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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Chronicling Your Life

One of the wonders of journaling is that
it interprets us to ourselves.*

When I was a teen I kept many angst-filled journals full of sappy poetry and the occasional entry about my love-starved life. I don't believe I ever finished a journal, but I have many half-full books sitting in a dusty box somewhere that were begun with sheer optimism and the dream of someday being published.

Life, as they say, happens. I never got those poems published (never tried) and yet I still have the desire to write. My journals these days are not the pretty overpriced ones that catch my eye at the bookstore, but cheap marble-covered composition books from the dollar store. My journal is where I figure my life out, work out a search for meaning, and store God's fingerprints in written form.

Why journal?

Just as we have stories from thousands of years ago to relay to us the way God worked within the lives of the Israelites, and on through the stories of Jesus, there are some things in our lives that deserve to be remembered. My journal now is mainly a spiritual one. I pour out my soul to God in quasi-prayers, sometimes shouting on paper, sometimes whispering, but always being honest. Journaling is my gift to myself.

As a spiritual practice, journaling is
really about authenticity...

The past two years have been full of trials for me. I struggled with post-partum depression, which then overlapped a trying time in my job within the church. I lost faith in people, I lost faith in myself, and, for a time, I lost faith in God. Now on the other side of that dark valley I feel an inexpressible gratitude for the words in my journal. The brutal honesty, the pain, the uncertainty, and the doubt have a voice forever, but more importantly, the light that comes through those pages as I progress through the darkness back into a life of faith is no less powerful than the breaking of the dawn over a cold, dark horizon.

January 24, 2009

"Can I learn to accept who I've become? That is the necessary question. It seems this shadow is what I've become, for better or worse, and now begins the painful process of embracing this new person...The loss of my joy and the ensuing bitterness and rudderlessness has seeped in and changed who I am..."

March 19, 2009

"Looking back I can't even believe the utter despair and loss of faith I experienced. It is as though you are speaking so clearly now in every moment, from every place- shouting out your presence to me. Why did I go through that dark time? I still don't completely understand, but experience has shown me that over time I will see bits and pieces of your purpose in my suffering...You have brought me through, and I am filled with thankfulness."

Growth. Gratitude. Maturity. Joy. Understanding. Relationship. All of these are waiting to be harvested upon beginning, and sustaining, a journaling life.

So I ask you...

What stories do you have just beneath the soil waiting to be told?

*Quotes from Journaling as a Spiritual Practice, by Helen Cepero*

Copyright protected 2009. Contents of this post are the property of Christine Hiester. Used by permission

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Blogger Denise said...

Awesome post dear one.

June 4, 2009 at 3:07 AM  
Blogger Cafe Mocha Momma said...

I can attest to the power of journaling! I've been doing so off and on for decades now. It never ceases to amaze me how I can look back over tear-stained pages and see the light of God in the midst of great darkness. Moreover, the joy that comes from being reminded of forgotten blessings and mercies that had been taken for granted develops a heart of gratitude in this sometimes ungrateful soul of mine! Great nudge to start and/or continue the habit.

June 4, 2009 at 5:22 AM  
Anonymous Shelby said...

Great post and I love the quote. I started blogging as a form of a personal journal about a year and a half ago, after my mother died and my marriage took a huge hit. Those entries are not public anywhere, they were always for me to work out my feelings, but I can look back at them now and see how MIRACULOUS God is and what wonderful works He has done for me and in me and through me since that time. I'm really glad I did that journaling and more glad yet that I hung onto those posts because they are proof positive, should anyone ever need it, of HOW FAR God can bring one life in a relatively short time.

June 4, 2009 at 5:36 AM  
Blogger Shannon Jacobyansky said...

Journaling is awesome! I too have journaled for a long time. It is neat to look back and see all the answered prayers!

June 4, 2009 at 6:30 PM  
Blogger Amy Jo said...

I've always wanted to journal - but had this impression that I needed to write neatly in order to do so - ah, perfectionism, stinks! :-) Once I got past the perfectionism, I fell in love with journaling. The messier, the more creative I feel. It's been an amazing process for me - and it's so powerful to look back and see where God was working in my life and remembering all that He has taught me. Now I also try to blog once a day. When I go a day without one or the other, I really miss it. Thanks for sharing your heart! Sweet blessings, Amy

July 1, 2009 at 10:42 PM  

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