Do you ever start something and not finish it? Please tell me I’m not the only one. I have 11 post drafts in my Evernote folder just for this blog. New to this personal blogging scene, I don’t know if that’s too little, too many, or just right.
I smile and sigh seeing them. Smiling in thankfulness that I wrote some of the stuff down when I did, as my brain has finally reconciled with my heart that I won’t ‘just remember’ these things. Sighing that some of them are difficult to process through.
Two weeks ago I attended a Christian Writer’s conference. I’m not even sure why, except I just said “yes”. I had a peace in my heart that this was where I was supposed to be on Saturday, February 28th in Lakewood, Colorado.
In a period where I feel like I’m sometimes saying yes to too much and no to too little, this yes felt wonderful.
I grabbed a Moleskine (3 pack at Target – love them!) off my desk to pack in my purse. I’m a note taker. Oftentimes I never re-read them, but I do enjoy writing it out. Same with Sunday sermons – I have notes on weekly bulletins galore.
It feels like the message sears in my brain when I write something on paper. The first one I noticed was my client journal (which I do often reference), so I went in search of another. Before doing so, I found two entries from my daughter I had never seen before.
Wow. If that’s not a reality check I don’t know what is. How many times has she heard “Not right now”, “I have to finish this”, “Just a few more minutes”, “I’m on an important call”? My yeses are resulting in my noes to the most important people in my life. Bless her heart.
I vowed that morning to never let her feel like an interruption again.
At the conference, one of the breakouts I chose to attend was with Lucille Zimmerman titled “How Your Personal Journey Can Help Others”. To kick off the session, she asked what people were currently writing.
One young lady sitting in front of me was a Columbine survivor and is now a counselor who works with veterans and non-veterans, focusing on people with PTSD without physical injury. A gentleman in the front row was writing a book for Christian entrepreneurs. A single mom in her 50’s answered that she writes poetry for other single women.
I thought “well, I’ve written lots of posts and content for my clients, but applicable to this group I’ve written FOUR WHOLE POSTS on my personal blog that I just started this Summer”. I was cracking up at my novice situation. Inside I was shaking my head like “I don’t even know what I’m doing here”, but my heart was also shaking saying “this is a good yes”.
I kept that information to myself and avoided eye contact with Ms. Zimmerman. I felt like she’d see right through me if our eyes met. Would I feel like a little girl playing dress up in my Mom’s clothes? Was I worthy of being here among these ‘real’ writers?
When I was a Sophomore in college, I became a substitute teacher on breaks at my high school. Mind you I was a Marketing major and still not sure how I passed the county requirements to be a high school substitute teacher at age 19. However, I needed the money and was going to find a way to earn it. This was an option.
I wore my Mom’s church suits to look professional. I am not kidding, the suit I remember wearing the most was ‘blush and bashful’ for all you Steel Magnolia fans, complete with shoulder pads. This was 1994.
My younger sister, a high school Senior at the time, threatened her friends if they acted up in my class when I was the science sub. This is a fun memory to relive. We still laugh to this day about it.
In reality, I did look like a little kid playing dress up. Even the janitor did a double take one day and said “Don’t you go here?” I loved working with those kids though.
My favorite was the Resource Development class, which was where I typically subbed. I clearly remember one day helping a student with math. The very moment he realized how to find the solution to a problem he found frustrating, his whole face lit up with joy when ‘it’ clicked. Right then and there I said to myself “Now I get it. This is why teachers become teachers.”
Being at the writer’s conference could have easily made someone in my infant writing stage feel like they shouldn’t be there (minus the blush and bashful suit – I wore something much more stylish), but it didn’t. Every person there was an encourager. From the people I surprisingly knew to the new friends I made, from the afternoon keynote speaker who invited me to sit at her table to the conference creator, the welcome was genuine and warm.
I felt worthy of being there. In my heart I knew there was a purpose for that day in my life, although I still didn’t know when or if I would realize why. In reading my notes, I see that I made a side caption in Lucille’s session when the handful of attendees shared what they were working on:
want to cry
stories come alive, we all have them
During her teaching, Lucille used a metaphor of the Israelites escaping Egypt to head for the Promised Land. What they took with them was the plunder…the gold and jewels the Egyptians gave them (Exod 12:36). You can read all about this in Exodus.
The plunder – a reminder of the Egyptians – the Israelites took it and trusted God (through Moses) and left. They acted. In the future they used that same plunder to make the Tabernacle. That sacred dwelling place is where God met His people when they were wandering in the desert for 40 years under Moses.
Get it? The plunder of the past was ultimately used for good in the future!
WOW. If that’s not an eye opener I don’t know what is.
To paraphrase Lucille from my notes, “People are terrified of their stories. They’re leaving plunder. That’s what God wants us to use. We need to process all our dirt, not just tell it. Some have shame over our story. We need to heal over that shame first”.
And get this. This was my aha moment.
“Healing happens through relationship because that’s where we get hurt.” – Lucille Zimmerman
Sweet baby Jesus. This is why I came, God. This is why You wanted me at this conference. I have to process and heal over my story. I haven’t done that yet.
YET. I will.
Allen Arnold, another wonderful speaker, delivered an opening one liner in his morning keynote that I’ll always remember:
“If you can create your story without God, it’s too small of a story.”
He said that in our stories we have scars. We are wounded early on by the enemy, and our scars are the most powerful weapon we tell.
If through my processing I am able to help just one person feel normal, hopeful, not alone, then the various scars of my story are worth it. They’re already worth it, as I see how God has always had His hand over my life and that His promises are true.
When I started my blog, I had a few different ideas of what I wanted to write about. I bought the domain name before ever writing a first post…or so I thought. What I recently found in an uncategorized notebook in my Evernote was my first true post, here unedited…
Dated July 14, 2012
Here we go. For years I have been told to journal. I haven’t. Part of me feels I should have. Would it be therapeutic? Helpful? Reflective? Not sure. With my elephant memory, I have always felt like I would remember anything that needed to be remembered. That is getting harder now…so here I am, writing a first entry.
Sitting outside in the crisp Colorado early Summer morning air drinking a cup of coffee (beyond excited to finally have a Keurig, fresh out of the box). I should start every morning this way….clear mind, ready to tackle the day.
Hmm…..what to write about? What is my passion? I have several. To pinpoint one is the journey I am now on. Find Mindy. I am wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, businesswoman, all those hats lots of women wear. Which one digs deep into defining Mindy? I am not sure anymore.
And through this discovery is how my different scars will fully start to heal…