Anyone who knows me well knows that I am an avid journal writer. I tend to write once a week and account for all of the days in that week. I have gone back multiple times to find names or dates associated with certain events. For Christmas I decided I wanted to give something memorable to some of my closest friends. I went back in my journal for the past 3 years and pulled out all of the happy memories we shared and pasted them into a word document. I know that a lot of my friends don’t write in their journals, and so this would give them a small journal with our experiences.
As I went back through the past 3 years I found myself laughing out loud. I found myself cringing at certain situations, and realizing I could have handled some things better. I also relived a few bad dates I wish I could forget. I was able to reminisce and find all the reasons I had made these friends in the first place. I realized that this is not something that everyone is able to do, but it was something that I felt like I should do. I think I started this project around November.
As I was doing this I remembered that I’d met one particular friend 5-6 years ago. I wondered if I had the original journal entry from when we met. I looked everywhere, but couldn’t find any documentation of it. I thought that maybe I was still hand writing in my journal back then, and that when I went home and pulled out all of my old journals I’d find it one day.
I finished my project and Christmas rolled around. I sent my 9-12 page documents to my friends I made some new personal goals with a friend and forgot that I’d ever written them. 4-5 months passed and a lot of unexpected things happened that I like to call LIFE. I had a lot of confusion and conflicting thoughts and just told myself to hold on with both hands and try to enjoy the ride. However I wasn’t enjoying the ride. I made some new friends and tried to navigate things the best way I knew how, and was grateful for my navigational system. However I felt like a lot of the time I would follow the directions and find myself at a dead end over and over again.
I was doing everything right, so why did it seem like everything was turning out wrong? I thought about throwing out my navigational system and doing something drastic to take control of my life. In the end I figured what I’d always done had eventually led me to where I needed to be, so I needed to have a little more trust and faith and continue on.
I kept saying prayers in a “whenever you want to let me in on this secret plan for my life, let me know” attitude. My prayers kept being answered in a very deliberate yet out of the ordinary ways that kept catching me off guard. It’s one of the many things that has helped me know that God is very real and aware of me.
I started looking at the time line of events that had transpired. I realized that they had to happen in that way and in that specific order for everything to line up the way it had.
Elder L. Edward Brown has said, “There is something about journal writing that causes us to meditate, to recommit, and to receive spiritual impressions in the process of such pondering. Frequently, you will have cause to rejoice at how the Lord has been sensitively involved in guiding and watching over you and those you love and care about”
As I was pondering certain events in my life, I realized that I was feeling similar to the way I felt about 6 years ago right before I left on my mission. I thought about how if I could only find those journal entries, I could look back and see how I’d dealt with similar issues before.
I kept trying to figure out where I would have kept it. After doing all that I could do inspiration hit! I realized it probably was with my 2010-2011 journal entries. My only copy of that journal was on a jump-drive that I’d been carrying around with me the past 6 years.
I found the jump-drive and put it into my computer. I opened the document I thought it would be in, but that one ended in June of 2011. I was very disheartened. That didn’t account for the exact time I was trying to find. I closed out of it and found a document labeled differently from the others. I clicked on it and it was the exact time frame I was looking for!
I eagerly started reading through remembering exactly how I was feeling around that time. What a blessing! I could not deny God’s hand in my life. This was probably something small and insignificant to Him, but He helped me find it. In essence He led me to it.
Virginia H. Pearce said, “Remember how He has worked in your life. Write in your journal about the times when you have felt His love for you. Write about the times when He has intervened in subtle or obvious ways, to make everything work out okay for you. And when you feel abandoned and desperate, those memories will renew your faith and keep you trusting until you understand better.”
As I started reading, I realized that I’d never read this before. I’d written it and forgot about it. The circumstances worrying me in 2011 were very similar to my worries in 2017. It seemed like every other entry was full of wisdom and spiritual promptings that I’d received at the time. I read about some advice a stake president had given me and other advice I’d received in a blessing. It was like I was receiving that advice all over again and I was really happy that I’d written it down.
It meant a lot then, but it meant even more now that I knew how that story ended. It was great remembering how I felt and the faith I was trying to have in order to move forward. All of those promptings to my very real fears propelled me into an amazing adventure that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I saw the Lord’s hand in my life and while it reassured me then, it is still doing so now.
Elder Richard G. Scott said, ““Inspiration carefully recorded shows God that His communications are sacred to us. Recording will also enhance our ability to recall revelation. Such recording of direction of the Spirit should be protected from loss or intrusion by others.”
I wrote a blog post a few years ago with a few other thoughts on keeping a journal called No One Else Can Write Your Story.
I also love this song by Francesca Battistelli called "Write Your Story." Enjoy!