For a long time, I had convinced myself I had nothing to say. Rather, I had a lot to say, but it made my brain hurt a little bit trying to connect it all. And if I couldn’t fully understand it, how could I articulate it in a way that anybody else would?
I had a lot to say, but I wasn’t quite sure how to say it. So I just set it all aside, stored up on a bookshelf and buried in another prayer journal. There were moments, however, when the bravery built up. When the words bubbled over refusing to be contained, and I found a trusted friend with whom to share it. “Hey, could you listen to this thing that came out of my quiet time?” I asked, and then gauged her reaction.
The first time I thought that these words coming out of me might not be what the average girl experiences happened at the coffee shop around the corner. I sat with two friends on a hot summer day under an umbrella shade. We sipped our iced coffees, and I nervously opened my journal, reading the most vulnerable parts of me.
When I finished reading, I looked up, and their jaws were on the floor.
it was the moment that I knew I had to keep writing
To keep digging, keep recording these thoughts that sometimes feel like a foreign language. Because somehow, someway, God will string them together in the someday-way that His Spirit intends.
* * *
Seven or eight years later, I met a girlfriend for lunch. It was another summer day, another al fresco meeting place in another city 130 miles away from the first. I had countless journals filled with things I had never shared. “I know my story is written in there,” I told her between bites of chicken pesto and swats of flies. “There’s an entire book tucked away in those journals. I just don’t know what the ending is yet.”
* * *
A couple of years after that, I started publishing the words. I was still in the thick of my waiting and grief – Shawna only being gone for seven months. And the day before my first blog post, I was grappling with the heaviness of another, “no, you’re not pregnant.” (That made it an almost-even 89 months in a row.) I had been pretty good in the few months prior in terms of protecting my heart. But that weekend, I allowed myself to get hopeful after getting sick in a coffee shop bathroom. Logically, I knew it was a stomach bug. I had been traveling home from a weekend away where a girlfriend had been sick in our hotel room 12 hours earlier. But still, I hoped it was a fluke. I begged God for a miracle. I took a test, “just in case.”
There wasn’t even a hint of a pink line. First, I was angry. And then? I got so sad. How much more sorrow? When will You say that this waiting-road has been long enough for me?
The next morning, I limped to His throne of grace, begging Him to meet me because all that I wanted to do was go crawl back into bed. Lift my head for me until I can lift it on my own, I prayed.
Help me to think on Your lovingkindness, I prayed, writing down the words of Psalm 48:9.
Give me a voice of thanksgiving to tell all of your wondrous works, I wrote, thinking of Psalm 26:7.
and then, I wrote the words that changed everything
Maybe now is the time to start my blog. To go back through the really rich moments I’ve had with You, to remind myself of them again. And to share with other women in similar scenarios. To have a voice of thanksgiving that is honoring and worshiping You through every rough moment. Yes, I might curse. I might yell. I might cry hot, angry tears. But I always want to turn around and still say unequivocally that You are good. You are kind. And You love me.
At some point along the way, I stopped talking and started quietly suffering in silence. The next morning, after years of knowing that I would write a book someday, it was finally time to start writing (rather, re-writing old prayer journal words).
That morning, I found my voice again.