Christmas was only a few days away. Everything appeared so nostalgic the night we visited our daughter in her little apartment. But the lit tree, burning candles, and carols playing softly in the background couldn’t hide the tension that existed in our relationship. We just couldn’t seem to communicate face to face any more without some level of misunderstanding and hurt.
We’d always had a fairly close relationship, so I’d been asking the Lord to help me see the reason for our conflict as He saw it. That night, standing in her little kitchen, I sensed the Lord whisper, “Ask Katie what she sees.”
Without hesitation, Katie responded to my question in tender humility, “I struggle mom, because whenever we’re together you always look so disappointed in me.”
Oh, how her words pierced my heart; never had I wanted to hurt her in that way. Yet the Lord gave me the grace to see the truth in her words and to realize He was answering my prayers. We wept together and I silently cried out for the Lord’s help in healing our relationship.
That night, the Lord gave me an idea for a Christmas present that would help bring about that healing. The gift? A simple little journal–nothing lavish or profound, but a tool the Lord used to knit our hearts together as we wrote back and forth each month for several years.
I recently asked Katie (now twenty-eight and married) to share her perspective on how journaling impacted our relationship. Here’s what she said,
That Christmas gift is what really helped our relationship become what it is today. As we journaled, we talked about “life”–fun stuff, silly stuff, sad stuff, and yes, even the hard stuff. We shared memories from my childhood, dreams for the future, and disappointments from the past. You encouraged me and reminded me of all God had done in my life in the past and all He wanted to do in the future.
Journaling helped me open up and share things I had never been able to talk about with you. Writing out my feelings was so much easier than trying to verbalize them face to face. It helped me process some of the tough questions of life.
Through our journals, I learned about who you were as a woman and not just as my mom. It brought us so much closer together even when we were miles apart. Our journaling was and still is a precious gift in my life. I treasure that time that helped heal our relationship and bring us to where we are today!
“To God be the Glory great things He hath done!”
Is there tension in your family this Christmas season? What might the Lord want to do in that relationship through the gift of your time and words of encouragement? Who knows, a simple journal may become the best Christmas gift you, too, have ever given!