How Spiritual Journaling Healed My Father-Daughter Issues After His Death
Spiritual Journaling Benefits & Steps
Spiritual Journaling helped me heal issues of guilt and unforgiveness concerning my father after he died. It is a resourceful tool, which contains several techniques that can be instrumental in disciplining you to discover and document your spiritual journey. Keeping a history of God’s faithful presence throughout your life can serve as a source of encouragement during personal reflection and in sharing with others. It can also become the foundation of your memoirs/testimony as a legacy for generations following.
The Dialogue method will allow you to address persons, projects, your body, events, inner realities, and ideas, where guilt, pain or questions emerge. The steps include: 1) Recall and write out in great detail the whole situation; 2) Offer the situation to God in prayer; and 3) Begin the dialogue regarding the details. “In doing so, you will often receive insight as to what is required in the present to defuse (or grow beyond) the past”. (Spiritual Journaling … by Richard Peace).
In 2005, I attended a Spiritual Journaling class, using Richard Peace's book, that yielded surprising results in helping me to heal, on a deeper level, some age old issues that were still very present with me. Practicing the Dialogue technique proved to be the most challenging and revealing experiences of the class. I share my experience of healing, forgiveness, and hope, with the prayerful intention to facilitate healing in someone with a similar circumstance or inspire someone to explore the practice of spiritual journaling and incorporate it into their own process of self discovery.
I acknowledged in my latter years that my heart’s desire, my passion in life since about age 15 was: I yearned for a soul mate to love with my whole heart. Someone who understood me and loved me inside and out from the imperfect outer shell to the depth of my being. For 32 years, I remained in a holding pattern, wondering if I would ever get the opportunity to release the abundance of love I possessed. A love that used to seem so intense it overwhelmed me when I pondered the possibility of releasing it within the confines of the divine relationship I long awaited. I came to believe that the desire stemmed from the following two childhood factors:
1. Although I was acquainted with many people growing up and participated in social activities, I was always a loner at heart; a deep thinker, who often felt misunderstood at the core and who was more comfortable at home reading a book, watching TV, or taking a nap.
2. I never had a civil relationship with my biological father during his lifetime; in fact, our interactions were basically non-existent.
Dialogue with my Biological Father
Me: Father, I’m sorry for my behavior during most of your life. I didn’t know how to do it different at the time and I was operating out of a child’s perception of distorted facts. I guess I took after mommy with my attitude. Remember, everything was either black or white with no shades of gray in between.
Father: Jo Anne, why were you so cold and distant every time I tried reconnecting with you? We never talked.
Me: Father, I believed that you had abandoned your children because you were mad at mommy; and I felt that if you really loved us, you would have maintained your responsibilities. I felt like you wronged us, so I cut you off emotionally. I apologize for never treating you with love (from my recollections) and I repent for not being spiritually mature enough to seek you out and share my faith after I received the Lord.
Father: Jo Anne, I can’t say that I wasn’t saddened and hurt by your treatment of me, but I am thankful that you eventually became civil. You did stop referring to me by my last name only and you stopped looking at me with disgust and contempt. I never held it against you; I named you and have always loved you.
Me: Thank you, Father, and forgive me for not sharing my hope with you when you were at your lowest. I regret the wasted years of never knowing you as a person or a father. I did eventually come to realize that I was wrong about you and had acquired some of your attributes, like your good-natured personality, dancing ability, and sense of humor. I think that our lack of relationship and understanding have been the seedling for my heart’s desire. I love you Father and hope to rejoice with you on the other side.
Dialogue with my Heavenly Daddy
God: My daughter, “Yes Daddy,” I have already forgiven you for that and it is time for you to release it completely. “I know Daddy, but-” JO ANNE! I know you are fearful that your father died in his sin and you blame yourself for not being a witness.
Me: Yes Daddy, I don’t even know exactly when or where or of what he died, but I know he wasn’t doing well and that his life and his choices had taken a toll on his health and his physical body.
God: Let it go my daughter, it is what it is. Release the past in order to be completely healed and embrace your future. You have repented and are forgiven. His soul is in my hands and I will render the judgment of lives lived. Learn your lessons and move on.
Me: Daddy, will I ever get this relationship thing right?
God: Baby Girl, when and only when your relationship is right with me and I AM enough for you, will you be able to experience that which you desire most. Until then, you are not ready. I understand the root and intensity of your desire, but to obtain it outside of me can destroy you. As a child, you were an old soul with questions and fears about life that no one took the time to listen to or could answer for you. You desired someone who would love and care for you and walk through this journey of life with you. You knew nothing of me at the time, but I was always the answer to those fears and questions and I AM the fulfillment of that desire.
Me: Daddy, I know that to be true in my head and in my heart of hearts, but you know that it has been a longstanding issue with us, and my own personal stronghold to experience your love in the flesh; that’s how I ended up in my first marriage (and I say first because it is my desire that I will have a second chance).
God: No daughter, you ended up in your first marriage because of disobedience. You made your own decision and didn’t listen or WAIT on Me, then you got scared and didn’t know what to do and went ahead because you didn’t talk to ME! To endure 11 years, you prayed for a special love and plenty of grace, but you didn’t repent until 10 years had passed. By then, you were lonelier married than you had been single, and were dying a slow spiritual and emotional death; and as for a second chance, only if and when you are ready.
Me: Daddy, what do I need to do in preparation?
God: Yield precious one. Give Me your whole heart, especially the part reserved for your soul mate. Enter into the center of My will. When you give up total control, I can complete the good work I’ve begun in you. Accept my will, even if it means to live single in a life of service. Open your heart and let me pour the fullness of Me into you. My love will allow you to love me right and true and help you desire what I want for you.
Me: Thank you, Daddy, all that You say I will do. I know that Your will for my life is far better than anything I can will or orchestrate for myself. I have learned and truly believe that it is better to live a full life alone than to live a life with someone and be lonely. I pray your kingdom come in my life.
God: Dear heart, in doing so, you will receive a glorious inheritance and I will reward your humble obedience exceedingly abundantly above all that you think or ask.
Me: Let it be so and so it is! In Jesus' name, amen.
After years of not learning the lesson, failed tests, repeating the same class on the topic “Love, Lust and Compromise versus God… Enduring Love, Meeting Every Need,” breakthrough finally occurred. I learned to separate myself, set boundaries, shut out distractions and the input of others, and develop a direct intimate connection to the Source and Creator of all things.
How could I have given or received love without knowing and experiencing the true, pure love of God, who is LOVE! For the first time in my life, I am really in love. I thought I was three times before, but now I know that was just practice love – a yearning little girl’s love, not fully developed.
Pentecost is real; the Comforter has come and is the same yesterday, today and forever. I am empowered and delivered through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I walk in confident victory by faith unto the full manifestation of my deliverance.
Do I still desire a committed physical relationship? Yes, but only if God wills it. And now that I am assured I will not self-destruct without it, nor settle for less receiving it, I no longer desire to look or wait around for love. I have entered into an exclusive relationship with Love, who is alive within me. I am validated everyday by a new level of intimacy beyond what I could think or ask. My God, El Shaddai, is more than enough, speaking ceaseless revelations through His word and inspiring unlimited constant creativity within me. If or when it is time, the love I desire will find me being about my heavenly Father’s business.
(Matthew 6:33) “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
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