Just for Mom: Find Spiritual Renewal through Journaling
- Friday, May 12, 2006
Everyone needs a safe, private place to bare his or her soul and sort out his or her thoughts and feelings. When I was a teenager, I had a personal diary. I kept it in the drawer of a small desk in my bedroom, where I did most of my studying. In one drawer was my white diary, some important papers, and my appointment cards; hidden away in another drawer was the key that opened and closed my diary’s little lock.
I loved that diary and confided in it my joys, heartaches, and embarrassing moments. The lined pages offered me the opportunity to write whatever secret information I wanted to record. It held stories of best friends and new crushes, slumber parties and basketball games.
Writing in a personal diary or journal is more than just recording facts. It’s an opportunity to write from your heart and soul as you reflect on the events, circumstances, and people in your life.
I was blessed with a wonderful God-fearing family, was loved and cared for, and was taught the Scriptures from the day I was born. But even the best family in the world cannot protect a child from every emotional issue. I was always small for my age—and very skinny. I had some health issues that I struggled with, and I was socially immature. Though I made friends easily, I didn’t always fit in with the crowd and often felt like a tagalong. These were issues I didn’t know how to discuss with those around me, but I could write about my thoughts and emotions in my diary.
Somehow, by holding a pen in my hand, I could form words that allowed me to reach into my soul and pull out what was deep inside. After all the words were poured onto the pages, I could close the book and turn the lock so no one would know.
As adult women, we deal with emotional issues from day to day.
Our children exhaust us.
Our husbands hurt us.
Our friends disappoint us.
We might not feel like discussing these matters with anyone—maybe because we don’t even know how to begin.
We can hold pens in our hands though. We can form words on a page in a book that we can open and close and keep in a private drawer. Let these ideas and suggestions help you reach in and pull out what’s deep inside your soul.
Prayer is simply talking to God. We can talk to him just like a friend, and the great thing is, he’s the best listener. He gives us his undivided attention all the time.
If you choose to write your prayers in a journal, you can write them in the same way—using everyday language as though you were talking to a friend and giving him your undivided attention.
I found out what a valuable tool this can be when one day I was home caring for my little ones (and experiencing a little PMS!). I was feeling completely overwhelmed with my responsibilities as a mother. Not only did I need to feed, clothe, bathe, protect, and nurture my children, but I was also responsible for their spiritual training. I questioned my ability to do all that was required of me, and I felt incompetent and inexperienced.
Then I remembered I didn’t have to do it alone. I was blessed with a godly husband and extended family who supported me. More than that, I had a heavenly Father who would watch over my kids day and night. God could be with my children when I wasn’t there. He would be with them when I had to leave them with a babysitter or at the neighbor’s house. And he would be with them on their first day of school when I said good-bye at the classroom door and sobbed all the way home.
After I processed all these thoughts, I sat down at my desk and wrote a prayer for God to be with my children. It was a way of releasing my children from my hands and placing them into his. Since I prefer to express myself in verse, this is what I wrote:
A Mother’s Prayer
My gracious heavenly Father,
Please hear me as I pray.
I come to you on bended knee
And ask of you today,
To give me wisdom, strength, and love
To raise my children for you,
That they might love and honor you
In everything they do.
I ask that you’ll watch over them
Throughout their childhood years.
Protect them as they run and play,
And calm their childish fears.
And when they reach their teenage years
I pray that they’ll be strong,
To stand up to temptation
And turn away from wrong.
I pray that they would read your Word
And talk with you each day,
So they will know your perfect will
And follow in your way.
I ask that you would be their guide
As they begin to date.
Help them choose, dear Lord, I pray,
A loving, godly mate.
And when they’re blessed with little ones
I pray that they may too
Have the wisdom, strength, and love
To raise their children for you.5
On one simple page, I poured out my heart to God. The matter was between him and me, and I kept it private for fifteen years. Some things are like that, and a prayer journal helped me ponder God’s power and increase my faith.
There’s an additional benefit: writing your prayers in a journal is a good way to keep balance in your prayer life. It’s easy to run to God when you have a desperate need—and God certainly wants you to come to him at those times. But as our Father, God also enjoys our praise and thanksgiving just as any mother enjoys glad chatter or thoughtful conversations with her children.
As you begin listing the things you’re thankful for, you’ll soon recognize your many blessings. Praise God for his greatness, power, and love. Let his nature lift you up and encourage you. Offer him your praise and gratitude; watch him fill you with hope and help to face even the most difficult challenges.
If you want to begin a prayer journal, here are a few tips:
• Choose a time of day when you may have a few moments to yourself. (If you have preschoolers at home, put on a VeggieTales video to offer them positive entertainment while you spend this "alone time" with God.)
• Put on the answering machine so you won’t be interrupted by phone calls.
• Get out your prayer journal and pen, or use the computer.
• Start by writing praises to God for his greatness and love.
• List specific blessings in your life and thank God for these things.
• Confess anything that you need to confess on a separate page or piece of scrap paper. After you ask for forgiveness, tear it up and throw it away.
• Write your requests to God, pouring out your deepest needs, concerns, or fears.
(And remember, moms, if you don’t finish in one sitting, pick it up where you left off at a later time.)
Crystal Bowman is the author of A Mom’s Guide to Making Memories Last: Simple, Inexpensive Ways to Scrapbook and Journal (Revell, 2006), from which this article is excerpted. Bowman is the author of more than thirty books and teacher-resource materials. A mother of three grown children, she is a frequent speaker at writers', MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers, www.mops.org), women's, and parenting conferences.
Used with permission of Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
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