I had no idea this would ever happen. I wasn’t looking for it, thinking about it or pursuing it in any way , shape or form. The nudge came in such a simple, quiet way …very gentleman-like as He spoke — not pushy, forceful, or demanding — just three simple words … Write for Hope !
I laughed ! That Sarah-kind-of-laugh when God told her she was going to have a baby at the ripe old age of 90! Now I know just how she felt and I laughed along with her at how absurd God’s little idea for me seemed. He didn’t tell me I was going to have a baby but what He wanted to birth in me easily fit into that same “you’re not going to believe this” category.
Me? Write? I’m not the writer in the family! Remember? My husband is one of the finest communicators and writers I know . And then there’s our oldest son who writes weather forecasts with detail and accuracy for our safety at http://www.dynamic-weather.com/ …and our daughter who has a golden pen when it comes to writing, with a freshness that makes you glad somebody finally said what you’ve been feeling but were afraid to tell anybody (http://lesstobemore.blogspot.com/ ). Our next daughter writes with art and words in ways that make you feel something deep within your heart you never knew existed …and another son who can write scripts with humor and wit that make you really laugh out loud — but, uh — I’m not the writer . My role is to make popcorn for everyone and provide that home atmosphere where all things good can grow and develop. I run to the store to get that much-needed paint or ink for the printer when we run out — you know, support and encourage the gifts in others at any cost ! (I can’t help myself — I just networked for my family !!! )
Of course, I’ve said many times , “One day we’re going to write a book about this!” , but that statement always came after some emotionally traumatic event in our lives that we narrowly escaped and it was most often said in jest , for Pete’s sake (whoever that is !!!), and was never really meant for real-life publishing !
But there it was again — pulling, tugging at my heart … Write for Hope!
Ironically, as I remember it, I was sitting down one day to do something I did just about every single day of my life — read my Bible, pray and possibly journal. I had purchased some pens from Staples because I liked the color and the proceeds helped support breast cancer awareness (I’m always about supporting good causes, you know ). While reading and trying to hear what God might have to say to me through His word — ready with my trusty pink pen to write anything down — the words engraved on the pen seemed to lift right off and press into my heart ...”Write for Hope”! It had to do with supporting a good cause and God was writing these words on my heart for His good cause !
Did I tell you I laughed?
Looking back to when this first “engraving” took place in my heart, I had to search through my Bible for that little note I wrote in the margin somewhere, indicating when exactly God spoke this into being for me. The short and simple note was written right beside Psalm 71:14-18 , yet it seemed like it was blazing a new trail for me …
14 But as for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more.
15 My mouth will tell of your righteousness,
of your salvation all day long,
though I know not its measure.
16 I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord;
I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone.
17 Since my youth, O God, you have taught me,
and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
18 Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, O God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your might to all who are to come.
Would you believe, it was dated January 12, 2011 !? Yes…that would be almost a year and a half before I actually wrote for hope ! I’m embarrassed to say how long it took me to believe what God already believed about me.
You see, God literally has been teaching me “since my youth” and while I may not know the full “measure” of His love, I’ve known Jesus a long time. Giving back from the abundance I’ve been given doesn’t seem “optional”.
The truth is, when God calls us to do something He also equips us with what we need for the task. I get that now. I didn’t get it then.
I still have to remind myself of that truth almost every time I write, however, because it’s still hard to fathom the “measure” of God’s grace in one short life !
My husband had been researching the idea of blogging. My daughter had already started a blog. That small voice kept urging. Then one day I received an e-mail from a friend informing us of a blog site she and another friend were writing for (thanks awakenexperience women !!).
Something clicked inside of me and I knew this was the time. If I didn’t write, it was almost as if it would all explode out of me ! I learned another thing that day …when God is moving your heart to do something, He equips you AND He implants in you such a passion that you feel you’ll burst with it all if you don’t do something about it. It doesn’t really matter how old you are or how young you are …it’s really God doing all the work and all the results are up to Him. He’s not really concerned about our age.
That’s the freeing thing about it all — it doesn’t matter how many “likes” or “shares” or “comments” I receive (whether positive or negative) — it was all God’s idea to begin with. The responsibility I have is to step out in what He asked me to do — the rest is really His thing. Success can’t be wrapped up in what others may think or say (although I still love encouraging comments– I won’t lie !)
The only thing I knew to write about was the stories of my life and how God has met me and carried me through those stories. Sometimes I get up the next morning after writing a post and think, “What on earth was I thinking — writing all that stuff and showing my vulnerability !!!” When it came down to that initial stepping out and writing my first post, I was so nervous about it that I “published” it, removed it, re-published it, removed it again (and maybe again), and finally got up the nerve to hit the publish button for eternity ! And that’s really what it’s all about …eternity ! Eternity and the hope we have in Jesus Christ through every day life — this compels me to share my messy stories using my amateur writing skills with the hope that you will be encouraged in some way to follow Jesus and that God will use it to truly breathe a little life into your everyday moments as you walk with Him.
I write this tonight to also encourage you to take that next step —whatever it may be– toward something God may be quietly whispering in your ear.
It may sound risky or it may not even make sense, given your current skill set. But let me tell you, God loves to do incredibly more than we could ask or imagine with just our “yes” alone. I leave you with these words from Alia Joy, writing her story with the writers at (in)courage and also on her blog, http://narrowpathstohigherplaces.com …
“So, tell your story. Shout it out, or jot it down. Share it over coffee and a scone. Share the beauty but don’t leave out the mess, the burdens, the fears and failings. It’s in our humanity that we connect and see the embroidered threads swirling into images. Of a people redeemed. The story of us.” (Alia Joy)
“On Telling Your Story: The Story of Us”
This Post Has 17 Comments
Joy, I am so thankful you are obeying that nudge! I love reading your writings, and I must tell you that may times, after reading what you have written, I have thought, “Yes, that is it, that is exactly what I have felt.” So, my friend, your children seem to have two parents who are wonderful communicators!! Thank you for being wiling to Write for Hope!!
Crazy grace-kind-of-encouragement from you Lori ! Thank you ! We walk together with God on this one 😉
You are so right-on here Joy. Cheering for your obedience and full-on laughter which now believes that God’s whispers were Truth. I get you- the fear, the bursting, the push, the pleasure that comes when you do what you do because God’s leading all the way.
P. S. Check out Jeff Goins at http://goinswriter.com and download his free e-book The Writer’s Manifesto. Talks about writing because that’s what God’s called us to do and nothing more.
Dawn — you’ve been encouraging all the way and I appreciate you so much ! Thank you for reading this process from the very beginning ! I’ll download that book asap ! I’m so glad God brought our paths together !
Continue to be obedient to those Holy Spirit nudges. After reading your post it did encourage me to take that next step on something I’ve been working on for the Lord. Blessings to you and your family.
Thank you Wendy ! …very encouraging …we keep stepping out together !
Agreed. I’m with you on that!
Thanks Joy – I needed that!!
Marie … did you catch the part YOU played in all of this journey ?? 🙂 Thank YOU !
I’m just glad to know there are other people on planet earth that actually hear specific words from God. It’s easy to just rationalize them away sometimes. Thank you for being obedient to The Voice.
Thank you Joy. En-couraging! I am reading in Acts 4 this morning. Verse 13 says about Peter and Paul, “.. they were amazed… for they could see they they were ordinary men with no training.” I am so glad God calls us and lets us share our stories. I love your vulnerability and love for Christ.
Thank YOU for your part in this story of God’s grace !! Love that verse in Acts !!!
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Great post. Thanks for sharing.