I’ve been wrestling lately with wanting to apologize for the ways I parent my son. The things I do to shore him up, build him up in the Lord and invest in his heart for God and his future wife and children. I was sweating feeling as if the things I’ve done (and that have proven fruitful) would not be taken seriously because I ONLY have one child. That readers would discount my approaches because he is the ONLY one.
But he is my people. And a lot of what is on my nightstand helps me be the mom to him that he needs; that I believe God has called me to be.
So while I know the enemy is wanting me not to share. To keep my ideas to myself, I’m ousting them (his voice of less) and will share this type of journaling with you anyway.
This is a snapshot of the stuff that is currently on my nightstand.
The book I’m trying to read (very interesting by the way), my journal, a Texas shaped coaster, my #52Lists Project that I journal in weekly, a journal for my son and a couple of magazines that I read and am submitting my own writing to. In the background, on the notecards are the Bible verses I am working on storing in my heart and one of my favorite photos of the two of us from 2015.
I’m glad the nightstand is as tiny as it is or I’d have twice as much stuff on it.
But the stuff on here is important to me. What I read, what I write, it is a reflection of my heart or what’s happening in my heart.
GET A JOURNAL
Any old journal will do. The meaning of the book and paper isn’t as important as what you’re going to fill it with, but I will say that this one takes on special meaning.
You see, I LOVE journals. Picking them up, handling them, opening them, writing in them. Me and paper journals are just bestie-pals (it’s a real thing). In fact, my appreciation for paper journals is so real that when he’d gone and volunteered for an organization, he was given a gift bag that he brought home and set on the kitchen counter. I, being me, nosed through it. I commented briefly on the fact that he’d gotten the journal among some of the other cool stuff in the bag and then returned it to the bag. About an hour later, he’d brought it back to me with this inscription.
I teared up.
I was touched. The gift was unprompted. Unsolicited. The journal was not meant for me, but was gifted and I received it humbly. I AM fighting to be and do my best for him. And he recognized it. And said something about it. In a journal.
Okay, really? The tears f-l-o-w-e-d…
IN HIS JOURNAL
After letting the journal sit for a few days, I’d remembered a conversation with a woman at church who has three children. Her oldest a 16yo boy. She has journals for each of her children that she writes in and will leave next to their beds for them to read at their convenience. We didn’t go into detail about all she writes in them but because they are three different people, I suspect she writes very different things and that those words are words including His Truth and her love.
So, I started to do something similar.
Since I still do the #motherlovetext messages I’ve kept this journal bedside and will return it to him when it’s full and I believe he needs the encouragement or on his birthday; whichever comes first.
I don’t write in it everyday, but when I do, I try to be clear about the memory I’m referencing while also sharing my heart for him.
Here’s an example:
I’ve re-read this entry several times. It’s so difficult for me to think of him going off and traveling the world without me leading and planning the trips. For me to think about life without him under the same roof. To swallow the very real reality that he has a path laid by God and he has to go and follow it, wherever it takes him. Writing it down helps me to remember in my heart what I know is right to share and work beyond the emotion of the moments and the fears and concerns that attempt to creep in.
With entries almost weekly, I’ll be sure to fill this little journal up in no time, then I’ll be on to one of the four Star Wars journals I picked up from Target last year; I just KNEW I would be able to put them to good use.
YOUR JOURNAL(S) FOR YOUR PEOPLE
Whether you have multiple children, only one child or no children, there has to be someone in your life that could benefit from you speaking love into their lives. Record your heart for them sometimes having watched from afar, sometimes from within the experience alongside them. Plan to leave it as gift for them to cherish and experience whether you are currently living down the hall from them, share a bed with them or they live across the country.
If you are looking at this and thinking you don’t have time for such a thing, I would argue that you do. It’s 5 or 6 minutes once or twice a week before bed. So, I don’t get to read as much in my book or need to set aside the Netflix show I’m watching – I can make the few minutes to invest in this gift for someone that I love. And you can too! I do not beat up on myself for not writing in it everyday. Nor do I set a schedule or timeline to fill in the pages. Don’t do that to yourself; there’s no need for that stress.
Believe me, there is something so peaceful and therapeutic about doing this. It only costs a little money, giving some undistracted attention to your people and a little bit of your time.
I smile as I write the words. I can imagine him reading them months or years from now, smiling as he reads my words too. As an autobiographer himself, I am also hopeful that receiving this journal will plant the seed for him to do this for his future wife and children too, passing on a legacy of finding ways and making time to invest in the best things, our people.