Writer's Path

Where I've Been

...and where it's taking me.

The path hasn't always been so obvious. Still, God has been His faithful Self through it all. In the Bible, I am told in so many words, that God gives His best to those who wait on Him. I like to believe that those words, that promise, has been made manifest in my life. In particular, regarding my writing and editing.

Having married a complete opposite, raising six children (his, mine, and ours), then uprooting and leaving everything familiar to move six-hundred miles north, there was bound to be some articles to come out of that mix. At least a memoir or two, right? But writing for publication back then was the furthest thing from my mind.  I had no aspirations other than becoming a more loving wife, a more disciplined mother, and finding anything that could even remotely be considered a nap.

Eventually though, once the kiddos got older, I was volunteering so often at my church (wow! talking with big people again), that they decided to hire me on. With pay, mind you. They gave me my own desk, right in the middle of this big room that had connecting offices surrounding it. From inside those offices other staffers liked to yell out questions about, you know, grammar, punctuation, spelling, definitions, and the like. And there I'd be, sitting at my very own desk like any newbie would be sitting--quietly, biting my lip to stay quieter still, expecting someone else to answer the question.

Then I'd hear, "Anyone?" And I just wouldn't be able to help myself. My mouth would open right up, and out would fly my answer. One by one, staffers peeked out from around their office doorways and would say, "How'd you know that?" Not like they'd thought I was an idiot, but... honestly, who knew I knew such things? It certainly surprised me.

During my five years there, I was asked to write articles in the monthly newsletter; rewrite personal and staff letters, and format and create booklets for various ministries. I'd never done anything like that. I was computer illiterate, so they had to send me to classes--which they paid for. And of course, "to whom much is given, much is required," right? Before I knew it, I was formatting and co-writing two Bible studies for our fifty-some small groups that met for weekly Bible study. Once over those hurdles, I exceeded my own expectations and, by the grace of God, created a 42-day devotional for those same small groups. The church published 500 copies, and what an accomplishment that was! (But I get ahead of myself.)

I must tell you that any courage to write actually was spawned through the help of a spunky little gal--Jan Coleman--from church. She'd overheard me talking one Sunday morning about writing. She approached me and invited me to her new writers group. I was scared out of my wits. I was no writer, and I was mortified for having come off like one. I ended up going to her group, and Jan ended up being my mentor. She talked my husband into sending me to Mount Hermon for my first writer's conference. That conference ignited a fire in me that I couldn't have doused if I'd tried. I have never felt so challenged as I did the day I realized I was a writer.

I came home from another Mt Hermon conference, two years later, and felt I needed to commit the following three years to learning the craft. That journey turned into ten years.

About that time, I came out of seclusion and joined the Sacramento Christian Writer's Group with then President Beth Self. It was a mix of serious writers and not-so-serious writers. The serious handful had decided to meet for macro-critiques (two-hour-long, in-depth critiques for each writer). It was during those macro-critiques that I had noticed my edits were more endowed with explanations and suggestions than those of my fellow ink links. They noticed it too.

Out of that handful, two writers started meeting with an Elk Grove group who called themselves the Inspire Writers, whose founder is Beth Thompson. In time, I also made the move and became a member. Inspire was small, but it exploded into four groups within the greater Sacramento area (today, by God's design, we're about to announce ten groups).

I stayed on with the Elk Grove group; we were six ladies by this time: Julie Williams, Sue Tornai, Beth Self, Chris Pederson, Beth Thompson, and myself. All very serious about publication; we continued to meet monthly for critiques. This is the group, in fact, Beth Thompson, in particular, who had encouraged me to step out in faith and begin editing professionally.

I've got to tell you, though, that God has always been lulling me into just the right place at exactly the right time. Right, for my family. Right, for me. Right, for an opportunity. Right, for personal, spiritual growth.

And God has used others to prod me (or, in some cases, drag me) each step of the way. My greatest cheerleader? My husband, Duke. He believed in me when I just couldn't. And when I begin to question my abilities these days, he is quick to direct my focus back to what God is doing in me.

Lately, when I consider the long road to here-and-now, one thing is quite clear: God never sent me where He hadn't already prepared me for. That doesn't mean that one day I arrived. It's a constant walk by faith. I'm still going to trip over self-doubt. But I must never forget that it is God who fits me for my unique challenges. It is Jesus Christ who enables me to succeed--Jesus is the One who opens and shuts the doors of earthly opportunity for His eternal purposes.

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