So here is a very loose list of my top ten tips for writing a journal.
I have just published "Heaven's Journal" in December 2019, in time for Christmas .
It is a beautiful book, covered in meadow flowers in bloom with snippets of my poetry throughout and scripture at the bottom of each page. There are places for prayer, and writing your own thoughts. It is here on the website for you to get a hold of. It will make the most beautiful gift for friends and family who love to journal or who want to start. www.jemorrisbooks.com
Prepare your space
Invite the Holy Spirit in to sit with you, call on Him to bless your conversation, be very still and quiet and feel His presence. Read Psalm 46:10 before you start if you like. “Be still and know that I am God”
Shut your eyes. He will come to you if you ask Him. I used to imagine Jesus standing behind me with His hands on my shoulders and would wonder what it would be like to feel His breath on my hair.
Pray, either out loud or under your breath, He hears all, show your gratitude for who He is. Praise His name, show Him you love Him. Just worship Him – if it’s appropriate and you are alone, sing along with the music and imagine Him there looking into your eyes. His eyes show you how adored you are!
Also be aware that nothing you write will be a surprise to Him. He already knows you and understands your every need. He just wants you to give Him permission to help you. Having said all that, it is OK to just pick up your journal and write whenever the need arises.
I am so grateful that I had a mentor like my friend Christine Gear, she bought me to Christ and it was because of the journal that I have been able to share the poems that God dropped into my spirit on those wonderful mornings with Him over my first 7 years as a Christian. She went to be with her adored Jesus in June 2016. She is greatly missed.
I pray that you will find peace and joy in writing your journal and that these poems will bless you.
Jan’s Top Ten Tips
I have been a Christian for almost 10 years now, if you told me when I was a wild child or during my 20s or 30’s that in my 60s, I'd be a born-again Christian, I would have laughed out loud. Hilarious! But God had a plan for Jan, and the laughs on me.
I've looked back at how this all happened and even now it surprises and delights me. 10 years ago I was in network marketing and I had strife in my business and although I reached a level that most people don't reach, had a free car and lifestyle bonuses, I wasn't happy, there were too many things that didn't feel right and I had to sort out the strife.
My friend and mentor who I'd been watching for many years, was right there for me. She was the highest ranking leader in this company and so calm and so loving and I wanted what it was that she had. I didn’t know that it was having God in the centre of her life, that made her so special.
I decided one Sunday to visit her church. I told myself that I wasn't going for any particular reason I was just ‘checking it out’ and to be honest I’d heard weird things about how different it was to ‘normal’ church but I had noticed that the most loving and kind of my MLM related friends, were a part of that particular church.
I wasn’t aware at that stage that I belonged to the largest Christian organisation in that particular company. They were taking out all the accolades and achievements year after year and a lot of that can be attributed to the Christian values shown and taught in their organisation.
I was also told, by someone not in the church, that I didn’t have to be a member of that church to do well in life or in the business. I took that onboard for a while and stayed away but then when things got worse and I felt I was at rock bottom, I decided I would find out for myself.
The only good thing at that point was my home-life. We had a very strong marriage and our son was wonderful but everything else around me was driving me crazy, sucking the joy out of me and making me unhappy.
The strange thing was that nobody that had suggested visiting the church, was actually there that Sunday. I texted three people to say that I was 'thinking’ of coming, I wanted to get some moral support but in the end I had to go on my own. As I look back now, I realise that God wanted me to take responsibility and admit to myself that I was looking for something.
I cried through the whole service that day, I had no idea what was going on at the time, but looking back I see that God was showing me what overwhelming love felt like, He was offering me something that I didn’t even realise I was missing and I had absolutely no idea why I was crying but at the end of the morning, when the Pastor asked if anyone would like to receive Jesus, I almost ran to her side!
I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and I can honestly say, it was the best thing I've ever done. It was as if a big burden had gone. I can’t even name that burden but I knew it had been lifted.
I was very fortunate to be with a group of Christians who were so loving and accepting and to be a part of a church that was free and Holy Spirit led, because I had been in Church of England / Anglican / Catholic services and found them really hard to enjoy with all the ‘repeating after me’ and the overly formal settings. None of them actually taught me the person who is Jesus and the importance of Holy Spirit.
The Bible scared me – I had tried to read it before and started at the beginning and the God I saw was angry and mean and was always killing or punishing His people. There were so many rules and commands and I didn’t think it was for me.
I think the mistake people make is starting at Genesis and ploughing through the Old Testament, really tough going for a newbie! I did discover later that the Old Testament tells or 'points to' what will be coming in the New Testament. It’s fascinating to learn about, but that came later.
I was advised to start at the gospel of John in the New Testament first and really discover who Jesus was and what happened to Him, why He was sent to earth and what His sacrifice on the cross was all about. As I read about Him and watched some movies, old and new I actually fell in love with who He is. Sound nuts, I know. The very graphic crucifixion scene in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ changed me for ever. I sobbed through it all. The sight of Jesus's mother kissing his bloody feet while he was on the cross, was the most difficult part for me.
At the River of Life church people just did what they wanted, there was a formal agenda during the service but some people would be down the front dancing, others would be clapping and swaying in their seats, some sang and prayed in tongues, others put their hands in the air and some were just lost in their own thoughts, it was such a joyous atmosphere and I loved it!
I recognise that the 'something in the air' I was feeling was the Holy Spirit.
The following week after I got saved, my husband and son came to church with me and they are both saved too.
I spent the first few years in that church crying most of the time, tears of joy, gratitude and sadness as I dealt with so many things in me. My husband and I were baptised in the Holy Spirit and sometime later we were also baptised in water.
I had heard along the way that ‘baptism in the Holy Spirit’ was not for today's church, that it was in the Bible but not something that was for modern times. Well, all I can say is that Jesus said He would send the Holy Spirit to EVERYONE.....not everyone up to a certain date. It’s right there in the bible and it happened at Pentecost. There has been such a change in me. I literally feel Holy Spirit in me and on me.
I now try to live my life as if Jesus was sitting right next to me (very hard when I'm driving and come across idiots in their cars lol) and it might sound a bit weird and very cliched, but He is in the very centre of everything that I do.
I'm not a religious nut! In fact I believe in relationship not religion, I don't quote scriptures at people, I don’t condemn them or judge the way they live their lives, I don't tell them what they should or shouldn't do, I just share on a day to day basis what Jesus means to me, how I live life, my beliefs and expectations, no-one is surprised that I am a Christian. It’s obvious to all around me….I am here if they want to ask questions, tell me their story or give their lives to Jesus as I did.
I read once that when Jesus came to earth, there were around 600 man-made rules. When His disciples asked Jesus which commandment was the most important, He said to only have one God and love your neighbour as yourself. He came to set us free not only from sin, but from religiosity and ritual.
If you think about it, if you are living a life based around those two commandments, the rest just follows naturally. If you love God, you would also accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour because that's the only way to be with God in heaven and you wouldn’t kill, steal, lie and judge etc if you truly loved your neighbour.
When I was saved , all those things I'd worried about before – the rules I’d have to follow, the things I’d have to give up, became things I didn’t even want in my life and things that I didn't even miss when they were gone. It was a conscious decision to follow Jesus but the rest of it became things I really didn’t want to do anymore, they were not things someone told me to stop doing.
I have discernment in me, I know when things are not right, I feel it inside me and believe me, sometimes that can be very inconvenient!
I mean my hubby and I can’t sit and watch a movie that has nudity, sex scenes or swearing in it. Movies we liked and watched before, are now off the list. We cannot physically sit there. It’s a butterflies in my tum kind of feeling, an unease.
So I ask myself, would Jesus watch this movie with me? If not, we don’t watch but if friends want to watch, then that's OK. We'd never tell them not to...that's not what we are about.
I believe Holy Spirit is in me, Holy Spirit, God and Jesus are one. So where I am, what I’m doing and saying, it’s in front of God. I feel it in my spirit when it's not right.
If someone had quoted scriptures at me, before I realised I was looking, or told me that I was a sinner and was going to hell, I would have told them exactly where to go (and with some very colourful language and gestures) and I definitely wouldn't have explored who Jesus was or what others saw in Him. I dislike that type of religious ranting and much prefer the relationship side of Christianity.
This was the right thing for me because I really felt I was missing out on something that I saw in others, and there had to be something more to life than I was living. It was a God shaped hole! There's your cliche hahahaha.
Maybe you recognise that you have something missing too...if so, message me and let's chat....if not, then that's OK.
The most surprising thing I have discovered as I journal and chat to God on a daily basis - is that He was there all the time. I can recognise when He helped me in the past, took care of me, gave me an answer, kept me from making terrible choices and on a couple of occasions even saved my life.
He is not some secret part of me, but I understand that it's also not just words but actions that draw people closer. My most important desire is to be authentic, true to myself, so no matter where I am, no matter who I am with, if people don't like the Christian part of me and can't get past that, I do feel sad, but then that's their issue not mine. I will just continue to be the kind, loving respectful person I am towards them and their beliefs, and still be steadfast in mine.
I still have lots of questions, even after 10 years, it is a lifetime journey and I started very late! I still want to know 'why' all the time.... I imagine God saying ...."What? another 'why' question Jan?" even though I know He knows what I'm going to ask next!
This is also about believing what you can’t see.
That’s faith. I’d never go back. I like this me.
This morning I was awoken very early.
I don’t like that, I love my sleep. I always say my creative mind needs to stop and take a breath, but this morning I could feel my brain starting to rev up and it would not quieten so that I could go back to sleep. So I said OK Lord, what it is? Our prophetic writing workshop was bobbing around in my head, boinging back and forth, so I sat up and picked up my phone.
Our son John had sent me a text the night before and I saw it on the screen and then noted the time 4.21….whaaaaaa?
I love numbers and always note signs and messages that come through them, so I picked up my bible from the bedside table. It's a purple bound Passion Translation that I received for my 60th birthday. I turned to John 4:21.
"Believe me, dear woman, the time has come when you won’t worship the Father on a mountain nor in Jerusalem, but in your heart"
I love this story, I love how Jesus loves on this woman and how she becomes the first evangelist, but today I felt the Lord say the message wasn’t anything to do with the Samaritan woman, but it landed in my spirit like a big soppy kiss.
Worshipping Him in our hearts. That beautiful relationship that we can have if we want to accept it. I was writing my thoughts in my journal as I pondered this and I wondered how many of us write and wonder if it’s Him? Wonder if maybe after all…. it’s just me, or it may be Him but it’s just for me not others.
In our very very deep hidden parts, what do we really think of the words we write? Why are we writing the words, where are they going? What is the point of them, what should we do with them?
I was just mulling that over in my mind and browsing the bible app and I saw that the verse for today was Galatians 6:9 and so I looked again in the Passion Translation.
"And don’t allow yourselves to be weary or disheartened in planting good seeds, for the season of reaping the wonderful harvest you’ve planted is coming! 10 Take advantage of every opportunity to be a blessing to others,[a] especially to our brothers and sisters in the family of faith!"
What? He always knows what is in our hearts. We wait for a harvest, for something, for anything to show us we are on the right track. But hey! We worry about nothing. Read this again and then mull it over.
For me it was answering all the questions that I don’t ask out loud. I have published my absolutely awesome prophetic poetry book Heaven is all about Him, and I know and have seen, that it touches people’s hearts. It blew me away when I realised the words were not only for me. They were definitely from Him! The thing is we have to be willing to share them. We have to be brave and say I don’t care if some don’t like them…..I know some need to hear them.
I dip in and out of the book randomly and even now a couple of years after it was published I find hidden treasure in the words that I actually wrote myself. I often read one out to my husband or a friend and say …isn’t that beautiful? I wonder where that came from because I don’t recognise it as mine. My pen writes but the Holy Spirit inspires the words.
Yet I look at it and say….is it really what God wants me to do? I over think it!
The answer is in that scripture from Galatians. “Take advantage of every opportunity to be a blessing to others”.
I love to talk about the stories that have come from my book. Sometimes I am so overwhelmed by the amazingness of God and the randomness of how He lines up the people to read something He has for them, that I cry out of gratitude that He allowed me to be the one to bring the word to that person, for such a time as this and in His perfect timing.
As I was writing this morning, I felt the Spirit speak and another poem was delivered.
I said to the Lord, I guess I’ve felt weary in the past and not really believed that what comes out of my journal, what flows from my pen, is really You…….
Why not? You ask with a twinkle in Your eye
Am I just a feeling that sometimes passes by?
Am I just a fleeting thought in a worldly busy day
Or am I truth and light and love and am I here to stay?
Shut your early morning eyes and hand upon your heart
Forget I’ve dragged you from your bed for a very early start.
Feel the Spirit in you, feel the passion in My word
Are the rhymes that you bring forth the most amazing you have heard?
For these are not your cleverness, you deliver with your pen
and this I’ll keep reminding you over and again
My words, My message My delight, that I gifted you, my love
These seeds I have been planting, will bring your harvest from above.
I would like it to be a reminder for you to press in, to let go of the naysayers, the doubt in your mind and remember the enemy is the father of lies. Then shout out to the heavens, a cry of praise for God, for He is The Father of truth and love.
How can your words, gleaned from Him, not be a message to others? Believe it in you gut, if you don’t believe it, how can others? If they don’t, then we’ve taken away a precious gift from that person because you have no idea what massive blessing Holy Spirit might have prepared for them through your word’s that seemed so ordinary to you.
I think the Galatians scripture is back to front…it occurs to me that if you do the blessing part – the rest will come. Those seeds will germinate, and the harvest will be so overwhelming it will knock you off your feet!
I believe the poem that I wrote this morning is both for everyone and anyone who feels the Holy Spirit in their writing and for those who want it to be Him and want to learn more.
The last time I visited the UK with John, I was very sad to see the deterioration in dad’s health, but so happy that we made the trip and we were able to spend time with him. It was particularly nice to see John chatting to his grandad as an adult, drinking beer and talking about sport. I knew as we said goodbye and returned to Australia, that it was probably the last time I would hug him and tell him I loved him, in person.
After we came to see him in the UK when John was 17 my dad wrote to me and said this about watching my husband and son together, "when I watched the father / son interplay and family banter with its private humour that exists between him and his dad, I cannot help feeling how much I have missed with the death of Steven at six years of age"
It breaks my heart how that probably happened with every single father / son he saw. A lifetime of hurt and regret. A broken heart. That's my biggest joy, my heart is so happy, fit to burst, when I imagine what that reunion would have been like for them both as Jesus took him home.
He was a published author and had written several books….on dogs! On reflecting back, I really wish he’d written about his life. It would have been hilarious and fun but also a thought provoking and compelling read. He started young and accomplished a lot in his 88 years and there is still so much I don’t know about dad. A few years ago, he sent me a copy of his biography written for one of the dog magazines and it is a very interesting read. I wish I’d asked him more questions.
He was also a soldier and there are terrible things that he went through that I never heard him voice and all of that also made him who he was. He received 5 medals and I believe he would have shown true bravery and excellent leadership when he was out with his war dogs in the jungles.
He was a people person and easily made friends with strangers and they were drawn to his infectious ways and hilarious stories. If I have a trait in me that I see is from him, it’s the ease with which I make friends and the ability to make others laugh and feel included.
Dad had a wonderful singing voice and I have memories of him singing around a piano in the Sergeant’s Mess. We also had little routines that he taught us kids and we were rewarded with packets of crisps and fizzy drinks for entertaining his friends!
After losing his only son and the next child being another much loved daughter, he set about trying to be the best dad he could be and worrying that he might let us down.
He wrote to me about that time "When you lose one child from a family of five, it is the child that is lost, but the love you feel for that child stays with you for life"
On being a parent of five daughters he wrote "All you can do is to plant the seed and carry out the early training and lessons in the best way you can and then watch them grow. There comes a time when you have to let them go......when this happens you simply have to watch them, trust them and love them unconditionally until they turn into complete adults that you are proud to call your own"
He was very proud of his girls.....and of course I was his favourite second daughter.
November, a beautiful month to celebrate our son, my dad and my little brother.
Firstly, let me assure you there is no perfect way to journal – one person’s perfection is another one’s nightmare. I for instance am a very busy headed, ‘something on the go all the time’ personality and if I feel I ‘have to’ sit somewhere and journal to be correct or proper…. I’d start feeling a little freaked out
I am a little envious of those people who are wonderfully organised and have everything in its place with their time accounted for and a neat and a well-oiled and dust free brain.
When I first got saved, oh gosh! that was an experience in itself. Who would have thought that Jesus would be interested in me? Of course, it goes without saying that
I was interested in me, I put ME first nearly all the time, but it wasn’t really working out for me. I had strife in my business, and I was a selfish wife to my lovely husband.
I was on the hit lists of many Christian friends. I think they were amazed and open mouthed when I finally turned up at church to “check it out”, there was a scurry of texts flying around “Jan’s coming to church” and it’s hilarious to find out afterwards just how well organised they were, they all had my salvation at heart.
I’ve learnt since then to understand that even if those we speak to don’t want to know God – Holy Spirit waters every single seed that we sow. I would be interested to see just how many seeds were following me around……it would have looked like the bottom of a very large and well populated budgie cage!
Anyhow, I was in tears all through the service, and I found myself on my knees at the front giving my life to Jesus as Pastor Royree led me through the salvation prayer. I remember feeling a massive sense of relief and I didn’t know why, but ever since then I have carried peace with me everywhere I go.
So off I go into this very wonderful and sometimes more than a little bit weird world of “being a Christian”
Before I got saved I did believe in God, I went to Sunday school as an army kid and I even went to church for a year in Wales after I married Philip, but that was just so that I could get our son enrolled into the church school (a very deliberate and not too honest strategy that worked a treat!)
However, I didn’t know that being a Christian means following the teachings of Jesus and living life the way He would have. I thought a Christian was someone who believed in God, but not so. Christian actually means ‘follower of Christ’
After about a week my mentor and friend Christine Gear (who has since gone to heaven) suggested that I journal. She said that I should write my questions, worries, ideas, thank you’s and just general chit chat in the journal and it would give me answers and bring me closer to God. I really liked Christine and even though I thought that was very weird to suggest chatting to God through a journal, I went and chose a very posh, velvety covered, gold embossed journal and started to meet with God every single morning for an hour, writing about everything that was in me.
To my amazement I was also writing the answers, but after a little while of feeling very clever, I started to believe that actually it was God that was conversing with me. I really wasn’t that smart!
That’s when the rhymes and poems started emerging. I would read back through my week and think I must have seen that somewhere before because it didn’t seem like I had written it. Even now, as I dip into a poem in my book I often think “wow – that’s so beautiful! Go God!”
So, at that time, I was writing my journal every day for an hour. Nowadays I don’t do that, seasons change, and I am more sporadic that I was then, I dip in and out and this is my point. There are no rules, what works for one person may not necessarily be something that someone else would do. Check out my post on the Top ten tips to journaling.
"Heaven is all about Him" my book of prophetic poems from my Christian journal during time alone with God in the mornings. Each poem seems to have the ability to mean different things to different people depending on where they are in their life and what's going on for them.
Have you ever read something and thought it was all about you....that it was a word for you, though not written for you? Where you are, at a specific place in your journey, the things that you are asking, words you are waiting for, and messages that as far as you are concerned are coming to you from the throne room of heaven.
If you like a book that you can dive into whenever you feel you need a warm hug or an answer to a problem or just a feeling of peace, belonging and a touch from Holy Spirit, you will love this collection of prophetic poems.
Every morning, if we wait for Him, ‘be still and know’ He shows up with beautiful words, warm kisses and wonderful encouragement for the day.
I never in a million years though that these little poems would be published.
We all have something that was deposited by God into our spirit and I believe that most of us know what it is and we just have to find the courage to get it out.
When I became a Christian, I was encouraged by my friend and mentor Christine Gear, to journal daily. It was a bit weird I thought, but soon got into it and really loved the connection that it gave me with God and noticed too that my writing began to rhyme. The poems were really lovely and as I got more into the deeper side of being a born again spirit filled Pentecostal Christian, I began to 'feel' that certain poems were for others.
My gorgeous friend Christine got really sick and the poems changed pace and were shared a lot amongst the group of friends who were praying for her.
She passed to Glory after a brave fight with MND and to honour her belief that they were to be shared (and with the constant nagging of the rest of the friends) I published the poems and called it "Heaven is all about Him"
Now when a feel God prompting I pass the poems to others and when someone purchases a book I give them a poem that God shows me is for them. There have been many, many wonderful stories of comfort, strength, revelation, hope and love that have been shared with me from those people as a result.
That's how my little prophetic ministry began. He always knows what to say when words fail us, He knows the answers to our constant questions, He is the breath in the breezes all around you, He is the soft touch on your cheek as you sleep, the warm caress or the deep hug as you go about your day and the whispered endearment in stressful times.
These are shared messages from Heaven where it's all about Him.
I hope you get pleasure from the messages as you delve into the book, either all at once or as a daily devotional.
During my daily journaling , I wrote a children’s rhyme about the Good Samaritan which was very random and popped up amongst the poems sent by the Holy Spirit.
When the children's teacher at our church was off sick, I loaned it to the lady who was replacing her for the day, as there was no lesson prepared.
The Good Samaritan was a hit, I was asked to read it to them, and the children discussed what it would be like to be like him today, and then they acted it out in small groups.
The suggestion after that was why not get it published and then once I had decided to do it, I had to find an illustrator.
Somehow, the illustrator that was found was me. I had done a year in Art College 40 years previously but had decided it wasn't for me as a career, and even though I could draw passably I had no secret desire to paint or illustrate professionally.
A friend gave me some watercolour paints and brushes and said she believed I was supposed to do it, she was very tuned in to the Holy Spirit and so I did.
The Good Samaritan was published on January 22nd 2018, my 60th birthday and The Good Samaritan Companion - puzzle and colouring book, was written in March 2018 to accompany the story.
I have finished the Prodigal Son and there will also be 2 more in the parable series.
As this became a part of my plan going forward I really felt during my quiet times that God was encouraging me to write about 4 things which He feels are important to today's modern technology swamped children.
These are being kind to others, acknowledging inner gifts and talents, forgiving others as well as themselves, and of course love. Specifically love of themselves, as well as love of others. The overriding message from God was that they should always believe, no matter their circumstances, that they are loved. Whether they might be in a situation where there is not much love in the family or somewhere that love had seemed to have disappeared, or died or taken from them, that it is still all around them and that they are always loved.
I want these books to be accepted in non Christian schools as well, because the messages behind them are timeless.
The Prodigal Son was released via a Kickstarter in March 2019 and is now in print
There are many more ideas in my ever-so crowded head and I am excited to see them all come to fruition and do a work in our gorgeous children, to give them a place to sit and read the rhymes and get a touch of God in their day.
When I became a Christian 8 years ago at the age of 52, I was encouraged to journal every morning. I thought this was a bit wierd because I was supposed to be talking to God and I couldn't imagine what I could possibly ask Him and didnt know how I would know if He had actually answered
However I started to notice that as I got into His presence the answers came and I was surprised to find that when I got the answers, it wasn't actually me that came up with them, although it was definitely me who was writing them.
The replies, suggestions and responses came as rhyming poetry, and these poems became a regular occurrence. They were words from God that would speak about what was going on in my life, and answered my questions and encourage me in my day. They also spoke of my deepest feeling's, my hurts, my disappointments as well as this overwhelming love for God that I hadn't acknowledged before.
These words have an effect on anyone who read them too, and I would pass them to friends when I knew the word was for them.
I had no idea that God sometimes talks to us in these amazing ways and I’m always excited when others get such pleasure from them.
My book of poems is called Heaven Is All About Him. I believe that one of these poems is specifically for you and I give a poem to everyone who buys the book.
I am known as Jan to most people but I write under my Christian names Janet Elizabeth.