Pen + Paper = Process — Grateful, Yet Grieving

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As I was cleaning out some drawers recently, I found some old journals from years ago.
During my days as a young mom, I would often journal my prayers to God, taking a moment to reflect and write down thoughts and feelings that I needed to put somewhere.

Basically, journaling is just that; a place to put our feelings, thoughts, prayers, and reflections. My definition of journaling is “an expression of an experience using a pen and paper to process.” Journaling has often sounded like “homework” and makes some people think they would rather be in the dentist’s chair than sit in front of a blank piece of paper.

The long-standing practice of journaling has been proven to be one of the best ways to
process our thoughts and feelings. The research is filled with the benefits of journaling for our mental health. Here are a few:

  • reduces stress

  • brings clarity to a situation

  • offers insight

  • allows your brain to declutter

During the first year after my husband died, I filled eight journals. I needed somewhere to bring order to my chaos, lament my pain, cry out to God, find words to describe my grief and navigate my way through the valley.

As you read through the Psalms, it’s like reading David’s journal describing his struggles and sorrows, battles and blessings, praises and prayers. As you consider whether to journal, there’s no right way to do it and no one will read it unless you want to share it. Starting can be as simple as writing down an answer to a question, “Where are you?” the same question God asked Adam and Eve in the garden.

In a recent conversation with my dear friend, Maggie, who lost her son in an accident, she gave this statement about grief; “It’s not going away until you let it out.” Journaling can be one way to let it out as you move through your grief and process the pain.

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Used with permission from Pam Luschei.

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