Encouragement for myself (and maybe you, too)

Pansy growing among dead leaves
This little pansy caught my eye in the flower bed last week. An early sign of spring on a frigid February day. Bloom where you are planted, indeed. Whenever you’re freaking ready.

I could pretend that I’m writing this to lift the spirits of a dear friend who’s going through a dark season, but here’s the truth; this is for me, but not only me. Maybe it’s for you. Or your dear friend.

See, I’ve been at this writing thing for a long time. 15 years professionally (18 if you count my internships in college), and 31 years if you count my crayon-scribbled masterpieces as a young child. I’ve always, always wanted to be a writer. And now I am. Not many people can say that they’re living their childhood career dream. I can, and I’m grateful. Not many people can say that they’re paid real dollars to pursue their real passion. I can, and I’m grateful. But…and there’s a big but…(I said big butt, teehee…also someone on Twitter called these “drama dots” instead of ellipses and I am in love with that).

I’ve not had any “real” success as a writer. I mean, the kind that people fawn over and fangirl over. I’ve been in few very small print publications, I’ve been on the AOL homepage (that’s still a thing), and I’ve been interviewed on BBC radio (that was pretty cool). But over the past few months, I’ve been putting in the work. As in actually trying to get published. And I’ve applied for a few dream gigs with dream people and I’ve yet to hear back. I have a major case of the “checkies.” That’s a word I made up (I like doing that). It means you’re constantly checking your inbox. Refresh. Refresh. Refresh. It’s sad and sick and pathetic. I have a problem. Is there a support group for this?

This morning I rose before sunrise, made a pot of coffee (my husband claims it was too weak, so YOU make it next time, let’s see if he reads this) and put on my headphones. This is the morning routine I strive for. It doesn’t always happen, but today it did. Jesus Culture’s Holy Spirit (live) is my current go-to jam. This song just puts me in a really good spiritual place.

But it was the next song that undid me. Housefire’s Jesus What a Savior. Brother. The word brother.

Jesus what a Savior

What a brother

What a friend

Something broke. My tears fell. I felt the presence of my brother in the room. His spirit. His 6′ 8″ rail-thin presence. He was with me. I heard “little sister I’m proud of you” though no words were spoken. He had a heart for Christ, and now he’s with Christ. His life’s journey was derailed too soon by mental illness and the aftermath of spiritual and sexual trauma…but where would I be now? A death before the dropped seed. A life cycle we see repeated in nature. And I am blooming. Bearing fruit.

So what? So what if I never “make it.” That’s a construct in my own mind. A conviction I felt this morning:

Faith writers and creators and lovers of others: thank you. You may never make a name for yourself, sell millions of copies, win awards or accolades, but you’ve done it! You’ve made it! You’ve been discovered! Hired by the one who made you for a private show, a private concert, a personal reading, a bespoke essay. You may never make a name yourself but you’ve made His name greater. You’ve written it on my heart and those of others. Keep singing, keep writing, keep creating. We need accessible faith. We need big voices speaking to small crowds. If you’re lifted to speak to the masses, you may miss the one soul you’re supposed to reach. Go where you’re called, but don’t belittle where you ARE. 

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