Small Beginnings

It seems strange to be starting this blog so far into my journey as a first time writer/indy publisher. So I’ve been struggling on how to begin.  And then I hit a moment of (relative) genius: I decided to begin with what I’ve already written!

So I pulled up the entries I’d posted to my personal blog to copy them over here. And funnily enough, I discovered that the first entry was posted exactly one year ago today!

So without further ado – here’s what my writing journey looked like one year ago:

So much has been happening over the past few months, and I’m just bursting with the incredible news of it all, and so if it’s all right with you (and since I’m not waiting to hear, I’m going to presume it is), I’d like to venture off my beaten track and take the time to get a little more personal.

This whole story will probably take me several posts to finish, but it all started right here on this blog.  It began with a post I wrote almost two years ago entitled My Brother’s Keeper. But the point of this post isn’t to reference that one.  The point of this post is that when I wrote that one so many months ago I had no idea what kind of crazy journey it would take me on.  I had no clue how that first step would bring me to where I stand here and now.

You see, as I wrote that post God began to stir something inside me – I realized that this topic was bigger than a few paragraphs could cover.  What’s more, I realized that it was a topic that I felt very passionate about, an issue that I felt highlighted such a need within the Body of Christ – the need to define and examine what qualifies as rightly relating to one another.

The more I thought about it, the more passionate I got, and it wasn’t long before I started contemplating the B word … I decided to write a book.  “After all,” I thought, “How hard can this be?  I wrote a thesis in college.  That’s kind of like a book.  And I write in my blog all the time.  This’ll just be like a bunch of really long blog entries.”

I look back at my self in that blissful state of ignorance and I can’t help but shake my head and laugh piteously at that silly young woman who clearly has no clue what a rough road she’s about to travel.  Nevertheless, it was with ignorant bliss (as well as loads of encouragement from friends, family, and even my pastors) that I forged ahead into the writing process.

It took me two months of constant work to put all of my thoughts on paper.  I wrote a chapter at a time, sometimes switching from one to another half way through when I got stuck or bored.  At the end what I had was 12 chapters, 90 pages, and an absolute mess on my hands.  I mean it was awful.  The ideas were all there, but they were cobbled together in such a haphazard fashion that they weren’t even identifiable.  There was no continuity from chapter to chapter, the book lacked a style, it lacked an arc – it lacked a compelling through-line.  It was a mess.

Of course, having just devoted myself to 60 long hard days of furious writing, I had lost any sense of objectivity.  And so, still blissfully ignorant, I merrily sent the first draft of the manuscript to my mother for her opinion.  She agreed to read, critique, and help me edit.  And then she read it … and informed me that she didn’t think she was going to be able to work with me on it after all.

What a blow!  I mean don’t get me wrong – she was sweet as anything, and it was probably the kindest thing she could do for the daughter whom she loved so dearly.  But what I thought was “Oh my goodness, is it really THAT bad?  My own mother couldn’t find anything constructive to say?”

At that moment I felt so down, so defeated.  I felt like an utter failure, and I couldn’t understand why God would ever press me to start something like this if I was going to be so bad at it!

But that’s the thing about beginnings.  We expect our first steps on a new path to launch us up into the stars – and sometimes they do.  But more often than not, they leave us not far from where we started.  Sometimes we end up like David, who’s journey to the throne started when he was suddenly anointed by Samuel the prophet, and then just as suddenly found himself back in the field tending his sheep like nothing happened.  Sometimes we end up like Moses, who had a conversation with a bush in which God FORCED him to return to Egypt, only to meet resistance at every turn as soon as he arrived.

But we don’t remember David as a shepherd boy – we remember him as a giant slayer and king.  When we tell our children the story of Moses we don’t dwell on how miserable his situation was, we focus on the triumph of his success.  And if this (much humbler) journey that I’ve been taking has taught me anything, it has been that God is less interested in where our first steps take us than He is in where they will eventually lead us.

So I guess I’ll end this first post with this: If God has you at the beginning of something that seems to daunting for words, don’t worry about it.  Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, because God is setting you up for a breakthrough.  He’s setting you up for success in ways that you won’t understand, and preparing you for things that you don’t even know are coming.  So don’t despise your small beginnings.  They are the first steps into your greatness.

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