Who Needs To Hear Your Story
Driving up the hill leaving Cochrane, I mentioned my friend Lynda to my husband, the last I’d heard, she was living there. We went to school together nearly 30 years earlier and I hadn’t seen her since. It would be nice to catch up with her I thought.
Half an hour down the road, my husband and I were heading home after our respite weekend. I opened my iPad to catch up on emails and messages when I saw I had one from Lynda! Huh! What were the chances?
As I read through the lengthy message, tears began to stream down my face. I quickly looked over at my husband as he drove and I read the incredibly timely message aloud to him.
Unknowingly to Lynda, my memoir A Season of Ashes, was in the final editing stages before being sent to the printer. I had been wrestling some with what now, what was I supposed to do now that my year and a half long project was coming to an end?
Lynda shared her heart and her dream in the message, asking me if I would consider joining her and a group of other women, in writing a series of devotionals. They would be specific in targeting women going through various kinds of pain.
Pain? Now that is one topic I can talk about! My memoir is about various kinds of pain my family and I have walked through.
I felt excited, honoured and a bit overwhelmed in a good way! The timing of God, to put me on her heart after all those years, is really quite incredible!
That was September, 2015. Our first official meet and greet weekend together as writers was early 2016, the exact weekend that I received the shipment of my books. That was the beginning of Walk With Me Ministries and I am so honoured to be a part of what God is doing with this group of women.
While writing my first book, I envisioned my audience to be women going through pain. Since its release, I have been pleasantly surprised to see that God had a much broader plan. It has been spread through the young adult community. Those who have no faith or are searching have responded positively.
Most surprising to me was the men. Men have come back and purchased more copies than women have! All I can say, is wow God!
I am at a place where I want to be trusting God with who needs to hear our story. My audience keeps evolving and I’m ok with that.
I still lean heavily on writing to an audience of women, however I want to be somewhat flexible when God asks me to write for a different audience.
This past year I have written: 4 talks for a mother/daughter retreat; a short story about my son's disability & learning thankfulness in the midst of that(Christmas: Stories & More); a short children’s story about an experience I had with my young nephew(Jake Like Faith); a chapter on how God prepared me for my daughters assault(Carried); and several devotionals that tell stories of how I’ve lived through pain(Walk With Me Ministries/Winter).
As you can see, the theme is often personal experiences married with how God brings me through.
I love to write. Life’s experiences, lessons I learn, the things God teaches me and the ways God heals broken pieces of my heart are my inspirations.
If I can share what I learn and it helps someone, then the vulnerability is well worth it. It comes down to obedience for me. If I sense He is asking me to write, even if its out of my comfort zone, I will continue to say yes to Him.
*Note: first published in FellowScript (an Inscribe magazine) February 2018
A Breath of Fresh Air
(Post-Conference Contest Winner/2016)
I was pleasantly surprised at the things I took away from the Fall Conference. This was my first time attending and so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.
Feeling like I was back in school, I took many notes and tried to diligently absorb as much information as I could. I was encouraged to hear some ideas I already had be confirmed by others in the panels and workshops.
In one panel discussion, Jane shared how she records her thoughts and ideas on her phone when she isn’t able to write them down. I was thankful for the reminder!
Susan suggested we “put distance between us and our written piece…”, and Nina said something similar about letting our work ‘sit’ awhile before we edit it. This resonated with me, to give our eyes a rest to have a different vantage point when we revisit it.
Before one of our meals, I was sitting in the back waiting for the other workshops to finish up. I was sitting next to Jane and appreciated her initiating a conversation with me. She shared valuable information in regards to blogging and writing a study guide, so it wasn’t just in the workshops that I was learning!
I heard about being true to ‘our’ voice, not trying to sound like anyone but who we are. I love that and wouldn’t want it any other way!
Linda talked about how what we like to read ourselves, is what we should be writing. I couldn’t agree more! I don’t read children’s books or romance novels, so I really shouldn’t try to write them either! What I do love to read are books about true stories, self help/counseling books and inspirational books and those are also the types of things I like to write about.
And one final thing that I took away from the conference was having a ‘space’ for writing. This was a big one for me. I wrote my entire memoir on my kitchen table, which meant putting away everything each night so I could get dinner on the same table for my family. This fact probably lengthened my project quite a bit!
Once I was back home and having everything just settle in me, I felt inspired to get back on track with my writing and I felt inspired to dream again. I dove back into writing devotionals that had taken a back seat over the summer, and that honestly felt great. I’m also in the process of turning a bedroom into my writing room! Creativity is flowing again.
The conference was like a breath of fresh air! Thank you to everyone who played a part in making this conference happen!
Published in Fellow Script (an Inscribe magazine)