I’ve kept journals about my walk with the Lord Jesus for over 25 years. I don’t write every day. Until 6 months ago, I didn’t even date my entries. I wasn’t consistent about length, style, or anything. I just wrote.
From 1983 when I became a born-again Christian to 1993 when my mother died, I wrote about what I discovered as I read and studied the Bible. Everything was new to me and I was basically just trying to take notes as if I was in a college class and there was a huge test next week.
As a botanist and former evolutionist, the creation account in Genesis holds a special place in my heart. A large portion of my early notes focus on Genesis and some of these take the form of actual essays that I have edited and polished over the years. Three or four of these even seem “blog worthy” and I hope to get them posted in the next few weeks or months.
In 1993, following my mother’s death, I began writing with more of myself in the storyline. My focus changed, almost over night, from “this is what the Bible teaches” to “this is what God is doing in my life”. I was catching a glimpse of the big picture – of God’s plan and purpose for me – and it was (and is) glorious! Not because of who I am, but I am amazed at what He is able to do with this lump of clay.
I was now writing for my children – the “story” of my life, of my walk with our Lord. It was intensely personal. I imagined an audience of maybe 15-20 people at most -- close friends, my children and grandchildren, and that was it. My journals became word-pictures of important events I wanted to capture, with as many details as possible. I included names, dates, and places. I wrote about meeting my husband, becoming a Christian, and the event that brought about this new writing style: my mother’s funeral.
Then in November of 2009, I felt God was leading me to make my writing public – very public – in other words, start this blog. But there was a problem – and I’ve been considering how to remedy this situation for the past 6 months. My earliest writing was “flat”. There are great truths, but there isn’t really anything there that makes it mine. By contrast, the later writing was too personal for exposure to the whole world-wide-web. I felt I needed to re-write every essay or abandon them and start fresh, blogging only new stuff.
After months of prayer and procrastination, I’ve decided to edit about a dozen of my old favorite stories to include here over the next several months. I’m feeling it is important to share with you who I was back then so you can make more sense of who I am now. And I’ve noticed that sometimes even my newest writing still refers back to some of these old essays. But the old flat essays will, hopefully, be infused with bits and pieces of my personal walk, thus making them more interesting to read. And those ultra-personal essays will have to become a little less revealing for my family and friends’ sake.
My advice for others who would like to start a spiritual journal is simple – do it! Even if no one else reads your words, it will bring you closer to God. Keep your papers in order by using a 3-ring binder or spiral notebooks. Date and/or number each page as you go. Be personal and include yourself in the storyline. At the same time, be considerate of others. If you’re writing something no one should ever read, then you should never write it. Truly, not everything is fit to be put on paper.
Finally, you’ll notice I’m including a couple “Journal Suggestions” at the end of most entries. My prayer is that these prompts are general enough that almost any reader could use them as a jumping-off point to start writing a story of their own. And of course, if you already have a blog, or are just starting one, I hope you will tell me about it.