James 4:14-15, “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away… If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that’”
“I know a freelance editor, Denise, who might look at it for you,” Angela blurts out after I tell her I have been writing down my mother’s life every time we find a few minutes to share. A few years earlier, I felt compelled to capture her story while her memory was clear and concise, and while I could gather her perspective on what I know is a made-for-TV life. A life filled with love, laughter, and even more than her share of heartache and tragedy.
“What? You cannot be serious? I am not sure I have the courage to reach out. All I have is this bunch of loosely tied narratives.” My husband and I were visiting our daughter Megan in Portland, Oregon, who had moved west after her college graduation. Her co-worker had graciously offered us a weekend at her house nearby in Bend and we invited Angela to tag along with us. We sit at the table with a coffee cup in hand, visiting after a long day of mountain views and breathtaking landscapes. I find myself taking deep breaths, my eye twitches with nerves, so I lower them to hide the fear I am feeling. Barely above the brim of my cup, my ambition kicks in gear and I smile, “Why not? What do I have to lose, he can only say no!”
“Well, I can’t promise he will agree to work with you, but it’s worth a try.” Angela deposits her cup in the sink and moves into the living room. It was a casual interchange. In time, I would learn she hadn’t made this offer this to anyone, and is unsure what prompted her to offered his email to me except it was meant to be, my very own God-moment. A week after I reach out to him with my 30-page sample, he agrees to be my writing coach. And this took my causal writing and turned it into a divine calling.
His coaching made me accountable, encouraged me to keep writing, developed my storytelling, and built on my meager set of skills. Yet the naysayer inside me lingered with an inner taunting, “Who are you to dream of writing a real book, of reaching for more than just your family? After all, you have no formal writing training, your ADHD makes staying on task and review impossible, and you aren’t a young chick anymore.” Comparing myself to the writers I knew, I fell miserably short. Writers who have great focus, a much better mastery of the English language, writers who are well read with a background in English or journalism. But the more I wrote, the more I couldn’t get away from this dream growing within me. I refused to give in to the negative thoughts.
It’s been a few years since that initial divine intersection when God used Angela, and I am as dependent on God for His leading as I was then. He continues to bring people across my path. My writing coach led me to a mentor for building a speaking and writing platform, which led to a network of aspiring authors and speakers, and ultimately a professional publisher. My first book and marriage memoir, A House with Holes, released in October 2019. I am amazed and grateful.
I haven’t given up on my mother’s story which remains the focus of my daily writing. And I can say becoming an author has been a much longer and harder pilgrimage then I anticipated. Writing has changed my life, and it began with that first step in being open to evaluation. Writing is a solitary exercise, but it doesn’t mean that you are meant to go it alone. We need each other to listen, to encourage, and to speak into our work.
If you carry a writing dream, take that next step and have faith the road will rise to meet you. Today is the day to be renewed in your purpose. Facing the daunting blank page is difficult, but keep walking forward into your calling. Most of all be prepared to be surprised.