About 4 years ago I began blogging and it changed my life. Through blogging I have found answers, the way back to myself, and connect with the Lord and my Spiritual self. Recently I have decided to begin journaling on paper as well. When I got clean from heroin at 21, I journaled through a pretty yellow journal my mom bought me at Target. It lasted one year and when the pages ran out, I stopped. I am able to go back and read about that first year and the relationship between me and God. I watched it grow on the pages of words, pictures, and articles and clip art from magazines. That journal is so very precious to me and I am very grateful to have kept one through such a difficult, intense, and important year of my life. Woven through the pages I can see the evangelist in me forming as my heart begins to lean towards the homeless, the lonely, and the addicted. This next year I will be keeping a journal.
I left a group that I recently found to be a harmful group. It was secluded between the leaders, our group, and the other groups they started. I don’t care what their motives were and if they truly believe what they are pushing or if they are simply working to build a kingdom of their own vision. I don’t care. What does matter is the harm it caused my family and other families. I read blogs from men and women who left these unhealthy groups years ago and have found peace and a relationship with the Lord that is healthy, fruitful, and does not require moving, having gurus (who warn against other gurus), or information control, such as not reading other authors, staying away from other organizations, or even reading the Bible less. The followers will insist to outsiders that the Bible is just as important, but I was on the inside and I know with certainly that the Bible was put in the same category as the books the leaders wrote themselves.I am not going to call the group what it actually was, but you get the picture. I am strong now. I am not afraid of anyone. And due to the recent threat of those who have left or exposed the truth, I don’t answer phone calls from a certain area code without witnesses or a recorder. I won’t be bullied into silence. I am free to write about my experience and that’s what I do. I’ll take some secrets of the group to the grave because they are not mine to tell, but the ones that are mine, I tell. You just never know what will happen when you quiet yourself, trust Who or what calls you, and act courageously. “Whatever we do to care for our true self is, in the long run, a gift to the world.”- Parker Palmer, a Quaker
One of the saddest things I have come across is vandalism to the soul, and to something that is sacred to me. I look at my life and my healing from a horrid addiction. I had truly was one of the worst. I shot hundreds of dollars of H into my arm a week, sometimes a day, and suffered weeks of withdrawal. When I was rescued the Lord’s resurrection, forgiveness, and new life was carved into me. Carved into my soul. A carving can’t ever be uncarved. It can be painted over and vandalized, but I will never not belong to the Lord. I am falling back in love with Him in a fresh way. Just like my journey out of addiction, I am going to journal my journey out of a community group that was almost as dangerous. An unexpected result of journaling is that it begins to “clean up” the paint and work that has been done over the initials.
Here are some of my tips on journaling. This is not the same as blogging. Keeping a private journal is for me, not anyone else. Different rules apply. Journaling creates a safe inner space to make sense of my experiences. From there I write from that part of myself that knows who I am, and who I am meant to be. I write about the memories I can’t forget and the memories I don’t want to forget. Writing grounds me. When the words are written they are real, and I can deny that they came out. I see what’s inside when I look onto the paper. Writing about the clutter in my head helps me to organize my worries, fears, and judgemental, harsh thoughts. They are released as I write them down and intentionally let go onto the paper.
I want to create a place filled with me, my thoughts, orayers, and who I am. The tranformation can only be recorded through scrapbook style journaling. These days i’ve moved over to binder journaling. I have been using one for homeschooling for years and decided to go with the same for my personal journal.
What are my prayers these days? What intentions do these prayers hold? I am seeing the Lord from another perspective when I write. He shows me things about myself and I write. Sometimes I am not ready to listen to what He’s given me, but I go back and read it afterwards and see what I was meant to see. When I write about what I am thankful for and His goodness from that day, I can go back and read it and not forget about what the Spirit has done.
In the place where I write I keep my reminders in plain sight… “I intend to live an abundant writer’s life” and “I intend to live freely and compassionately”. That’s it for today.
Have a great weekend y’all!