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On Becoming a Storyteller

Last updated on December 30, 2023

For as long as I can remember, I have loved scribbling down words on pages, documenting my everyday life as it happens.

In my preteen years, I kept a diary. I even had one with a lock and key that I kept safely hidden in my desk drawer right beside my pencil. I would write about who talked to me in class, the boys who I thought were cute, and the grades I got in school. I even tried to write songs and poetry occasionally. When I found out my mom read my diary, I stopped writing in it. I think I even threw it away. I’m sad I can’t read what I found so fanciful back then, but if I concentrate, I can still feel the heat of the too-bright desk light shining on my face and hear the wooden chair squeak as I turn to see if anyone is coming in my room.

Once my diary was read, I didn’t write again with any regularity until I surrendered my whole self to Christ in the spring of 2007. Since then I’ve filled pages and pages and pages of journals. I’ve written about the birth of my children, the struggles in my marriage, and the books that I’ve read. I’ve asked questions that I still have no answers to and found answers to questions I’ve long wondered. My journals are a treasure trove of my life, and sometimes I dream of someone finding them someday and turning them into books to be read by the millions (silly, I know!). But more than that I know it’s something my kids will treasure long after I’m gone and they are ready to make sense of their childhood.

Over the years, I’ve discovered again and again how much I love the act of writing. I love the physical act of putting pen to page, but I also love the clickety-clack of the keys as my fingers race across the computer keyboard to get my words onto a screen to be shared. I love the challenge of finding the right words to go in the right place, and I love the art of editing and crafting and finagling until a piece is just so, or just right, or just enough to send out into the world to read.

I started blogging soon after my husband and I got married. He actually started our first blog because he wanted a way to keep his friends updated on our life in Tennessee. But he was horrible at updating everyone, so I did it for us most of the time. I’d tell people about the food we were eating, the games we were playing, and the places we were visiting. I wrote about the books we were reading, the lives we were weaving, and the love that we were struggling to share.

Interestingly, it was this regular writing and sharing of our everyday lives that I found my writing voice for the first time. When strangers started reading my writing, I almost quit, throwing away the key like I did when my mom found what I wrote all those years ago. I’m glad I didn’t quit because even though the memories of the water lilting against the shore of our Tennessee River home and the sounds of the buzzing coffee shop I loved to write in are fading, the words I put down on the page are still there for me to read.

I’m not a trained writer. I have a Business Management degree with a minor in Human Resources. I took writing classes in college as a requirement and signed up for communication classes to check the boxes to obtain my degree. But can I tell you something I’ve only ever told my husband? Those were my favorite classes. My writing teacher asked me why I wasn’t pursuing a writing career, and I told her it was because it didn’t make any money. My impromptu speech class gave me the best kind of adrenaline rush, and my journalism class made me wish I knew how I could pay the bills with writing.

Starting seminary this summer felt weird and awkward to me because I wasn’t sure why I was there. I don’t necessarily feel called to be a pastor or teacher or professor or any of the other traditional reasons for pursuing a Master of Divinity. But as I journeyed my way through my two courses, doing the assignments and meeting with mentors and professors throughout the summer quarter, I became more and more convinced that my vocation is writing. It’s what I’ve always done, and it’s what I always want to do.

As I’ve struggled to find words to put on a page now that I’ve re-launched this blog, I’ve come face-to-face with the fears that have always been there, but I’m only just now self-aware enough to name them. Fear of not being enough. Fear of running out of words. Fear of rejection. Fear of failure. What if you don’t like what I write? What if my writing is selfish and only for me? What if it doesn’t actually make any sense? And just like all those years ago when my diary was discovered, I’ve been tempted to stop writing, close this site down, and throw away the key. But fear has held me hostage for far too long.

I discovered I had a writing voice ten years ago, and I’ve been finding my voice with every word written ever since. Writing twice a week is hard for me because sometimes I can’t find the time to weave a good tale or articulate a noble truth, but it’s also hard because I’m probably overthinking it. I don’t know if I have anything new to share or anything all that revelatory of my own, but I do have His story. I do have the daily narrative of my life and the things God is teaching me, showing me, and transforming in me. I just want to share that with you. I want to become a master storyteller of His faithfulness and goodness in my life so you can believe the same for your life.

I hope you’ll be patient with me as I find my voice again and learn to trust Him to lead me in this space. I’m a beginner here and that feels vulnerable, but I’m choosing to embrace it. I am here to write my story, and in my story, I hope you find something of your story. Thank you for joining me in this space. I’m so glad you’re here.

Published inLADWriting

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