“Write It ’n’ Read It,” Ensign, Aug. 1990, 71–72
When I finish writing in my journal at bedtime, I occasionally leaf back through a few pages to read what I’ve recorded. That’s all it takes—I’m hooked. A half hour later, I’m still reading. I usually come away with positive feelings and conclusions about myself, my life, and my growth. And when I can see significant spiritual growth, I am really excited.
I’m always writing in my journal, but I have found it’s just as important to take something back from what I’ve recorded. Here are some of the times when reading my journal has inspired, comforted, strengthened, and encouraged me.
When I’m depressed. My journal often helps me recognize how I’ve grown and improved. It helps me remember times when my prayers were answered. I can read about the love and support I get from family and friends. I may also see times when my testimony helped me to be courageous.
At the beginning of a new year. A few years ago, my husband and I began staying home alone on New Year’s Eve. One thing we do is read our journals; they help us reminisce, show us our progress and triumphs in the past year, and help us decide on our goals for the future.
On birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, baptismal days. It’s fun to read about special days from the past. Children especially love to hear about the day they were born, started school, or were injured and had to go to the hospital emergency room. What better bedtime story than one in which the child himself is the main character?
When I have a problem. It helps to read about how I dealt with a similar problem—or even a very different one. Knowing I coped with a difficult situation helps me make it through another. Time changes my perspective and understanding. I can see growth following hardship and adversity, and I come to appreciate what I gained from the experience.
When I need ideas or examples for a lesson or a talk. I also find that reading my journal inspires me before fast and testimony meeting.
When I’m lonely. To give me a rest after the birth of a new baby, my husband took the other children with him on a trip to his mother’s house for family business. While the baby slept, I read my journal. It was comforting when I began to miss my family.
To remember events I’ve forgotten. Many times I’ll go back through my journal and say, “Oh, yes, now I remember that!” If I hadn’t recorded that experience, I might not have recalled it.
For a special home evening. We like to take out our journals and read what happened one, two, or five years ago on that exact date. We’ve spent happy, close times sharing feelings and experiences from our journals.
To feel closer to my husband. We read each others’ journals or go through one together. I love to read my husband’s; he doesn’t mind if I look without asking first. He’s constantly writing how much he loves me and how important I am to him. It makes me feel loved, accepted, needed, and appreciated.
To remind me to set a positive example for my children and spouse. Knowing that I will be writing that night makes me more aware of my actions. I want to feel good about what I’ve recorded, because my journal will be around for a long time!
Reading my journal has become just as important to me as writing in it. Reading it reminds me of my goals, helps me see my progress, and keeps me on the gospel path.—Janet L. Brodie, Kendall Park, New Jersey