I started journaling when I was in elementary school. Probably "journaling" is not the right term for then. I had a cute diary with a lock on it, and wrote about what I did during the day. In middle school it moved to who liked who, what boy I thought was cute, etc. That really important stuff! But finally in high school it moved to journaling, what I was thinking, dealing with, what God was teaching me, prayer requests, etc. And I slowly transitioned to really reading scripture and digging deep and processing God's word. I have piles of them in a trunk upstairs and would be really upset if we ever had a fire and lost them. Its years of my story in books. I want my boys to read them someday and learn from my mistakes, my failures and successes.
When I finish one, I write the beginning and ending dates at the front of it and put it on a book shelf in my closet so I can pull it out soon if I need it. And I get a pretty new one and I love opening it and having a fresh empty page waiting to be filled with new wonderful things. But I finished one yesterday and I got teary eyed at the thought of moving on from it. I have used it for the last seven months. So much has happened in the last seven months. I am so thankful for our move, our new house, our new church, our new friends. But I am even more thankful for all that God taught me over the last seven months. I have so much stuff in this journal about His faithfulness, His goodness, His love for me, His encouragement, His guidance, His forgiveness and His Provision! Those things are way more important than a job, house, church and friends. Those things will last eternally!
I printed out devotionals that spoke to me and taped them in my journal. I have scriptures where His word was so alive to me and so personal. I read two or three books in the last months that I felt that God had written just for me, and have lots of parts of them taped in. I have print outs of lyrics to songs that encouraged me. I have prayers written out where I poured out my confusion, impatience and questions, and answers where He told me what I needed to hear. I have lots of sermon notes from Pinelake or ones I heard online where I heard a message for me so clearly. God talked to me so many different ways in the last year and I love that so much of that conversation is in my journal. Many times I read back over my journal during my time with the Lord because it reminds me and encourages me again! But its full now, ready to be put on a shelf. And I'm sad. I went and bought a new one yesterday that is beautiful and I am excited to open that blank page, but I don't want my old one to go far so I can reach for it when I need a reminder about God's faithfulness.
If you don't journal, I encourage you to try. I know its not for everyone. I took a personality test once that said I was "literary". Obviously that's one reason I blog. I love getting my thoughts out. But go get a notebook and just start. If you need a pretty one to motivate you, I find mine at TJ Maxx or Marshalls where you can get a great price. I also suggest getting a spiral one that you can fold back or lay flat, it makes it much easier to write in. Its something to leave for your loved ones, but its also something to remind you of God's faithfulness and goodness when things around you try to get you to forget that. I will go this morning and get my new journal out and try to start with a scripture of His goodness on the front cover. And then I will fill it again! I can't wait.