I wrote and published a children’s book. Writing that sentence still seems like the dream it was seven years ago and not the reality it is today. However, as I held Rise and Shine and read it aloud, I realized just how many gifts this book represents. Gifts that are for myself but hopefully for you too.
- I said, “Yes.” This is a big deal for me. Much of my twenties was spent saying, “No!” It wasn’t until my thirtieth birthday with the prompting of my husband to finally pray about the ten plus year call to writing I had intermittently felt and verbalized, that I finally told God, “Okay, I’ll write.” That first yes, led to many others.
- It was beautifully personal journey. The first four years of writing were 100% spent writing and processing my teen and early adult years, including the abuse I had endured, and it’s effect on me and the others I love. God used this time to show me very explicitly where He had been in a time that I felt so alone, and He established a deep faith that would become stronger than fear. I’ll talk more about that later.
- I was able to come to know myself. Flannery O’Connor said, “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” I learned the truth of this statement personally. As I wrote, and literally at times vomited thoughts and emotions from the pit of my soul, I was forced to face them head on and deal with them. Some were good, some not so much. But, through the process, I began to understand who I was, what I thought, and how God had used events to grow and shape me.
- I learned skills. Writers got to write. It’s as simple as that. Or so I thought. Through the process of putting together a book proposal and flying to North Carolina to meet with publishers over the book I thought God was calling me to write, I learned more than I could ever articulate about the process of becoming a published author. During this time, I also began getting paid for articles on the side.
- I found a community. Not only did I learn tons about writing itself, but I also embedded myself in an amazing community of people that I didn’t know existed. Many are writers, but all are dreamers and doers. I found a group of people online that understood me. They didn’t think I was crazy. They encouraged me, offered services, and became friends. (Thank you 30 Days of Hustle Facebook group and Mr. Jon Acuff!)
- I gained a faith that crossed borders. Had I not started this writing process, my fear would never have allowed me to take my family to Mexico on a missions trip the first time. I still remember how much fear gripped me on that first trip. Now, it’s a regular occurrence. However, it’s because of that first trip that when our friends from Under His Umbrella shared about all God was doing in Rwanda at a school they had partnered with, we said yes to partnering with them. We joined them last summer and will be spending a month with them back there at Vineyard Christian School this summer.
- I have an offering. I found heaven in the children of Vineyard Christian School. Nowhere else have I experienced joy in it’s purest form. It doesn’t exist in America. I didn’t find it in Mexico. It has been such a gift to me, that of course, it’s what Rise and Shine is all about. However, God didn’t just tell me to write this story (that’s the part I was comfortable with). He asked me to illustrate it too. And now, I also have to choose to promote it. While all the proceeds from Rise and Shine are my gift to them, God is using their gift to push me out of my comfort zone and saying, “Yes!” is my offering to Him. Truly, I am the one who has gained the most in all of this. I just pray God would honor them and glorify Himself through Rise and Shine.
At the starting line, I thought the gift in this was going to be my ability to help women overcome sexual abuse. And, who knows what God has in store for the future? Regardless, the point for me in it all was to find my way of helping others.
I somewhat chuckle inside because it was a seven-year journey. There’s irony…God’s humor…the way things should be… in the fact that my first book is not about my story at all. Yet, it is the story I need to hear every morning so that I Rise and Shine.
My prayer is that we find all the ways to say “Yes!” to God we can.
What is it that you need to say, “Yes!” to God about? What gifts could you be missing out on because of it?
What about you?
This is place of community and conversation. Here are some ways you can participate:
- Leave a response in the comments below. You can write whatever you feel like saying after reading this or answer the one of the following questions: If you find it difficult to say, “Yes!” to God, what holds you back? If you find yourself saying, “Yes!” to God all the time, what gifts have you experienced from it?
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