Saturday, June 5, 2010

If my house were on fire...

I would grab all these:

After I hoisted the kids out the window, of course.

For probably 18 or so years, I've written in journals, usually my prayers. It is hilarious to read my 19 year old angst over a boy or chemistry test or reliving my 22 year old decisions (including whether or not to date my husband) The seriousness, the drama!

Some day I will laugh at my current little breakdowns from sleep deprivation or children's tempers or feeling I have screwed them up for good by yelling or not disciplining every time they backtalk or letting them watch Breakfast at Tiffanys with me.

Confessions, confessions... Marriage quarrels, confusion with where God is taking us in city, children, relationships, ministry, church... It will all be so clear when I look back. I am so thankful we have Him to go to in prayer!

Most of all though, so many joys and praises. The peaks and valleys lived out in prayers are precious to me. Friends getting married, having babies after years of infertility, relationships reconciled, loved ones finding Christ, others receiving the grace to suffer well in trial, and on and on... Our current decision to adopt is a journey in prayer in itself.

I have scripture written all throughout. I treasure these because of how clearly the thread of God's faithfulness is shown. He has taken my immaturity, inadequacy and self-focus and changed me, growing me up in him.

"We lean to our own understanding, or we bank on service and do away with prayer, and consequently by succeeding in the external we fail in the eternal, because in the eternal we succeed only by prevailing prayer.”

Oswald Chamber

My principal (because she teaches me much more than she does Caroline) has been writing about both journaling and prayer. She wrote out some tips I thought were good:

Journaling Tips

  1. Start. Even if you don’t know how, start small with a few words but do it faithfully – day after day. My first journals were merely a list of a few words.

  2. Write legibly. As I read through old journals, I find such comfort in seeing all that God has done but I grow frustrated if the writing is difficult to decipher.

  3. Title each page with a date and any significant events of the day. Make sure to mark a beginning date at the front of each journal and include an ending date when the journal is complete. Such a system will help you as you go back and search for specific information. My journals are precious memories of God’s faithfulness and a record of His personal hand on my family. Simple organization helps me find what I am looking for.

  4. Include scripture and inspirations from books you read. Write down highlights from sermons. Use one side of the journal for prayers and the other side for notes OR use a different color of ink for prayer and another color for notes.

  5. At the beginning of each journal record specific prayers you plan to diligently pray for. Be bold. Be clear. Be persistent. Prayer often does not align with our common sense but instead connects us with the supernatural power of God. Common sense has to do with our own human reasoning and all to often replaces prayer.

  6. Write down your concerns about provision, health, etc. but include spiritual and character issues as well. Watch out what you pray for however. I earnestly prayed for patience a number of years ago and God answered my prayers by teaching me patience through testing it over and over and over. (My family jokingly tells me never to pray for patience again!)

  7. Refrain from worrying about what others will think if they read your entries. It is between you and God. I warn my family that if they dare read my journals they will read the honest and open sentiments from my heart which are not always pretty. I have cried out to the Lord on behalf of my husband and children at times when I did not like how they are acting.


Liz said...

I love this. Thank you for sharing! I have been thinking that I need to start journaling and this is a great list of tools to get started.

I also ADORE the new blog header pic. What a sweetie. :)

efguess said...

As an English teacher, I am in full agreement with your principal! I tell my students that they can not pick up their pens and the thoughts and words will come. So if they write "i dont know what to say" 15 times, they will eventually progress to "this is boring, i am hungry- yesterday Mom made really good lasagna. she loves to make Italian food"....and then they just take off.
I have been so lost the last two weeks because I can not find my prayer journal and I HATE to start a new one when I have so many empty pages to fill in the current one. That annoys me. My prayer journals since jr. high(!) are comical and precious to me as well! I am sure I have made more than a few entries in yours during fights etc... :) ah the sisterly love/quibble dynamic! We've had a few good rounds!