week-end visiting my best friend and her dorm life. Now listen, love is confusing. As the song goes ‘I’m Hooked on a Feeling’ after that one week-end with the guy I met there. UG!
But now, the most important part. Keep reading.
I’m on my journey to understanding Christianity and what Jesus can do for me. With my two best friends being religious now, it’s all just kinda weird but I’m learning. Is living with love important? Do I depend on finding love too much? God will reward me but when? What’s the Answer? I shall write again. Maybe when my questions are answered.”
I was right because 1 1/2 years later was my next writing, and I’m ever so thankful my questions were answered.
January 2, 1987
How to even begin explaining the past year and a half. The best way to explain is that I got the answer to my last journal-writing’s many questions – I am a new creature and will be rocking for Jesus for all eternity! My two best friends aren’t so ‘religious’ to me anymore. We are all Sisters-In-Christ now! Being Nineteen years old, I now can grab a hold of God and leave the world and my hunt for love behind.
Yep – My hunt for love had ended because God showed me that the most important love I could ever find would be from Him. And even then, I didn’t have to hunt for that. He gave it to me. He chose me to finally feel what sin and love truly was.
Man, did it feel heavy all of a sudden, realizing my sin that had built up those eighteen years. I pleaded for forgiveness.
He then had me feel that, hard to describe, feeling of forgiveness. The weight felt lifted off. Man, did that feel good, feeling that I was then one of His adopted children. Many of those questions before totally made sense!
Ezekiel 36:26 — I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (NKJV)
I plan to write a bit how that all happened but for now I just want to share how good it can be to have, on paper, how God carries you through life. I bet He’d grin ear-to-ear looking back with you as you read all about the small, medium, and large blessings He had done for you in the past. What’s also valuable is noticing how you felt about Him years ago vs. how you feel about Him now.
If you have a journal going already, keep it going. So glad I’ve kept mine going now almost 40 years. But what if you haven’t? Well, it’s never too late.
Marianne Petersen is a former volunteer at a local pregnancy help organization and is actively involved in her local pro-life community. She is also the author of a forthcoming early spring memoir, God and My Pillow. You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more at her blog, marimemoirs.com.