I wrote this as a guest post on the lovely Abigayle Claire’s blog post a few weeks ago. Thought I would be brave and share my story with you all.
I hope you can take encouragement through my ongoing battle with MS.
When your doctor’s office rings to ask you to come in, you know it’s not going to be good news. At the worst possible time, one month after starting to homeschool our daughter, a son with increasing special needs, I was told I had Multiple Sclerosis. My life started to crumble down around me. What did this mean for our future? Would I end up crippled, unable to walk as I’d heard so many stories about?
Not even forty, with two children who depended on me, and a diagnosis that spelt the worst, I tried to understand, but I couldn’t. It seemed so unfair. For a few months I pretended everything was ok, tried to eat right, exercise, do all the things I was told would help. Sure, I was a little tired, but I felt pretty good all things considered. I plodded along, trying not to think too much about the future, tried to stay positive and took it one day at a time.
Everything changed when, after a particularly stressful day, I lost feeling in my right hand. I went outside, tried not to panic, prayed, and put off going to my doctor. When the loss of sensation spread to my arm and half my right side, I gave in and phoned my doctor. I delayed taking the horribly powerful steroids I was prescribed, terrified of the side effects, only giving in when l I lost the ability to control my arm. I tried to make light of it, but I was scared. Truly, deeply terrified. All the things I’d never done, the dreams I had, the future of our children, was wavering before me.
As I recovered, almost unable to function due to the drugs then withdrawal, I saw a Michael Junior documentary that changed everything. He talked about people knowing their ‘what’, but not their ‘why’, I broke down. I’d always wanted to write, but I didn’t know why. Here was the reason, the purpose in the pain, I was so desperate to find.
I started praying, repeatedly asking the Lord, how I could serve Him, how could He use me to help others. I read a lot, escaping into fantasy worlds, to keep from overthinking and worrying. I read my Bible, cover to cover and prayed for strength and for faith.
One of my favourite books, Tahn, written by the late L.A. Kelly, says in her note to readers, (I’m paraphrasing from memory here, so forgive me) she was led to write a story, and that there was an urgency pressing on her. When I heard she and her son had been killed in a car crash, it hit me hard.
What if God was calling me and I wasn’t listening? What if I missed this opportunity because I was afraid? This began to resonate within me, and like a seed planted, it grew until I couldn’t shake the need to write, but I still didn’t know what. I kept praying for the Lord to use me, I was now both willing and ready. I sat down one day, opened my laptop and started writing. It was just an opening scene, but it sparked something.
After twelve years, I started feeling the pull to write again. This time I would be obedient and trust that there was a purpose in my writing. I made a commitment, not just to write each day, but a commitment to finish the first draft within the year.
I didn’t miss one day, no matter how much fatigue I suffered, how bad my eyes were. I committed 100% because I was now writing for the Lord. And that mattered more than anything. Yes, there were times I wanted to quit, but knowing my why, kept me focused. This was important, somewhere, somehow the Lord would bring this novel to fruition.
I had no idea of what I was doing, had no support from other writers, and no idea if what I was writing was any good. But I hung on and trusted Jesus to bring the right people into my life. I kept telling myself, if He wants this book out there, He’ll provide the means.
Boy, oh boy, did He! In every single way conceivable, Jesus brought wonderful people into my life. From the incredible alpha reader, who became an editor and proofreader to the lovely girl who designed and built my website, and made my covers. Jansina at Rivershore Books shared my passion for fighting human trafficking and was so generous and understanding. Even the photos I use, and immediately knew I had to have, are from a Christian photographer. Jesus was there every step of the journey. When I couldn’t see a way, He found it. When I had a need, He met it.
God is faithful.
That dream you have, the dream you pushed to one side, or hid it for fear of ridicule, He placed it there inside you, and He is just waiting for the perfect time to use you.
Every day I wake up I’m grateful for the ability to write for His purpose. It drives me, gives my writing meaning it never had before. It’s no longer about me, it’s about what can I do for others. How can I speak light into the dark? How can I serve? Not just other Christians, but how do I reach unbelievers? How can I find common ground? What do I have that I can share?
We can make a choice in the face of uncertainty. We can choose to trust. Jesus will never, ever fail us when we place our trust in Him.
Life isn’t easy, nor is it pain-free, but it is more beautiful and enriching when we live our God-given dreams. I gave up on ever being published, but God didn’t. He put that dream inside me, and when I was in the place I needed to be, He rushed in to fulfil it.
I want to encourage you, and I want you to hear God’s promise for your life. He has plans for you, He knew you before you were born, He knows you intimately, and He will never, ever give up even when you do. He’s right there waiting with everything you need to accomplish your mission.
My strength comes from Jesus and the desire to see His will and His plan complete. Nothing I accomplish is done under my own steam. His purpose for my life infuses me with energy and nourishes me in a way I’ve never experienced before. And you know what else? I am having so much fun writing! I truly believe He wants me to enjoy this gift He’s given me, to cherish it, but most of all, I believe He wants me to share.
I encourage you to seek that dream, pursue it and grab hold of it with both hands. Listen to that still, small voice calling you. Give yourself wholeheartedly to Him, and He will provide everything you needed and so much more than you imagined.
Just trust, listen and act in obedience. He’ll take care of the rest.