Giving My In-Between’s to the Lord

I have been an avid journaler since the ripe ole’ age of 8. My great-grandfather, who I called Grandpa Charlie, gave me my first journal for my baptism just a few weeks after said birthday. Since then, I have written nearly every week and in many instances every day of my life. I keep all of my complete journals all in a sealed box and sometimes go back through them for old times and memory sakes. It’s been good to go back and remember how something really took place instead of wondering how my brain warped it into more or less fun depending on the event.

Do you do that?

But, was my documentation of the actual event factual, or was it biased because of my mood? Was it documented as being more wonderful than it actually was, or was it THE WORST DAY OF MY LIFE. *huff* *sigh* *grumble*

A week ago last Sunday, my friend Julia Pugmire spoke in church. She is a gorgeous, beautiful, and spiritual woman who I want to be like one day when I grow up. Hey, I may be older, but she’s taller …

During her fabulous (no I’m not exaggerating) talk she held up a beautiful journal from her teen years and told the entire congregation how it stated a lot of things she loved and a lot of things she hated. In other words, it held the highs and the lows. *GASP* She admitted it said she hated her mother. What teenager’s journal doesn’t hate their mother at some point?

Thinking about that I realized what she said is so true. Our journals become our safe space to vent our frustrations and effuse about our joys. Our journals are our safe place. I loved hearing another person voice the very thing I had often thought. Julia, great minds think alike. But then, at that moment, another thought entered my head … what about your prayer’s Emmaline?

Do you only take your highs and lows to the lord or do you also give him your in-betweens?

As Julia continued to speak all I could think about was the in-betweens I wanted to give the Lord. I wanted to kneel down right there in the church pew and apologize to the lord that he was still getting that cranky teen who only wanted to report the highs and complain about the lows and instead pour out my heart about the in-betweens.

Elder Henry B Eyring, one of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is also an avid journaler as well as a watercolor artist. He is a great example of journaling and also prayer. He has long been a man I have looked up to. A favorite of mine since college when I met him in person and then after the event happened to run into him a second time with with three of my best girls and we hopped in and grabbed a picture with him before he left in the car. I’m the short one on the end.

Henry B Eyring, Emmaline (Billman) Hoffmeister and College Friends
Henry B Eyring, Emmaline (Billman) Hoffmeister and College Friends

Sorry, I digressed with my throwback to the 90’s.

I can’t find the reference now, but he once encouraged a group of college students to journal their prayers. Instead of kneeling beside your bed and praying (or wherever it is you like to pray) to write a prayer in your journal.

Then in the next breath he said to not only write the prayer, but to take a few calming breaths and then write the answer from God.

I of course did it. Writing the prayer was easy. I think it ended up like 5 pages long.

Answering my prayer was not as easy. It made me squirm a little at first. I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right. I wasn’t sure if the Lord wanted to answer me the way I was answering. I wasn’t sure! Soon the uncomfortable feelings left and I felt a warmth and assurance that God did want these things for me just as much as I wanted them. By the end I was in tears and knew that journaling my prayers would forever be a regular part of each month.

Now, I try to journal a prayer at least once or twice a month and from now on I will insure it not only contains my highs and my lows, but also contains my in-betweens, because God cares about all of us, not just our highs and lows.

Years later after hearing President Eyring’s prayer journaling message I further learned he includes art in his journals. Since the mid-1970s, President Henry B. Eyring has produced hundreds of small-scale watercolor paintings that, like his journals, capture his feelings and memories about important moments and people in his life. I have included one of his artistic watercolor renderings of his wife Kathy and daughter Elizabeth at the beach.

I would love it if you would share your prayer and journaling experiences in the comments below.

Henry B Eyring's Watercolor Rendition of Wife Kathy and Daughter Elizabeth at the Beach.
Henry B Eyring’s Watercolor Rendition of Wife Kathy and Daughter Elizabeth at the Beach.

A Visual Journal: Artwork of Henry B. Eyring was open at the Church History Museum from November 8, 2018 to February 9, 2019. Click below to see a record of the exhibit even though it’s been over for years.

Nostalgia, Memories, and Feelings: Looking Back through the Artwork of President Henry B. Eyring