A reprint from the Heart to Heart Newsletter, July 2015 edition
The rain tapped lightly against the window glass and fell softly off the edge of the open pane. As I sat inside watching the clouds passing by, my thoughts all clambered together like the thunder and then I began to write...
I was first introduced to journaling when I was sixteen. I took a local community Journal Keeping class at Roanoke College. In that class I learned how to journal and the benefits. Sometimes our thoughts and desires all come together like one big roar of thunder. Writing it all down, helps us to sort. It helps us to see what is really important.
Write whatever you want to be, wish you were, glad you are, feel deep inside, think about your mother-in-law or boss. Write Who God is to you, Who you wish He was. Write him a letter. Write your thoughts on your reading in the morning or the night. Just write!
Journaling is cleansing. It promotes focus. It is a discipline.
Another benefit that I have found is the discipline of thought. At times I am intentional about my gratitude or rather I need to be intentional. I write down things that I am thankful for each day and this in turn improves my attitude. Some people even have a separate journal for this; it is called a gratitude or blessings journal.
Journaling also helps us to track God in our lives. As the days busily pass and I remember to record a verse that impresses me or a word spoken, an answered prayer or unexpected detour, I can look back and see God's steps in my life.
Often I write down my prayers. There are two benefits to this. One, I must think through my prayer, rather than quickly spouting it out and secondly, I can record the answers which may be useful for encouragement for others and myself. Also, I can stop and record Scriptures that may go with that specific request.
Sometimes it is hard to know what to write. A good writing exercise is to put on some instrumental music and sit in a place you can relax. Set a timer. Write for five minutes. Just write whatever comes to mind. Your initial thoughts oftentimes are junk and then as you continue to write, the real issues will come out so don't fret about what you are writing at first.
Some say that stress and repressed or misplaced emotions cause physical illnesses. Journaling can also help relieve stress when you have no other outlet.
Journaling can benefit your life in so many ways. Why not give it a try?
Michelle Gill is a writer, barista, trail walker sometimes runner, disc golfer's wife, Jesus lover, book collector, mama, and old house explorer. Learn more about her story on her website www.maceyhollow.com.
So the sun rose again...
There was a time in my life when I dreaded waking up. There was a time in my life when I needed someone to tell me that I would make it too. There was a time when I needed to know what to do when I woke up in the morning again.
As time passed, I searched on the internet for someone, anyone who had been through anything remotely similar to what I was going through and survived. As a blog and website designer, I see postings all the time of loss and I have read many articles describing the grief process. But there are times when you can't think and you just need to be reminded to eat, to breathe, to make your bed, and it really doesn't matter what phase of grief that you are in.
So if today is your day of grief and you just need someone to tell you how to live for today, before better comes, and it will, then these are some practical things you can do:
1 Ask God to show you a future. You need to see that better will come.
2 Get up when the sun comes up. Rhythm, routine can be healing and you need to physically get up.
3 Make your bed! Yes, go make your bed. I am not going to explain all the reasons why but it is important.
4 Eat. Eat regularly. Eat well.
5 Read. Read stories from others who have had it worse and survived well. (Into the Deep by Robert Rogers is one that I read.)
6 Be. Be okay with just being sad.
7 Write it out. Writing it out, helps you to get it out. This may come later.
8 Drink lots of water. Sometimes we forget. You will think better.
9 Do something for someone else no matter how small.
10 Look for support. You will need time alone but alone is not good all the time. Try healing prayer, support group, mentors, pastor, counselor, worship night or prayer night at your church... Reach out in some way as a way to take action in your grief to care for yourself.
11 Cry. Sometimes we even forget to do this. Schedule a time, if it never seems convenient or if this is all you do.
12 Choose some verses that you need to believe, even if you don't now, and read them and reread them each day, until one day you will.
13 Give yourself time.
14 "Do the next thing," as Elisabeth Elliot said. Whatever the next thing that you need to do is, do it. Wash the dishes. Turn in a report at work. Whatever is next. Just take the next step.
Eventually, when the white sunlight peaks through your window blinds, you will look forward to the day. There will come a better. It is hard to imagine now. But one day you will even laugh and look around wondering if that was really you. Life will never be the same but there will be life and new ways of seeing. Hopefully, then, you can tell someone else to go make their bed, that it is important, and that their better is coming too.
"Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts and encourages us in every trouble so that we will be able to comfort and encourage those who are in any kind of trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as Christ’s sufferings are ours in abundance [as they overflow to His followers], so also our comfort [our reassurance, our encouragement, our consolation] is abundant through Christ [it is truly more than enough to endure what we must]."