I’m going to take a little bit of a road trip away from my usual devotions and write about journaling today. I love journaling. I’ve been journaling for many years off and on. That said, I know moms are busy people. I believe in guilt-free journaling. So, this is not me heaping condemnation on you for just one more thing you “should” be doing—but if you’ve been thinking about journaling, this post is for you.
I want to encourage you! If you’ve been thinking about journaling, stop thinking and start journaling! Writing is an activity that should bring you joy. Even if you only write in your journal occasionally, I promise it will become a treasured keepsake in years to come. Journals become treasured reminders of the things we might otherwise forget.
Some of you have asked me where I get the ideas for the daily devotions I write. I’ll be honest: most of the ideas come from years worth of journals that I sometimes find sitting around! I usually record podcasts quarterly with my husband using my old journals and my grandfather’s sermon notes. Sometimes I’ll open up a journal that is fifteen years old and see a verse take on new meaning for a new season, so I’ll share it with my readers. Sometimes, the ideas come from the daily Bible reading or something that a friend has told me. Many times, I write because something I’ve heard in church or on the radio has impacted me. More often than not, though, I find myself going back to my old journals.
For the mom who’s thinking, “Whatever!!!” right now—I get it.
Some seasons I journal more than others. There have been times where I have not even thought about journaling. Days, weeks, sometimes even years will go by without me journaling, so it really just depends on what season of life I am in and how many little ones I have at home (because that makes a huge difference).
Here are a couple of journaling tips if you’re thinking about starting journaling:
1. Understand the basics. Journaling is different than keeping a diary. When I talk about journaling for devotional time, I’m not talking necessarily about how your day went, but I’m talking about writing Bible verses that capture your attention, or thoughts you have about the verses that you’re writing about. How are you hoping to apply them to your life?
For example, we might be in Psalms; you hear me quote Psalm 1 all the time about the “tree that is planted by streams of water,” so you might write down Psalm 1 and the write down what that means for your life at the moment. What does it say about God, about life, parenting, marriage or about how to treat other people? Psalm 1:2 says that we are supposed to meditate on God’s word. In John 14:12, we are told to believe in Jesus Christ and do great things. Write down things that the Scriptures says to do then find a way to implement that in your own life.
2. Keep your journal where you’ll use it the most. I like to keep it by my bed, depending on the different seasons of life. A friend of mine keeps hers in her car because she’s often waiting in the car for her kids to come out of piano lessons, or track practice.
3. Try to write when you are the least distracted. I like to get up early to do it. When I had surgery recently though, I switched back to evenings. The point is to write when you can. For some moms, even the idea of trying to find quiet time seems impossible, and I totally get that, so flow with the different seasons of life.
4. Write whatever comes to mind. Be real and transparent about what you’re going through.
Another thing is to date each entry. Be sure to write what delights you as well as what troubles you.
Another thing I have learned over the years is to pray for my children and my husband by name. Bring them before the Lord by name and consider what God is doing in each of their lives and how you might best facilitate that. Ask the Lord for wisdom and discernment as you nurture your children and pray for them.
5. If you are a Christian, be a woman of the Word. The more you’re in the Bible, the more you’ll see that God wants to speak to you. It’s exciting to see how He works, especially through difficulty and struggle.
Journaling is unique for every person. Everyone has their own way of doing it. My old journals have become precious reminders to me of God’s faithfulness. As we come into a new year, I really hope that you’ll consider journaling with me.
I have actually published a journal just for busy moms and you can find that at reallifpress.com: it is called Words Along the Way: a Busy Mom’s journal—but you don’t have to get my journal to start journaling. You can cruise down to Walmart and get a little pad for $3.99 and begin to reap the benefits of journaling right away.
Give it a try, busy mom—and let me know how it goes. Let your journal become a reminder of God’s faithfulness in your life.