Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change–Jms. 1:17.
This week I had the privilege to participate in Career Day at two of our local elementary schools and talk about the process I went through to become an author. It’s been fun to stand beside my illustrator and good friend, Sarah Strickling Jones, who was the first one to say, “I think you have something here,” and gently pushed me to make a book.
As we shared our story and great adventure with the students, I could vividly recall my own days in elementary school, sitting at a desk and trying desperately to think of something to write. When you are first learning how to write, words can seem impossible to grasp and spell, and ideas can feel out of reach.
My story to becoming a writer is actually a story of God’s grace. When I was a toddler, my older sister found me in the living room, writhing around on the floor and shaking. She ran to get my mom, who is a nurse, and my mom immediately recognized that I was having a seizure. Of course, she rushed me to the emergency room, but there wasn’t much that they could do for me except refer me to a specialist. But even the doctors seemed confused by the seizures I began having. They couldn’t seem to figure out what was causing them, and I spent quite a bit of time in the hospital.
The only answer they could find was to prescribe Phenobarbital, a drug that can be used to treat epilepsy and is also used as a “sedative hypnotic” (according to Rxlist.com). My seizures were being controlled, but my mind was being put to sleep. My parents can still recall those years from ages two to five when I seemed to be in a dream all the time. In fact, I don’t recall anything before my five-year-old birthday.
When it was time to begin kindergarten, my parents (especially my mom) were becoming concerned that I wouldn’t do well in school because of the medication. They decided that I had been seizure-free long enough that they were willing to try taking me off of it to see how I would do. But their hopes of having an honor roll student were not placed in me.
One day, I came home from kindergarten and told my mom that I could write to 100. She humored me, thinking that I probably thought I could but really didn’t know the numbers. To her surprise, I was able to do exactly what I told her I could!
I am sure that there are still some lingering issues on my brain from those years on that seizure medicine. In fact, I’m not even sure they still prescribe it today–except in extremely rare cases. I do sometimes forget things, and I may be overly sensitive because of the drug’s lasting effects. But overall, I have done quite well off of the medicine and have had no more seizures! In fact, I did make the A/B Honor Roll all throughout my school career and graduated high school in the top five of my class. I even went on to college and earned a degree in publishing!
This particular book was created in my mind three years ago–in the midst of our third adoption. Sarah challenged me to put my words on paper, and she would illustrate them for me. We had a product, but then we didn’t know what to do with it! Then my amazing friend, Anna, who works for a publishing company, encouraged me to submit it to her boss. With her support, my manuscript was approved, and Sarah’s beautiful illustrations were accepted, and now we are moving on to the design stage to put the words and illustrations together at last!
It’s been a long journey from my days as a struggling, loopy five-year-old, who didn’t seem to have much promise for a future. But we serve an amazing God, who is faithful to fulfill His purposes through us and in us.
I could have easily given up. I could have accepted my limitations and lived a perfectly content life. But I have a support team–parents who love me, siblings who fight for me, a husband who sacrifices for me, children who look up to me, friends who encourage me, and people who believe in me. These are the people who made me keep going when I thought that I would never achieve my dream of becoming an author. They are the reason that I write.
I write all of this to brag on my family and friends. I know that it’s not always easy to support the difficult people in your life, and I am, for certain, one of the difficult ones! But because of them, I can pursue my dreams!
If you have a child who is struggling with physical, mental, or emotional issues, please don’t give up on them! Support them. Encourage them. Love them. You may feel beaten down and lost right now, but they know that you are there. They can feel your strength and love, so don’t give up!
And if you are struggling to see your dreams fulfilled, I just want to encourage you to “keep on keeping on,” as the saying goes. You may be rejected over and over again. You may be told to pursue something else. You may be told that you can’t possibly pursue that dream. Do it anyway!
I may have a best-seller on my hands, or I may not. Only time will tell. But my support team helped me to complete my dream of being published! I am so thankful for all they have done to get me here!
God has a purpose for each one of us. He wants us to hope and dream. He wants us to pursue things that will bring Him glory and give you joy. He gave you talents and strengths that you may not even know. Use them for His glory, and He will bless you beyond measure! Keep pressing on!
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus–Phil. 3:14.