I am a nostalgic person. I love to reminisce about my favorite memories, usually from my time working at a summer camp in Canada. The ‘good old days’ when my worst problems were that the boy I liked didn’t know I existed, or there was girl-drama between campers. I get emotional when the memories hit and start looking up old friends on Facebook. We chat for a few minutes, or maybe a few days, and then it’s back to radio silence until the next time I’m racing down memory lane.
My first novel is eleven years old this year. The memory popped up on Facebook the other day and I was floored. Only eleven years? It feels like a lifetime ago. I remember dreaming of being a full-time author and I guess I actually was; I just wasn’t making any money. I wrote constantly and was so fulfilled by the stories that came out of my heart. Writing even eclipsed my love of singing, which had carried me through my life since I was about eight years old. There was nothing like the high of dreaming up a character and then giving her reign over a blank screen.
When I saw the post about my book on Facebook, that feeling of nostalgia started to warm my body and I started remembering simpler days again. Not quite so simple as my camp days, but simpler than today. I briefly felt the familiar stir to create a world on a blank screen again, something I haven’t felt in years. I have tried to write fiction in the last few years, but I’ve always come up way short. The drive to write is not the same as it used to be, and while I have many manuscripts completed and hanging out in cyberspace from those prolific writing days, so much in me has changed that I would likely need to completely overhaul every single one of them, and I’m not feeling the pressure to do that right now. I don’t know if I ever will.
I am writing, however.
Ever since I came home from the hospital in 2017, people have been telling me that I need to write about that experience and what God did in my life as a result. I remember wanting to punch every single person who suggested it. The trauma of that experience and the things that followed were not things I wanted to get my hands dirty with any more than was necessary to survive.
So, for years I have done the quiet work of learning how to heal from trauma, and when I’ve had something to share, I’ve put it out into the world on social media, or here on this blog, and that’s been enough for me. I figured that one day the Lord would require more, but I would be good and ready for it when He did. My premise for writing, teaching, or speaking has always been that what God does in my life is not just for me, it’s for anyone else who’s experienced hardship as well. His deliverance and glory in my life cannot stay hidden because His glory is revealed by the word of my testimony.
So naturally, the Lord, in spite of my not feeling good and ready, has finally asked me to write about the work He has done in my life in a more detailed way. It took me about six months to obey the call. I fought it with everything I had, which isn’t much when you compare it with God’s infinite strength and glory.
Like I said, I have already walked through a lot of healing where all of this trauma is concerned, but getting re-married certainly opened my eyes to wounds that were still gaping open, and as I was finally obedient to start writing what He was asking me to, I found even more things the Lord had been waiting to deal with. Memories I had forgotten, or maybe subconsciously blocked out, that I had protected myself from in the moment, shoving my feelings down in order to stay upright and keep moving forward. God has shown me that my version of self-protection was more like self-sabotage because I wasn’t allowing myself to face, head on, what was really going on.
So that’s what I’m up to right now. The painstaking work of going back into memories, not the warm fuzzy ones I mentioned before. And instead of feeling the high of creating fiction, I often have to force myself to put words on the page, and there are a lot of tearful prayer breaks as the Lord does His work in my heart.
I’m not promising that this project will ever see a bookshelf, but the healing is flowing, and I think that might be the whole reason He wanted me to do this in the first place. At the very least, I will get to use what God does in me through this process to walk others through a similar healing journey and help them see His glory in their own lives. That’s all I have ever wanted to do.
What’s the takeaway for you? Simple: God will not ask you to do something He hasn’t equipped you for, that He doesn’t think you can do. If God is asking you to do something that you don’t want to do, there’s probably a precious gift hiding somewhere in obedience. I promise you, based on my own experience, the gift is definitely worth the work.