I believe creating helps us get outside ourselves. When my spirit feels very low, stuffed down inside myself, it helps to create something. That’s how writing helps me.
There are times, however, when certain kinds of creating are painful. Then I have to figure out something else. In the past I did a good deal of art, mostly watercolor. Last spring I stumbled on the idea of collage. This seemed to fit the abstract nature of a photo that interested me. I shopped for interesting papers and began to cut and paste. Steve saw the start of my effort. Five days later he died. I put that project away and didn’t look at it for weeks. Even just remembering I had those colored and textured papers in my canvas tote made me sad.
Weeks earlier a friend at church had asked me to help with crafts in her young Sunday school class. I decided to make good on that. She said the kids loved to cut and paste, perfect! I brought my papers in to them and let them work. Children are natural designers, I didn’t teach them much except how to cut on a fold. Their joy was contagious. We still do this today.


After my husband Howard died, I looked for a book that would help me with grieving, that would give me comfort and direction. I found nothing that helped much. These books never mentioned God’s work in our lives. I needed a strategy on how to cope that included God. Later on, after the second loss, I did find a great book, “Grieving God’s Way” by Margaret Brownley. I recommend this one!
I needed an outlet, though, so I took up journalling again. The act of writing made me feel more in control. It also helped me identify my raging emotions.
For me, thinking and writing go together. And praying. I feel better when I record my thoughts. I feel creative. Looking back through my posts of a year or two ago I am amazed to see that I am teaching myself to cope. Writing has helped me grow. That’s why I call it prayer.
I used to think journalling was kind of silly, since I already knew what I’d done that day. That was before I came up against certain challenges that helped me see how productive and healing it can be.
Try journalling, and remember, the journal is your space. There are no rules. You write when you need to and only what you want to. ▲