Sunday, March 19, 2017

Finding Purpose

If you follow me on my personal Instagram or Twitter, or happen to view my posts via this blog, then you've seen a different kind of content lately.  You could say it's less racy and more grace-y? lol

In my last few blogs, I mentioned making this year different, getting back my motivation, cannon-balling into experiences, and tearing down walls and barriers to a happier path.  What I didn't realize in those previous weeks was the internal storm brewing.

In the month since my last post, it would be an understatement to say there have been a few changes.  Granted, by looking at me you wouldn't tell.  But I'm different.  I'm letting go of things and embracing others.  I'm lighting a candle in the darkness and the depression that has taken over so much of the last three years has backed off to a small shadow...and I know will be eradicated soon enough.

Why this change?  Could it be that getting up earlier each morning has helped me be more productive? Yeah, could be part of it.  Could it be talking to my counselor and working harder at letting things go? Sure, that would be it too.  Could it be that a higher power is working on me?  Yeah, that's more accurate.

Let me preface the rest of this post by saying I am not trying to be preachy, nor do I think I'm all better because of a newfound love of God.  I'm human enough to know I will forever be flawed and stumbling in this world.

BUT - for some reason, my faith has come front and center.  I will say I have been blessed to never know a time without God.  With a grandfather for a preacher, a grandmother for a song leader, and growing up around church, God was ever present.  I know through the years on this blog I have said as much...or at least I think I have.

Three years ago when I started this last fight with depression, I began listening to contemporary christian music.  First just a little bit on the way to work, now it seems like any time I have the radio on that is what it is.  Those songs helped bring me peace in the storm, they gave me hope when I wanted to give up, they made my battered spirit believe in what was possible again.

About two years ago I started reading a book for women's bible study.  It was an 8 week course but took me 6 months.  But at least I finished.  Then I got another book to work on.  That one took closer to a year to get through (though again it was only a few week course).  My renewed walk with God wasn't a cannonball, but a gradual one foot in front of the other, sometimes even a slow crawl.

Fast-foward to about 6 weeks ago.  I took the leap then to go to church.  Up until that moment I hadn't been to a church service in over 12 years.  Not that I didn't commune with God.  If I needed to hear a sermon or have encouragement, I had a whole playlist of preachers available on YouTube or on various podcasts.  But something just felt like it was time.

So for 6 weeks I have gone and sat in the back row, usually no one talks to me and that is ok.  Last week I gained the courage to introduce myself to the pastor, today I reached out to someone I overheard having a hard time.  Each week I highlight the verses and write down in my notebook.  I take as much from the sermons as I can and then try to carry it with me the rest of the week.

I have known for a very long time that helping others was a path I needed to be on.  To stop focusing on the struggles I have been through and turn toward helping others make their way through those same times, to turn the bad experiences into good in helping others - especially women, moms, etc.

BIG NEWS ANNOUNCEMENT - I've only said this to my immediate family, but I guess I will share this here with you too....just over a week ago I applied to seminary school.  My course of study is women's ministry and I hope that if I am accepted, I can use that certification to go into churches or groups and help others by telling my story...or not so much MY story and more God's story and how his unconditional love has gotten me through everything - through 2 divorces, the loss of a child, abuse, self-loathing, relationships that should have never taken place at all.  Every twist and turn he was there, just waiting for me to really see him.

I've been struggling so much with wanting to do everything and be everything, but when that purpose (of helping others) became clear, I realized how much I could let down.  One of my big struggles has been my writing and the conflict of writing about sex....but when I really look at my stories, it isn't about the sex as much as it is about these women who are finding themselves and becoming secure in who they are and then finding a partner.  Maybe it's having my cake and wanting to eat it too...I'm still working through that.

So what does all this mean for my writing??  I don't know.  I know I have books to finish and I will be getting them out.  They may not be as graphic, but I don't think a lot of my readers will mind.  Romance novels aren't all about the sex...they are about the budding relationship between two people...but a steamy kiss doesn't hurt .lol

Whether I get accepted to seminary or not, I know that I will be pursuing my passion of writing and blending my faith into it.  I already decided to write a book about my experiences and how faith has helped me through....what I didn't realize until last week is I actually started to write the book over ten years ago.  I found 40+ handwritten pages in a notebook last weekend.  Just another sign that I am on the right track. Writer Elizabeth Gilbert would call this eerie coincidence no coincidence at all but BIG MAGIC!

I also want to become a speaker to share our (mine and God's) story.  I already have several programs I am looking at to help fine-tune my writing and speaking help me get my thoughts across in the best way to help people.  Even if my schedule is about to get busy with other things, I am at peace about it. I feel like by making this decision to live my faith, I have found a peace and confidence I forgot I had.

My hope is that some of my readers will embrace this other part of me.  In a few months there will be a new website for those endeavors where I will post my speaking events, information on any books I write about faith, and miscellaneous encouragement for women.  I will also still maintain this blog for my romance writing.  As many books as I have that I want to write (20 and counting) I know it may be a longer process to get them out with so much going on in other areas, but romance is still a passion of mine that I intend to pursue.

I guess the point of this blog is to let you know what is going on, where my head and heart are heading, and putting down the stress I give myself with trying to be so many things I'm not.  What has not changed, nor will ever change, is that I am a writer.  God gave me this gift and I intend to use it.  Whether through romance novels (though now more PG rated Ala Hallmark Movies) or through books that help other women know they are not alone in the trials they face, I will use the gift I have been given to my best abilities and be who I was created to be.

This year of the cannonball seems to be quite the ride and if things have changed and become this clear now, I am excited to see how the rest of the year unfolds.

In closing I say this - follow your heart, follow your passion.  Above all, follow the one who will never fail you. #godisonthemove

Here is what you missed!