Thanks for your email. I feel quite honored and excited to be asked by you to share a bit about my writing journey. It has been a long road and I'm a bit of a slow walker but word by word, piece by piece, I have come to where I am today. I'm delighted for the opportunity to look back at my writing life and to encourage you to move forward in yours as you head into your final year of college. As a young girl I loved to read and to write. I looked forward to essay test questions in high school because I could write around answers easily. It was a pleasure to put the words down and see what I could come up with. Recently I found a Five Year Diary that had been given to me on my thirteenth birthday. For five years I religiously wrote a sentence or two every day about whatever seemed important at the time. I discovered how boy crazy I was since there were a whole lot of entries about guys: how cute Chuck was, how James in my class didn't ask me out, how I would love Joel forever! But it also showed me that when I was a teenager I knew the power of words. I used this compelling tool to understand my feelings, to lament over my struggles, and to pray. I really didn't critique my writing much then because it was just for me. It didn't feel like pressure because it was more of a release, a tool to strengthen and to grow me.
My family had many tensions and being the youngest of four children I found that paper and pen were my greatest friends. I journaled to discover and untangle how I felt about everything in my world. It was all very complex to me. My favorite person in the whole world was my mom and the pressures she felt influenced my view of life. The search for peace in her marriage led her to church, which then led her to a deep life of faith and prayer. I found her to be my guide and ally in every way and as I grew, I also became a woman with a deep faith, full of hope and trust in God.
As life would have it, I graduated from high school and college, traveled for a year with a Christian singing team, went off to my first teaching job, met my husband and got married. Within a few years we gave birth to our first son. I found ways to write during these years by adding to my personal journals, writing articles for women's ministry newsletters and sometimes putting together devotionals for baby or bridal showers. Homeschooling our children in the elementary years, I offered them many opportunities to write and to grow in their understanding of the effect of words. I'll have to admit that all three can pack a powerful punch with their words today, these many years later. In those years I longed to develop my own writing skills but often decided that I didn't have the time. And maybe I didn't.
After working with a counselor friend and taking some classes at Keys to Living and House of Hope, I realized that this practice of not giving myself enough time to attend to the things I really loved was a pattern of not truly caring for myself. I also didn't really know myself because I was more tuned into other people's needs rather than my own. So I began a journey of self discovery. I hired a life coach to help me determine my life purpose. The Enneagram Personality Test told me that I am a Peacemaker. No surprise. Carefully going through the book, Strength Finder, I found more parts to this person I call me and was delighted to find bits of my true self tucked beneath the layers and years of unsureness and insecurity. I read many books, participated in many Bible studies and took classes to help me understand more.
One of the things I learned was that I needed to pay attention to the me God created and not spend so much energy wishing I was someone else with other strengths and talents. He, in his glorious plan, gave me the love of writing (among many other things) and I could respond with a yes that would lead me farther into knowing myself better and allow me to go deeper in my faith. I decided to offer myself time to honor him by developing this gift of writing.
So five years ago (or so) our daughter set me up with my first blog site. Finally, a place to write with a way for others to read my writing! I wrote with much joy. But a new difficulty arrived with this space... there was always an opportunity for readers to leave comments....
To be continued...