Twelve months ago, I was getting ready to publish my first book, Eden's Blueprint. It was the summation of five years of writing, rewriting, writing, throwing away, not believing in myself, believing in myself, being insecure, and finally October 10, it was out.
English was never my strong suit, and this added to the fear I connected to putting into print parts of my life that I hold very dear. For years people have been speaking over my life that I needed to write a book. They would talk about the lessons I've learned, the way I teach, and the way I lead. It's funny how every one of those areas is where I feel so much insecurity. For every strength in my life, there is a voice telling me that strength is imagined at best. Sometimes those voices are from others, but most often, they are from myself.
So, when I published Eden's Blueprint, I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and waited for the responses that flowed. If you had been in my home, you would have seen the anxiety, the excitement, the hope, the disappointment, the encouragement, and the joy. Yep, they were all there, and sometimes, all within the space of a few minutes.
So, what have I learned?
Well, firstly, I can write. It may not be perfect through the lens of my old English teachers, but people are reading what I've written, and their lives are being changed. Some of my lessons have become starting points for the lessons others are learning, and occasionally, I'll get a message from a person telling me how my story has helped their story.
Secondly, I can write fiction. The second book, Three Trees, was born out of the Prologue and Epilogue of Eden's Blueprint. In fiction, I have been able to find a powerful way to express my story through an ancient story. In fact, what I found, was I often read and interpret these ancient stories through my own. In writing this fictional tale, I'm inviting you to understand my story. To understand how I deal with fear, shame, love, belief, connection, healing, and grace.
Thirdly, writing is therapeutic. Later this year, Three Floods will be published, and this time, I'm in the story of Noah. It's a story of destiny and restoration, and once again, you will find my story laced through it all. So many of the lessons of my life I have been able to put into these pages. Teachings I wrote in Eden's Blueprint are throughout this epic biblical story. In it, I was able to ask huge theological questions and allow myself to sit with answers and, at times, no answers.
Lastly, we all have a story that is necessary, valuable, beautiful, and brutal (well, at least mine is), and your story needs to be heard in some way, shape, or form. It's in the story we find the storyteller, and the storyteller will show the beauty that lies within.
Long ago, Jesus told us not to judge by what we see but look beneath the surface. He was the great storyteller, and He allowed us into His story; He shared His story with us all. He showed us our own stories were precious and so often would be found at tables listening to the storytellers.
Be the storyteller of your story. Help us see the real you, the one who has failed, got up, failed again, and got back up again. The one who has loved, been hurt, and then chosen to love again.