Over the weekend, I attended an Author-Con Event. Elizabeth Smart was the first speaker. She told of the horrific events- the unimaginable trauma- that happened to her when she was fourteen. This was a story she could not hide from-not even after she was rescued. She could not erase it, ignore it, or pretend it did not happen, but she could decide what to do with it. She could write it, share it, speak before Congress about it to support important legislation that would help others who had been through similar experiences. She could start the Elizabeth Smart Foundation to help provide education to children about internet abuse, violence, and sexual crimes. She could be a correspondent on television shows that fight the victimization of children. She could speak all over the world sharing hope and encouragement and comfort. She could write two books and create a documentary using her life story as a source of inspiration. She could go on a mission to share her faith. She could get married and have 3 beautiful children. She could start a new venture to help women and girls learn to physically defend themselves against an attacker and it seems to me she has only just begun.
Elizabeth Smart did not regale the audience with tales of these amazing feats during her presentation. I only know most of it because I did some research into her adult life when I got home. What she has done and is doing is incredible. She really had no choice to hide from what had happened to her. The story was too well-known. It goes where she goes. Her choices lie in how she writes the rest of the story of her life. She gets to define that story. And so do I. And so do you.
Several authors shared their life and writing journeys. The challenges were different and some of their obstacles I did not relate to, but in every story I heard a voice of grit, of encouragement, of healing and growth. I was uplifted by learning that none of them had experienced full fairy tale lives- none had escaped trials and/or trauma. These people were willing to share the raw of their story to help buoy up others who were in the midst of their own. They got me thinking about my own aspiration to use my redemption story to hearten others.
This fortification came at a time when writing the second half of my story has proven to be a menacing giant. I figured out one reason is because I would love it if my entire story went something like this: I had a challenging childhood, got married at a ridiculously young age, had three amazing children, got divorced several times, met Jesus as my Savior, lived in a log cabin for almost nine years, went back to school, became a teacher. The End.
But it is not where it ends. I want to declare that I never made another huge mistake. I never made a poor decision. I never made choices that would hurt my incredible kids. I want to keep the shame secrets secret. I want to hide the ugly parts. I want to say that I never disappointed the Lord after all that He had done for me. However, during this journey, I have found moments of pure-layer healing I didn’t know I even needed. I have found that sharing what the forgiveness and love of my Savior has done in my life with the hope of comforting or encouraging others has the capacity to help heal, even some of those parts that are still hurting me. I have received confirmations that encourage me to know that the Lord is helping others through the telling of how the Lord has gotten me through my own experiences.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.1 Thessalonians 5:11
So now it is time for me to depend on the Lord to help me slay my new Goliath. I have recently realized that I need the time to process and write what I have never written before (or told many people) slowly (not week by week) and that the second half of my story needs to be written as part of an entire book- not a blog –though I will continue to write the blog as well. I have a goal to finish a first run copy within the next 6-8 months. I would be so grateful for your prayers as I continue this blog and work on the book at the same time.
What is your story? I don’t think everyone needs to shout their story from the rooftops. However, sharing how you have come through the difficult times of your life as a comfort and encouragement to others could partner you in a share of their healing. God comforts us to be a comfort to others.
…who is comforting us in all our tribulation, for our being able to comfort those in any tribulation through the comfort with which we are comforted ourselves by God; 2 Corinthians 1:4
What is my story? I was never the same person after I accepted Christ into my life as my Savior. My every day became infused with hope and healing. Many of the hurts of my past were healed very early after meeting Him. Still, there are some issues that keep me among the walking wounded getting healed one chapter at a time. But I am, I have, and I will. Thank you, Lord.
Dear Readers, At the Author-Con conference, I learned that everyone needs what they called, “alpha readers or an inner circle” of supporters that keep them going. Thank you to those who have been that for me. You probably have no idea how your well-timed support has changed the course from “give up” to “go”. You have forgiven my mistakes (not just grammatical ones) as I learn (a big one was the password protected blog which caused confusion and seemed disingenuous to some- no more of those) and perhaps the time I sent out gift cards without explanation. While I thought it was a fun and silly way to say thank you for joining my Sonflowers and Soul email list, (check your spam if you did not receive the email gift card) some felt like I was paying readers to read the blog. I am sorry if I gave any of you that impression. It was never my intent. Thank you for letting me practice writing while still being there. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
I will praise you to all my brothers; I will stand up before the congregation and testify of the wonderful things you have done. Psalm 22:22
Dear Lord, Thank You for each and every reader of this blog. I pray that You would guide and direct me in my next steps and give me the courage to write this book. Thank you for the healing you have given me since I have known You and the healing You have allowed me through the writing of this blog and please help me to continue on this vulnerable journey. In Jesus’ name, Amen