This week I’m in an Instagram challenge. Come join me. It’s under #hopewriterlife or @hopewriters. Each day the challenge includes a different word. It’s a 10 day challenge that started on Monday. Each word tells a little about how I started writing…and why.
As I have been thinking about how I started writing, I have realized that the way it all started was when I wrote letters home to my parents from boarding school. They were thousands of miles away. It was a waste of time to write them about things I was upset about, at least that was the way I felt at the time. I was in school in North Carolina. They were in Costa Rica. They would get the mail a week or 10 days later. I wouldn’t hear for another week or 10 days. By that time, I had forgotten what I was upset about. I felt it wasn’t worth upsetting them. So I wrote about what was happening, at least the positive spin on what was happening. You can see how I got into some awful habits of dealing with my emotions. Of course, they didn’t start then. Those bad habits started long before I went to boarding school.
Years later, when we were missionaries, I usually wrote the prayer letters. Ron edited them. He usually had some helpful suggestions for grammar, sentence structure, or conciseness. But it saved him a lot of time that he didn’t have to write the whole letter. I learned more then about writing too!
GOD took me on some difficult journeys to grow my faith
After my dad died suddenly in 1973, our third year in Jamaica, I started finding that I had something to talk and write about. As I worked through the grief, my faith gained a new depth it hadn’t had before. It became less abstract and more concrete. I was also involved in an evangelistic Bible study with some friends that was very exciting and challenging as I got to know some women outside my comfort zone.
As our time in Jamaica moved on, we came to love the friends we made there and adjusted to the pace of life. During my last pregnancy in 1977, the political situation was very turbulent. We didn’t feel that we were in danger. But the election that Christmas was nerve-wracking. It turned out that the government that was increasingly friendly to Castro, was re-elected. They had indicated that they weren’t going to renew our work permits. So we realized that our time in Jamaica was going to be cut short. We hadn’t planned to leave this soon. It was feeling like home. Our baby was due in April. School would be done in May. We needed to have a next plan after that. With the income we had, there was no room for saving for months without work.
On good days, I was excited for what GOD was going to do. On bad days, I was scared of what was going to happen to us! How long were we going to have to go without a job? It takes a long time for the process of finding a job for a pastor. You go through a series of interviews with months between each one.
From this vantage, I can say that GOD took care of us. But it took two years before Ron had a job. I had to go back to work. It’s easy for RN’s to get temporary jobs. I hadn’t worked for 7 years! It was pretty scary. But in the end, GOD kept us alive and together despite discouraging circumstances.
Often, getting life experience and the time to write are not both available at the same time.
That was just one chapter of many that provided me with much material from which to write! But having time to do it was scarce for a long time. And blogs didn’t exist back then.We returned from Jamaica in 1977. I didn't start writing on a blog until 2007. GOD needed the growth in my life to marinate for 30 years and for my daughters to grow up before He thought I would have much to say. Click To Tweet
We returned from Jamaica in 1977. I didn’t start writing on a blog until 2007. GOD needed the growth in my life to marinate for 30 years and for my daughters to grow up before He thought I would have much to say. Even at that, I have days when I feel like I should keep my mouth shut. It is called imposter syndrome. It holds many writers back and isn’t from GOD. It is based on fear. We want to wait until our lives are perfect, it will never happen on earth. You can imagine all the mistakes I made during those years! I still do! Experience has been my best teacher. I tend to learn way more from my mistakes than from my successes, sadly.You may not be inclined to write publicly now. But a day may come when GOD will be leading you that way...or you will want to share things from your life with family and friends. This will help you share honestly what actually happened. Click To Tweet
Write for yourself now. At some point, GOD may ask you to share some of what you write with others.
So whether you write publicly or not, start writing for yourself. Write about how you feel about what is happening in your life…honestly. Write about what GOD is teaching you, not only from a daily perspective, but from a 6 month overview and a 1 year overview and a 5 year overview. Write, or dictate to yourself what the positive things are that you have learned and what are the painful things that have come from it. It will give you a more realistic and full-orbed picture of what happened.
You may not be inclined to write publicly now. But a day may come when GOD will be leading you that way…or you will want to share things from your life with family and friends. This will help you share honestly what actually happened. I regret that during some very hard times, I didn’t keep a journal.