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shared-journalsCan you believe the year is almost over? As I write, the clock on my bedside table ticks loudly, counting out the seconds–one after another–reminding me that life is speeding full steam ahead. In the multitude of minutes that fill these fleeting days, can I really say I’ve touched my children’s  hearts?

Touching requires more than a casual conversation here and there; it consists of life-giving, nurturing dialogs. But in the busyness of day-to-day living, how can we intentionally meet our daughters’ spiritual and emotional needs? Doesn’t that kind of touching demand a deeper level of communication and a commitment to put them first before other relationships outside the home?

We all have circumstances that compete for our time. The “urgent” moments which consist of pressing problems, deadlines, and crisis situations compete with the “non-urgent” moments such as building relationships, seeking new opportunities, and planning activities. What changes could we make this year to better focus on touching the souls of the children whom God has entrusted to us? What tools could we utilize to make relational living a daily reality? When I asked myself this question, the thought of shared journaling–a writing activity our family participated in when my children were younger came to mind.

Because of the high level of daily care we give to my 93- year-old father who has Parkinson’s (we’re in our fourth year now), I’ve had to find creative ways to stay connected with my daughters, ages 27, 18, and 14. So a couple of years ago, I gave each of the girls a special journal for the purpose of sharing an ongoing mother/daughter dialog–a place where we can share what’s on our hearts.

I need to know the words and moments we want to remember are not lost–falling to the ground like precious pearls slipping off a broken string of long-forgotten days.

Several times a  month, I take a few minutes away from our scheduled duties–sometimes early in the morning or late at night–to write to my daughters. I include entries that show my appreciation for them or the things they have done, comments about everyday moments, special “I love you’s,” and observations about the lessons the Lord is teaching us. I know from past experience, the cumulative effect of these entries will add up to a beautiful testimony of our relationship, and a permanent record of God working in and through our lives.

Not only does shared journaling lead to a joyful appreciation of life, it also brings normalcy and stability to stressful situations. There can never be a question in your daughter’s mind of how much you love her. It’s spelled out through the powerful and life-changing words the Lord gives you to bless her with–one entry at a time. As proverbs 25:11 so beautifully says, “A word aptly spoken, is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”

In the midst of days that have the stamp of “urgent” all over them, corresponding to one another in a shared journal gives mothers and daughters a place to meet, free of interruptions, where they can cherish one another, strengthen the mother/daughter bond, and grow as sisters in Christ.

Our daughters and sons need to know that no matter how busy we are as mothers, we’re listening and seeking the Lord on their behalf. They need to know there is a special place in our hearts reserved just for them. This is especially critical when life’s circumstances are pressing in on every side and the whole family is caught up in doing the “necessary” things.

Writing to your daughters may not have been one of your top priorities this New Year–but it still can be. Shared journaling gives you a fresh, clean page to write upon, and a powerful tool that will strengthen relationships now, and have a far reaching impact on generations to come.

Practical Tips for Shared Journaling

  1. Write to Relate: Psalm 127:3 “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.” Let your daughters (and sons, too, if you have them) know how much you treasure them in the pages of their journals. Accept them unconditionally right where they’re at today. Don’t compare them to anyone else. Pray for the words they need to hear from the Lord. Let Him write to your children through your pen. Invite your husband to write in your daughter’s journal as well. Even if they don’t consider themselves writers, most fathers, when given the opportunity, love to contribute to their children’s journals.
  2. Write to Refresh: Proverbs 11:25 “The generous man will be prosperous, And he who waters will himself be watered.” Be creative! Include thoughts, feelings, perceptions, prayers, and observations from your daughter’s daily activities, special times shared together, things you are grateful for, poetry, scriptures, quotes, lyrics from hymns or worship songs, memoirs, current photos, and ones of you when you were the same age, etc.
  3. Write to Restore: Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Is the relationship with your daughter strained? Does she rarely open up to you? Is her heart blocked from painful situations that are unresolved? Write to restore your relationship. Pray and ask the Lord for the right words to minister to your daughter’s spirit, the words you need to break through any barriers. Come alongside your daughter. Be transparent and share the struggles you had when you were her age. Note: never use a shared journal to lecture or berate your daughter!

Write to Remember: Malachi 3:16 “Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name.” If there was ever a verse that encouraged shared journaling, this is it! God is actively involved in listening to the conversations of His children. Dedicate your journals to Him and make them a place to record the moments of your lives and His faithfulness to all generations.