Did you ever do a thing you thought you could not do?
Several years ago, when all four of my children were in school full time, I was staring at a crossroads. It was the first time in many years of being a stay at home mom, I found my house quiet and myself wondering, “what now for me?”
With a degree in both elementary and special education, I figured I could begin to look for a teaching job, which would be a great thing to align schedules with my children, especially when it came to the summer. We love carefree summers and the Christmas season. So it was essential to keep that in mind when deciding what was next for me.
Besides, my husband had a demanding job in trauma that often calls him away at very unpredictable times, including early mornings before trying to get the kids off to school. I wasn’t sure how I could juggle a full-time career while raising the humans entrusted to my care.
I decided I would have to be creative and find another way to focus the shifting and stirring in my heart.
At the time, I found myself drawn to reading books and the beautiful and creative words of bloggers that poured out on my screen. Or I listened to inspiring words on podcasts while I fulfilled my domestic duties around the house.
I am creative at heart, so I would find all kinds of ways to tap into my creative side by doing a slew of DIY projects as well as volunteer at the school where my kids attended.
I immersed myself in Bible studies and spiritual growth groups with likeminded friends. I was intrigued by the writing of others who were able to speak to being creative, encouraging, and serving others.
Aside from leading a team of essential oil gurus on teaching others how to live a toxin-free life, a small side photography business, and an as-needed floral business, I found myself called to more. So I wrote about it in my journals. I would get lost in time, putting words to the paper of my many journals and spiral bound notebooks.
It did not seem like enough. There was still an unsettling desire that I could not really define.
I kept going back to this nagging voice in my head and a tug on my heart that I needed to share what I write. I felt a call to put pen (or in my case pencil) to paper, and serve people with my words.
While I had grown friendly with some beautiful bloggers, I did not know where to start.
And more importantly, I let a colossal lie steal my courage, “Who are you to say? Who are you to write?”
One of my blogger friends, who lives in Tennessee, has a pretty cool lifestyle blog. Because she was a traditional doctor who also believed in alternative options (if you know me, you know this is my life), she became my essential oil teacher/guru who taught me all the things.
Our family took a road trip two summers in a row to rent her mountain house and visit with her and her family. She is a gift to be sure. I began to learn so much. I was on her book launch team the second summer we visited her. I listened and learned.
In addition to this friend, I made connections with several other creative and artistic friends of the online writing world. They were each placed there along my path for a reason. There were no accidents nor coincidences.
Listening to an early version of a podcast of a creative artistic blogger who would interview other bloggers, I came to learn about two women, sisters who were blogging on their websites or whatever they called them then.
These energetic, adorable sisters, Emily P. Freeman and Myquillyn Smith, aka The Nest, had a fun podcast where they talked about their writing and creative life. Their father joined the girls on this podcast as he was trying to build his own line gig in addition to his career in radio – his presence and thought-provoking manner with his girls came to be an essential reason Gary became “silent” mentor to me. (They had one whole podcast episode about mentors who didn’t always know they were mentors!)
It was magic listening to their contagious laughter, joyful encouragement, and, most importantly, their insight on the writing life.
They had me at writing life.
After listening to all of the episodes of this new podcast, it seemed the season came to an end, and I no longer found any more though I was still craving their words.
Or maybe my life got busy, and I couldn’t find time to listen. It was around the time my oldest daughter’s hearing loss was becoming a more significant issue as she navigated her academic day.
We struggled with the continuing decline of her hearing and the appointments that were necessary to manage my daughter’s progressive loss, maintaining the activities of 4 busy children and juggling the crazy schedule of my husband’s job. I realized it was going to be difficult for me to find time to do all the things my heart was longing to do.
I was going to have to put the writer’s life on hold.
Fast forward to the time when I once again heard the familiar voices of the father and his two daughters and a new voice, Brian Dixon, added to the writer podcast with a new name. I found Hope*Writers.
I found myself mesmerized once again by the words and message of serving and offering hope these individuals, my silent mentors, were sharing each episode.
They began to offer memberships to a writing community they created. At the time, with blind faith, I joined not knowing what I was going to do within this group, but I knew my words mattered, and they continue to tell us today, “Your message matters.”
It was the first thing I did for me in a very long time. And I knew this was the beginning of something important. I did the “thing” I didn’t think I could do.
I found myself watching and learning inside my writer community. I was listening, quietly writing in journals, many many journals. On my computer and sometimes on my social media pages, I also wrote things that really spoke to my heart.
I knew I wanted to keep writing. It made me come alive, especially when I received messages from friends about my writing. They would tell me a text message or a social media post, content in an email really encouraged, or spoke to them.
These friends and readers said, “I should keep writing, please keep writing.”
So I did. I kept writing.
Once again, I did a thing I didn’t think I could do.
Two years ago, I packed a bag, my laptop, and got on a plane.
Destination: North Carolina for the Hope*Writer’s Writing Retreat.
I knew one person in North Carolina. It was a friend who relocated from my town to the same city where I booked my hotel. She was new to the area herself and offered to drive me to and from the retreat site. It was helpful to have a friend drive me around in this unfamiliar city.
I arrived a day earlier than the writing retreat to I could spend time with this friend who is not part of this writing community, but was a neighbor from my home town. I was blessed immensely for our time together, sorting out the story of our lives like marriage, raising children with challenges (and those without), living a life with faith at the center, and helping our aging parents. These conversations were already the beginning threads, weaving together a tapestry on my heart.
After 3 days of learning, writing, meeting other writers, and beautiful souls who like me took a chance on jumping scared into an event, and it was nothing short of magical. It was life-changing. It was encouraging. It was informative, and it was emotional. While on this writing retreat, I met some of the most amazing people who are writers like me. People who have a desire to write from a place of hope, love, faith, understanding, and encouragement.
When I turned and waved goodbye to my family at the airport, I knew. I knew with every fiber of who I am, I was being called to write and to share a message that would bring healing and hope.
I knew it was the next stone along a path that leads me to where I am today.
Today, I write a post inside this blog space to share with you about my writing journey, not just to shout the accolades for me. I share it to encourage you to DO THE THING YOU CANNOT DO. Do the thing that makes your heart sing and the idea that breathes life into those around you.
Do the thing that you cannot do.
We are created with gifts that are unique to each one of us. When we share that gift, we are pointing all Glory back to God, Our Loving Creator.
This week I will be stepping on another stone that will lead me to the next path on this journey we call life. This next step feels like a giant leap of faith. I have been prayerfully putting together a book proposal. The words and message of this book proposal started to surface when I sat on the plane two years ago, ready to take off from North Carolina at the end of a very transformational time in my life.
Once again, I am going to do the thing I did not think I could ever do.
This time I am doing it a little less scared.
I am going to travel the same path, but with better expectations and excitement of the reunion of familiar faces that have only been visible across a screen or accessible by voxer, text, DM. Many of these faces are separated by time zones, states, continents, and oceans of water, but connected by hearts that desire to write, serve and love a reader who is waiting for words to touch them in ways we can often understand.
In preparation for this trip, I have shed many tears and virtually whispered words of encouragement to those who are now walking the path I walked two years ago.
These last two weeks, I have immersed myself in words with prayers and discernment to honor the Good and Faithful Father, who put words on my heart to tell a story that will shed light on hard and dark moments. Those words will bring light and hope and reconciliation and redemption to me and to others.
I have reached out to fellow writers including Elizabeth Stretar and Lisa with a trembling hand and maybe low-grade anxiety, as I hash out the story into a book proposal worthy of consideration for publishing. At the end of this week, I will pitch an idea/book proposal to an acquisition editor. This is a story that I have been wrestling in my heart for a long time. It has been bubbling to surface from the depths of my soul for the past few years.
The result of this short little meeting could go in many different directions. I am prepared for whatever is part of the plan — God’s plan. His “plan” always seems to work itself out in ways that I could never dream nor comprehend. So I will trust.
I am okay with this being a mere stepping stone to the next place on my path or an exciting new path to the best-case scenario.
I tell you all of this humbly to once again encourage you to do that thing you cannot do. Do something that makes you tremble, or shed a tear, or encourages or brings light to another. When you do that thing, you will see how you honor your calling, or a gift will begin to open doors that will continue to bless you and those around you.
And when you do that thing, I invite you to let me know how it went. For me, I will be boarding a plane with a little bit of a tremble, excitement, and a slight bit of fear. What I know for sure, I cannot do, is NOT write. I know for sure that I must continue to write wherever, and however, those words weave themselves together, I cannot NOT write.
Yesterday, I listened to a Hope*Writer Tuesday Teacher (which I have done faithfully for quite some time now.) who was a publisher of a Children’s Book Series. He offered so much sound advice and beautiful, loving wisdom. His words still echo in my head, “the worst thing a writer can do is to stop writing.” I might have to agree with him.
Here’s an update of some other fun things happening in the world of writing for me.
I have also been chosen to join the Voices Team of the Live Today Well Ministry. I will contribute to their writing community once a month, as well. I encourage and invite you to join me there.
I am excited about these sacred spaces to share writing with you. I hope the words I share bring light and love to you as well as encourage and inspire you. If they do, I invite you to subscribe to the receive updates on blog posts and other future news and offerings. You can subscribe here so you do not miss out. If you feel these words would encourage someone you know and love, I invite you to share the words with them as well.
Stay tuned this week. A reveal will be coming in the next few days, and if you are subscribed, you will be the first to know!!!
Author’s Note, a November 6, 2023 Update:
The meeting with the publisher didn’t go as planned.
I wasn’t defeated.
I was glad for it.
It wasn’t time.
The book I thought I was writing was not yet fully formed into what God intended. I have so much more clarity in the journey since my first writing retreat in 2017 and the conference in 2019 when I met with the publisher and where I was headed when I wrote the blog post, “Do the Thing You Think You Cannot Do.”
I have gained even greater clarity and understanding of what God is writing in me and how He wants me to use my story of suffering to bring hope and joy and truth, beauty and good. Reconciling the last three years helps me see this even more.
When thinking about this, a conversation between Frodo and Gandalf comes to mind. I have shared it before.
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
I do however, get to choose how I use the time given to me now. I want to choose the option that is obedient to the Will of the Father. I want to use the time and the gifts He has given to me.
I am writing a book.
I know for certain as I plan, plot, discern and write I am already changed by the book I am meant to write.
I pray, when the book I write is finished it will change you too