“My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” Psalm 48:1
I was not your typical sixteen-year-old, dying to start driver’s education and itching to get behind the wheel. For some reason, I was extremely afraid to handle a large machine that could potentially kill me and those around me. It could be that my step-father repeatedly told me that I would be a bad driver; it could be that I wasn’t even good at bumper cars, often ending up pinned by others; or it could be that I was just afraid. Whatever the reason, I put off getting my learner’s permit until I was eighteen.
Then I had the ill-fated accident. If it had happened today and someone managed to catch it on their phone camera, I am sure it would have gone viral. I was backing up my mom’s beloved aquamarine Mitsubishi in our driveway when the crash of metal assaulted my ears. I realized that I had just backed into my uncle’s brand-new car. Visibly shaken, I pulled the car forward as my mom ran out of the house to see what had caused the commotion. I jumped out of the car to inspect the damage, forgetting to put the car into park. As the car inched towards the garage, my mom yelled at me to get back into the car and hit the brake. Panicking, I slammed my foot on any pedal within reach. Unfortunately, it was the accelerator. The car crashed a second time within a few minutes, this time into the closed garage door!
Fortunately, no one got hurt, but I was paranoid about driving afterwards. A few friends offered to teach me, but I made only halfhearted attempts, afraid of having an accident again. Despite this handicap, I attended college and moved to another state, relying on friends to “chauffeur” me. Finally, my job required me to have a valid license, forcing me to overcome my fears. So, a few weeks after getting married, my new husband took me out daily and patiently taught me how to drive. Despite my trepidation, I learned to make left turns without tears, and within a few weeks, I passed my test and became a licensed driver at age twenty-four!
We all have fears that can paralyze us, keeping us from moving forward or discovering more about the world around us. For six years, my fear of driving hindered my ability to be independent and made my world smaller. I had no idea the sense of freedom I would feel once I held a license in my hand!
A year ago, I had to overcome another fear: the fear of failure. The previous two years had been challenging with all sorts of transitions and new situations. I had been praying that God would help me grow from these challenges. After praying for a while, I felt led to share some of my challenges with others in a blog format. I was not presuming to come to any life-altering conclusions or great spiritual insight. Instead, I felt like God was asking me to be transparent and authentic, sharing some of the journey that I have been on. So, I put fingers to keyboard, and started blogging!
It was scary publishing my first few posts. Was my writing good enough? Would anyone else read it? How transparent should I be? What if I failed? I began to panic and thought about quitting. Then I had an epiphany: if God is really in this, then I should let His Word define my success. I found a few verses that allayed my fears and gave me a clear direction.
Psalm 45:1-2 acted as a plumb line for the direction of my blog. Here the psalmist declares, “My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Thou art fairer than the children of men, grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.” When I found this passage, I set three guidelines for my writing. First, like the psalmist, I need to let my words be a source of encouragement for others. This was not a space to be venting my frustrations or ranting my views. Instead, my words need to uplift others and give them hope. Second, I need to “touch the king” by speaking of Jesus in every post. Not only does Jesus need to be the center of my blog, but I want God literally directing my words. Often, I have started with an idea of what I was trying to convey, only to start writing and see it move in a direction completely different from what I originally envisioned. The final post turned out better than I had hoped for because the moving was appointed by the Lord. Finally, I want the grace on my lips, or my pen in this case, to be a blessing to others. I want my blog to minister to others and be a blessing.
The second verse that God used to help me define success was found in 1 Corinthians 3:6. Paul told the Corinthian church to be careful in trying to attribute success. He reminded them, “I have planted, Apollos watered but God gave the increase.” My role as a writer is sometimes to plant and sometimes to water, but the increase belongs to God. I have had almost 1,000 views of my blog over the course of the year. I am truly humbled and grateful that my blog has been read by others, but in the cyber world, that number would not be impressive. Although I would like to increase my readership, the number of views doesn’t determine my success. Success is a card in the mail letting me know that my writing has ministered to someone. Success is a Facebook comment that my blog challenged someone. Ultimately, this success belongs to God for He has allowed my words to bless others.
Today, I celebrate one year of “Graceful Transitions”! Including today, I have posted thirty-eight blogs over the course of the past year. I have covered many different topics including my health journey, loneliness, adoption, death, self-worth, and brokenness. I have included some humorous stories, milestones in my life and even a few recipes. I have done a book review, shared some favorite quotes and have mused about some scriptures. At times it has been cathartic to write, and other times I felt a little nervous about sharing my failings and struggles in cyber space. Every time I have hit the “Publish” button, I prayed that God would use my blog to speak to someone and point them back to Him!
I want to thank a few people who have been instrumental in this journey. First, my amazingly talented daughter, Maggie, who has taken the credit-worthy photos for my blog. Without her photography skills, my readers would have blurred images lacking creativity. She also manages to take pictures of me without my eyes closed, which is an accomplishment in itself! In addition, she was the first person to tell someone else that her mother was a writer. That simple statement changed how I define myself. Next, I want to thank my sister, Monica, who has shared most of my blogs on her Facebook page. Because of her shares, I have gained a few additional readers which has encouraged me to keep writing. Last, but not at all least, I want to publicly thank my incredible husband. Not only was Terry instrumental in helping me overcome my fear of driving, he encouraged me to make the leap to writing. Together, we decided that this season in my life was going to be devoted to writing and see where God takes me on that journey. Furthermore, he takes the time to edit my weekly posts by not only correcting the obvious flaws, but also by giving me pointers on how to improve my writing. He has also encouraged me to own my writing instead of timidly sharing my conclusions. I could not have done any of this without his support and stellar editing skills!
I also want to thank you, my readers. Some of you have faithfully read all my blogs, others have read only a few, and still others may have read only one. Some of you I know, others I have met on social media, and some of you I have never met. Whichever camp you fall into, thank you! Thank you for taking the time to hear my heart! Thank you for the comments you have shared! Thank you for letting me be transparent with you!
I have no idea where “Graceful Transitions” is going in the future. I have set some goals for the upcoming year. I want to continue to write posts weekly, trying to post fifty in this upcoming year. I also want to continue to find my voice and refine my writing skills. I also have plans for including more book reviews, potential lifestyle posts, and continued transparency about life transitions. Along with writing my blog, I am also writing a book about restoration from childhood sexual abuse that I hope to publish by the end of 2021. So, although I don’t know the future, I do know that, as long as God continues to give me the words, I will continue to be brave and write!