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If Journals Could Talk

Photo courtesy of JoelMontes' photostream via Flickr
Photo courtesy of JoelMontes’ photostream via Flickr

April 10, 1972 Dear Diary, Monday. How I hate Mondays.

August 8, 2004 Dear Diary, Sunday. I feel like certain aspects of my life are spinning out of control. I wish I could get a handle on things.

January 25, 2009 Dear Diary, Sunday. Today was a good day. I went to church and then slept all day.

November 14, 2009 Dear Diary, Saturday. Trying to change your life to include God on a daily basis is a whole new thing for me. I love this quote by Andrew Murray: “I must take time to come into God’s presence, to feel my weakness and my need, and to renew my fellowship with Him.”

February 12, 2011 Dear Diary, Saturday. I have started writing a blog. It is a Christian woman blog. I try to write things that will help people cope with life. I want them to know that even if you have totally messed up, Jesus will take you just where you are and help you clean up your mess.

November 5, 2012 Dear Diary, Monday. The days have passed by in a numbing stream. I know that God is holding me. The prayers of my friends lift me up.

For as long as I can remember I have kept a journal. While the earliest of my thoughts have long faded from memory (most of my journals were lost in a fire), I recently found one from 1972 that somehow had made its way into a box that someone else in my family had. I was 12 (yes, I know that I am old. Thanks for the reminder) and quite wrapped up in spend-the-night parties, a certain boy at school, and hating PE. Obviously I was not a fan of Mondays back then either.

Recently, in an effort to sort through boxes full of things long since forgotten, I found some old journals of ancestors. Faded pages in beautiful script that I struggled to read. When I got up from my place on the floor several hours later, I had learned that in my ancestry was Bishop Francis Asbury, who founded the Methodist Church in America. Most of my ancestors went west in wagon trains and settled on homesteads throughout the west. One relative traveled over 20,000 miles on horseback as an ordained minister. There were horrific deaths, long struggles, wars fought, babies born, gardens planted. But the words that kept rising up again and again from the pages settled in my heart. “I consider myself blessed.” No matter the outcome. No matter the trial.

The dictionary defines a journal as: “a daily record, as of occurrences, experiences, or observations.” To some, a journal is just a few words on a daily calendar, a reminder of doctor appointments, birthdays, or exciting events. To some, it is a place to record important dates such as a first kiss, a trip to Disney, or a particularly poignant moment in time. But to others it is a place to pour out the deepest parts of ourselves, our thoughts, our prayers, our worries, our joys. And for a relative few, it is a place where the written words have changed the hearts of those who came after.

While there is no place in the Bible that specifically calls us to write in a journal, it is obvious that the written word is very important. In Numbers 33:2 Moses is told by God to keep a written record of their journey out of Egypt. In the sixth chapter of Esther, the King has the record of his reign read back to him which led to an unexpected outcome for Esther’s uncle Mordecai. Thank goodness for David who carefully wrote down his thoughts and prayers as he cried out to God. One psalmist even spoke of writing down the prayers in Psalm 102:18: “Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord:” (NIV). What if Paul had not written down his struggles, his love for the Lord, his absolute devotion to spreading the Gospel?

The author Franz Kafka wrote in his book Diaries, 1910-1923 (Schocken Classics Series): “In the diary you find proof that in situations which today would seem unbearable, you lived, looked around and wrote down observations, that this right hand moved then as it does today, when we may be wiser because we are able to look back upon our former condition, and for that very reason have got to admit the courage of our earlier striving in which we persisted even in sheer ignorance.” There is so much truth in that statement. How often have I looked back into years gone by to see that what I once thought was overwhelming or tragic turned out to be something that changed my life for the better.

How many lives have been inspired by The Diary of a Young Girl, the well-kept thoughts of All My Road Before Me: The Diary of C. S. Lewis, 1922-1927, and the beautiful prayerful insights of Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta?

It is our stories that bind us together. The roads we have traveled. The Scriptures we have learned. The hardships we have endured. The joys we have experienced.

It is your grief-filled plea to an all knowing God written down on an obscure page in a notebook that might someday be the words that a grandchild needs to read when her own heart is breaking. To know that she is not alone, that he can overcome, that God does hear and answer prayers.

It is the overwhelming joy that you feel when you see the hand of God in your life that might someday help a discouraged heart become whole once again. To read those words of gratitude written so carefully on tear-stained pages will help her remember what she has. To read about Scriptures that brought light into the dark places will let him see the need for a deeper understanding.”Dearest Loving and Almighty God, my Adonai, let me tell You about my day.”

What will your page say?

About michelle welch

Michelle Welch a wife/mom/sister/friend/writer/ speaker who, in a moment of surrender, met God at 50. She is married to her best friend Mark, a helicopter pilot, who helps her keep her feet on the ground. She travels the country in her RV visiting her blended family of 10 children, 12 grandchildren, and 1 great grandchild. After learning that God's grace and mercy is available to everyone, she sold her businesses to devote herself full time to serving His Kingdom. When they are home in The Woodlands, Texas they attend Church Project and when on the road, they may be sitting in the pew behind you!
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