On my 12th birthday I received a journal from my new young woman’s leader. I don’t remember who she was though. She told me I should write in my journal every day to record my experiences and life. I faithfully wrote in my journal everyday for a few years, even if it was nothing more than something similar to this, “I woke up, ate the regular breakfast, went to school, came home and did homework. I played baseball at the park with the boys. I did real good. Then I watched “Paradise”. 2 thumbs up. And now it’s time to sleep.” I actually made a lot of entries like that. And every time I would go back and read it, it would make me laugh at the ridiculous things I thought were important or amazing.
As time went on, my journal entries were spaced further apart, maybe once or twice a month or so. But they were more about my feelings, and about the things I was doing and going through. And about what was happening in the lives of my family members that I wanted to remember.
Journals are our lives, wrapped up into a small package (or a few packages as is my case). They offer us a chance to learn from our mistakes so we don’t make them again, to realize our weaknesses so that we can become better people, to find the humor in what was once thought of as the end of the world as we knew it, to rejoice in our accomplishments we never saw before and to see how God has touched our lives and continues to and how, at His time, he can heal your broken spirit and raise you up to a higher person than you were before.
One of my entries in my most recent journal (which is sadly only written in about 3-4 times a year) stated that through going back and reading my entries, I was able to see God’s hand in my life. That each time I wrote about something awful that was going on, the next entry was always about how He had helped me to find peace again. Ok, so it wasn’t always the next entry, but it always came eventually. That insight helped me to be a little more patient in my trials because I realized that in His time, I will have His peace, whether or not things work out the way my heart wants.
There are pages that, as I wrote, were wetted with tears from the emotion that I couldn’t contain. And as I reread those entries with their slightly wavy pages and smeared words, a fresh batch of tears would grace the pages as I felt anew all the pain and rejoicing I had felt at another time…almost in another life it would seem sometimes. But I think that that is one of the things I enjoy about rereading my journal. I can feel all those things again, go through those trials if you will, and become closer to Heavenly Father as I overcome and rejoice in His love as he blesses me with peace and His understanding opens my mind to things I didn’t understand, or even care about understanding before.
Journals can be a huge blessing in our lives and I think it is for that reason that we have been commanded to keep them.
I tell you this, not so I can brag about how faithfully I have recorded in my journals, or how wonderful my entries are. Neither is actually the case. Sadly, journals have been brought to the forefront of my mind with the sad discovery that my journals were lost in a box that got shipped about 2 years ago and I will never see them again. I’m thankful that I went back and read them fairly often while I had them so that I could gain some insights from my own life and past experiences. But I am sad because I have lost a lot of memories and very personal accounts of my life.
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