Teresa's Journaling Journey

Teresa's Journaling Journey

I could never have imagined the practice of journaling would become one of my favorite sidekicks.

If you’re interested in journaling and dont know where to start, take a moment to read how and why I began journaling. I have no doubt you will benefit from your efforts.

My journal journey started at the suggestion of my psychiatrist when I was in high school. I drove home and immediately grabbed the first thing in my room, which happened to be a three-hole punched sheet of paper and a No. 2 pencil.

When I put the pencil to the paper, I had no preconceived ideas if there was a right or wrong way of journaling. I simply set out to write feelings and frustrations. I tossed them for fear somebody would read my deepest secrets.

It wasn’t long before journaling became a form of therapy living in a home of an alcoholic, dealing with epilepsy, and learning how not to be a people pleaser. My journal became my friend, the one “person” to whom I could “say” anything without someone passing judgment. It was freeing in so many ways.

I don’t know how many months passed writing on three-hole-punched notebook paper before my father bought me an official journal. "Official" meaning, a delicate and pretty notebook. I was excited, but something felt different. I looked at this lovely notebook and froze. I started thinking of the how. “Do I use a pencil, a pen?" "A pen would look prettier, but what happens if I make an error?” I was hesitant to use my pencil because it would leave an ugly smudge on the paper.

When I began journaling I didn’t put thought into the how and what I was writing. I simply wrote. I didn't want what came naturally to become a burden, a chore, an assignment. I was in a conundrum. I wanted my journal to feel special and this beautiful little book made me feel it was something to be cherished.

I loved journaling and in my excitement, I started writing in this precious book. It didn’t take long before I made errors. I decided to embrace it because my need to write was greater than how it looked. I no longer cared about my penmanship or smudge marks. It was mine and something to cherish.

I was thankful my father loved me enough to put me in counseling where I was given one of the best suggestions of the value to record thoughts and feelings. The idea to write whatever, whenever, however, became a beautiful way for me to be me.

My first “formal” journal contained a collection of dreams, lots of magazine clippings, movie ticket stubs, and even my first stab at wedding planning long before Pinterest came along. As the years went by, my journal, more of a girl’s diary, became my spiritual journal, recording prayers, encouraging words, sermons, or feelings.

I could never have imagined the practice of journaling would become one of my favorite sidekicks.

I did then and still do today find journaling freeing in so many ways.

I don’t have to be an experienced writer.

I don’t have to worry about grammar, punctuation, or someone telling me that’s not the way it should be done.

When I fill up a journal, I am purposeful to review past entries. I highlight pivotal moments where Ive seen answered prayers, words of encouragement, or the right verse at the right time. If I journaled, it was because something was important and precious to me. I wanted to recognize the significance it had then and how it relates to me now.

Many times the answered prayers are from entries done in other journals, even from years past. I am continually surprised how many entries I have forgotten and I am thankful I had taken the time to write them down.

What I recorded evolved the same way my personality did under different life circumstances.

I believe what helped me to create a habit of journaling was because I never established any expectations of what time of day to write, how much I should write, and what to write. I didn’t look at is as another task to check-off in my day. I don’t think this was just because I was a teenager and it was the farthest thing from my mind, but I had no guidelines and that in itself was liberating. I simply wrote when something stirred my spirit and when I felt like it. I do the same today.

Unexpected Benefits to Journaling

Years later, God began nudging me that one day I may use what I’ve journaled for others. It wasn’t until 1997 when my mother was dying of breast cancer that God impressed upon my heart to keep my journals and use them as a testimony for my children and my family. I remembered the verse in Exodus 6:33, which reads, “Moses said to Aaron, ‘Get a jar and fill it with two quarts of manna. Then put it in a sacred place before the Lord to preserve it for all future generations’.”

Over time, my journals became my “jar.”

I knew God wanted me to organize my entries, but how? In essence, I wanted to show a timeline and “preserve” what has been a life full of insecurities, fears, joys, sorrows, and all the other emotions, events, and adventures I’ve experienced year-after-year.

Material contained in my journals was never meant to document every thought or experience. What has been recorded has become the very tool I would use to write a book and now this blog. We can never anticipate how God will use our experiences by faithfully obeying His command to record what He has done in our lives.

From that day until now I hope my journals can serve as a memorial for my children and grandchildren. Jeremiah 30:2 (NLT) states, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Write down for the record everything I have said to you.” The Message versions states, “Write everything I tell you in a book.”

Presidents, kings, queens, and others from decades and centuries ago kept diaries. The Library of Congress in Washington, DC is full of personal journals of our great leaders. What we have learned from the journals of those who have lived before us are too many to list. Think … just think… what we can share with our families, friends, and others when we are willing to share a bit of ourselves! Like me, who knows how God will take what is most precious and private to be used for His glory. Journaling isn’t just for the 12-year-old girl. It’s for young, old, rich, the famous, and the ordinary. It’s for me, it’s for you.

Additional reading on journaling:

Joys of Journaling

How to begin understanding your God-dreams




Dreaming About Someone Else

Dreaming About Someone Else

Seek God's Approval

Seek God's Approval