Guest post by Groshonda McDonald
“In pain, grief, affliction, and loss, it often helps to write our feelings…not just feel them. Putting words on paper seems to free our feelings from the lonely prison of our souls,” Charles Swindoll said.
No truer words could apply to my journaling. Journaling opened up the door, first and foremost, for acknowledgement of my emotions and equally as important, for providing a non-destructive outlet in which to express them.
In 2007, I accepted Christ. It was around this time, I also accidently discovered journaling. At first, I didn’t even have a “journal.” I wrote on scraps of paper, jotting down momentary feelings. I didn’t even realize what I was doing; I just knew I needed a place to “put” my emotions before I returned to drugs and alcohol and other self-destructive behavior to help me cope.
As a new Christian, my prayer life was still spotty and awkward. I was still learning how to “hear” God’s voice, still unsure and uncomfortable talking out loud to God. My journals helped me rehearse God’s Word to myself. The act of writing scriptures out helped write them in my heart and aided me in hearing God. In addition, journaling helped me to communicate to Him all of my questions, doubts, hurts, pains, joys, worship, praise and my spiritual location at any given time. My written words became prayers, pleas, and my crying out to God.
These precious words also stirred up in me a gift I didn’t know I had been given: the gift of poetry. The Lord revealed to me that my poetry was my ministry. No Fear In Love is my poetry ministry, birthed from my journals. Journaling is an integral, intrinsic and invaluable part of my creative process for writing poems. Only by journaling about my emotions and struggles with candid honesty have I been able to write poems which are able to speak to others going through the same experience or struggling in the same place spiritually.
To this day, my poetry continues to come from journaling about daily frustrations, relationship issues, spiritual revelations, scriptural wisdom, and the struggle of working out my soul salvation while living in this fleshly and earthly suit. My poetry and my journaling have become meshed together. My poetry is a journaling of my life’s journey in God’s hand. I will continue to journal until the day I die.