Grace V. Peart is an Educator with a background in Theology, Religious Education, Special Education, Curriculum Development and Educational Leadership. She is also a former Moravian Deaconess who has been a part of the Bethel Baptist Church family in Half Way Tree, Kingston, Jamaica since 1994. She serves in several areas of the church’s life and ministry, including Mission and Evangelism, the Adult Choir and Junior Choir.
How It All Started
At age thirteen I made my first diary from a tiny, old, blue, soft-leather-covered “needle-book” belonging to my mother. The book had pages made of calico, and in it different types of needles were stored. It was all held together with a dainty string of matching blue leather, and had a beautiful – but faded – floral design on the cover. It had seen better days. Some of the few remaining needles were large, some small, some curved. I removed the cloth pages and replaced them with plain copy paper and parts of pages from an exercise book, and in it I wrote my little secrets in a code that I had invented. Don’t ask me what I did with the needles.
You see, I had been reading the diary of Anne Frank, and was both moved by her plight and intrigued by the idea of having my own private place to record my thoughts and experiences: to converse with myself, to mull over my views on life and to dream my dreams about the future. I soon became tired of writing in code, but continued writing, and I have kept that humble little book through the years. I later graduated to a handy little light green ruled 4″ by 6″ paperback notebook with a maroon-coloured logo on the cover. In it I included my thoughts about the boy across the street, the new manse we were moving to in the ‘country’, as well as floor plans and an ‘artist’s rendition’ of how I would arrange my bedroom when we got there. (That little book I’ve also kept.) At that point, I had not yet made a formal commitment to Jesus Christ.
I abandoned journalling for a few years. During that time, I became a Christian in high school, and went to Bible College just after leaving sixth form at the age of eighteen. Then, in a first year course called Christian Life, I was reintroduced to writing down my thoughts: this time, thoughts I had received from God during personal devotions, and prayers I had recorded in order to track when or how they had been answered. As a part of that course, I also wrote my testimony (such as it was at the time). I have included that effort in this book. I must say, though, that I consider this entire book to be my testimony.
Over the years, my writing has evolved instinctively from thoughts and prayers recorded during Quiet Time to thoughts and insights and prayers recorded at any time of day or night in poetry or prose as the Spirit moved me. You could say that after a while I had no specified Quiet Time. Writing became as important to me as breathing: a form of release in times of stress and a way of rejoicing in times of success; a way of mulling over thorny issues; of enjoying nature; of marking major developmental milestones in my life; of questing after Truth, and of recording precious truths as taught to me by the Holy Spirit. Finally, writing has been a way of opening up my very heart and soul to commune with God in complete honesty and sincerity.
As a result, making this material public has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I have struggled against it for many years, but through it all I have always known that what God has taught me could be of benefit to others. (Time and again I’ve been blessed by reading over material I’d previously written.) My Journey is obviously not yet complete. I am still making entries as the Spirit leads. However, you should never say ‘no’ to God. Others are robbed of blessing and enrichment, and so are you!