In 1995 I was introduced to Journaling for the very first time. My younger brother had entered a beautiful religious community which was contemplative, charismatic and Marian. One of the very first 'teachings' they shared with all new postulants was the powerful truth that the Lord wants to be our own personal Teacher and Companion. The most effective and loving way He chooses to do this is by speaking to our hearts directly.
The Mother Superior helped each postulant become better at 'listening' to the interior Voice of the Lord by having them journal, encouraging them to write down what the Lord was sharing with them during quiet prayer time. This was very helpful in teaching them to give their undivided attention to His words within. Their journaling was then shared with their Spiritual Director, as a helpful confirmation to increase their trust in His Voice, and to share His teachings as a diving board for Spiritual Direction.
I was so moved by the powerful words and tender love that came out of those writings which my brother shared with me, that I remember getting off the phone with him one night and crying my heart out, deeply yearning to share that kind of relationship with the Lord. I, too, wanted to converse with Him in an intimate and loving way, and felt He was filling me with the hunger to pursue this.
Sensing my desire to jump in and journal along with him, my brother gave me the same scripture passages he was given for the first time he did this. I still remember the first Scripture passage I journaled with, "Thy words are a lamp unto my feet". It was the springboard I needed - the Living Word which would help me truly be open to the Living Author!
That night I sat in the quiet of my living room, (it was Divine Intervention that no one was home!), and I opened to a blank page in my notebook, writing down the passage, listening and waiting. For ten minutes I wrote all that I felt the Lord spoke to my heart - words of loving comfort and confirmation, filled with an experience of "Be at peace, my beloved. I am the One who has desired this for you..."
When I was done, I put the notebook as far back in my closet as it could go - not knowing where to go from there, or who to share it with. It was amazing, powerful, consoling and very foreign to me - and I was afraid to jump in with both feet. It would be almost a year and a half before I had the courage and the burning desire to open my heart again and let Him in...