Main Truth: The LORD responded, “write down clearly what I reveal to you so that it can be read at a glance.” Habakkuk 2:2
I never really knew how to reply to the often asked question: “What’s your story?” Until, God helped me start to uncover mine. During a morning’s devotional, “Tell Your Story” by Shauna Niequist, I read, “My life is a story about who God is and what he does in a human heart. If you have been transformed by the grace of God, then you have within you, all you need to write your story.” Shauna’s words were a turning point, I could begin to see God cultivating my faith.
God has brought me through the hardest season of my life this past year – an unexpected divorce after 29 years of marriage, followed by the sudden death of my mom. Surviving these two, heart wrenching events has given me the opportunity to see God anoint my life in grace, peace, and mercy. His word & His presence have helped ease my many fears, and have brought me peace and joy in the midst of this tough season.
During this time, journaling was (and still is) a safe, private place to vent, and pour out my feelings to God. Through it, I am able to express how I am truly feeling inside without anyone negating what I feel, or judging me.
Reading back through my journals from day one of my divorce journey, followed by finding out my mom had cancer, up to today, it is amazingly clear how God has brought me through it - and continues to each and everyday.
Journaling brings me peace when I journal about how situations in my life made me feel, and then, processing those feelings instead of keeping them bottled up. Getting the feelings all out on paper – anger, jealousy, resentment, hurt, shame. Just writing like crazy – even to the point of not being able to read my own handwriting can be very freeing – releasing the feelings from my heart and mind, thus, gaining great peace. Often when I’m journaling about a situation or struggle I’m going through or have been praying on - my answer comes from God as I’m writing away! Suddenly, my words turn to praise and thanks to God and I think to myself – I might not have received my answer if I was just praying. Journaling slows down my mind and the busyness of life, and just allows me to meditate on my thoughts, and listen for God’s voice.
Journaling is also a spiritual habit. It’s about lessons you learned, mistakes you made, and what God is teaching you. In Habakkuk 2:2, the Lord commands “write down clearly what I reveal to you so that it can be read at a glance.” In chapter 1 Habakkuk wrote down what he said to God, and in chapter 2, he wrote down what God said to him. Many of the Psalms also came from David’s quiet time. A good starting point is simply to just write out your prayers – God can hear them in your thoughts. As you progress in your journaling, you will also discover how God has answered those prayers.
The true gift in journaling is found in reading through past journals. Mine have revealed how God has worked in my life, how I have grown in my walk with Christ, and how my interests have changed over the years as God shapes me. I now realize that my life is deeper than I thought – showing patterns in my relationships and how I have grown or digressed in situations.
Most importantly, they reveal to me how God used my suffering to cultivate compassion and strength in me. My struggle prepared me to be able to comfort a friend going through similar heartaches, and be able to say “you’re not alone.” Hope sprouts through the hurt.
Post written by: Sharon Cesena
Sharon became a Christian nine years ago at the age of 50. Sharon hadn't attended church regularly for over 20 years and a seed was planted in her at her daughter's freshman orientation dinner at William Jessup University, and she suddenly wanted more in my life - the spiritual aspect was missing. Sharon has two grown daughters, and two very active grandsons, whom she loves spending time with any chance she can get.