Enjoy this devotional from FlourishWriters student Dawn Ward
Habakkuk 2:2-3 The Message Version:
“And then God answered: ‘Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run. This vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming. It aches for the coming-it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time.’”
Sitting nudged between my twin bed and highboy dresser, I determined to discard the last eighteen years of my life, penned thoughtfully on worn papers tucked discreetly within its drawers. One by one, my fingers traced the edges of each poem and memoir. I desired to put them back in their nesting place. Longingly, I felt them cry out to me to keep them safe; they had meaning and purpose. And like me, they had value, but I had rejected that truth years earlier.
Gently, I tore every treasured moment into tiny little pieces, but not without reading each word one more time, as though I could somehow etch them into my young mind to keep hold of forever. Today was my birthday. I would be a bride in three weeks. It was the grown-up thing to do. Let the past stay in the past. My future was with my husband, not these precious, and sometimes painful, memories. Besides, I was now a responsible adult. I had just started working, and we were buying our first home. Who had time for the childish dream of becoming a writer?
Before closing the lid on the trashcan, I peeked in one last time. “You are a writer, an incredibly good writer. Never stop writing,” the words of my high-school English teacher echoed in my ears as tears stained my cheeks. “Thank you, Mrs. Murphy, for believing in me.” Deep within the pile of discarded papers, I buried my dream, convinced I had also buried the past and my painful childhood memories along with it. And there were plenty of those, growing up in a volatile, alcoholic home and having just experienced the divorce of my parents.
Fear had crept into my life unnoticed. What young girl has the wisdom to realize that fear was the real reason she could so easily throw away her dreams?
Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of being vulnerable, fear of being imperfect, all were hidden just below the surface covered with a strong, determined personality that didn’t appear to fear anything. But those fears would be the driving force behind every decision I would make as I moved forward in life.
Insecurity and doubt would creep into my marriage and my mothering. They would sneer at me with critical accusations that I was not enough, not in my family, not in my career, and certainly not in my writing.
Fast forward all these years later, life and God have brought me back to the place where I am compelled to write again. Areas of my life I would prefer to keep neatly tucked away demand to be revealed, if only to help one other person. I am attempting to write the book the Lord placed on my heart, the one every writer knows they must pen at some point. Procrastination has played itself out. It is time to get real and make this happen. But certainly, there is something I can busy myself doing. More research, digging deeper into the Scriptures, laundry, anything.
If only I was writing fiction, a devotional, or a simple how-to manual revealing “how I have arrived, and you can too, if you just follow these five easy steps.” These are within my comfort zone. I can hide behind the safety and security of giving solid advice that is tried and true, well-tested wisdom.
But that is not the case. Staring at the blank screen in front of me, I wonder why I ever decided to attempt this writing thing in the first place. As I begin to transfer my thoughts from the safety and security of my memory bank to the permanent records of the computer hard drive, I go blank. I mean “deer in the headlights” blank. Vulnerability is not my forte.
Why, God, did you choose me to write this message?
Pride sneers, “Who do you think you are? No one wants to read a word you have written. You will fail. Leave it for someone more qualified!” Fear pressures me with self-doubt, “Let’s put this one away for a while. We will keep this just between the two of us. No one will ever have to know that you are a failure.”
Then I hear the Spirit’s sweet, recognizable whisper speaking softly to me, “Because of hope. Write these words because you have hope.” Tenderly, he removes the band-aides I had placed over hidden wounds scarred over long ago. I have been covering them up, protecting them, afraid that they will be wounded all over again if I expose them. Shame has kept me paralyzed. “It’s time to walk again, little girl, time to get moving.”
I sense his leading, his prompting to simply write the words down, to stop trying to protect myself. Yes, I am the daughter of a father who preferred alcohol over a relationship with me. Yes, as I a child I experienced hurt at the hands of a neighbor I should have been able to trust. Yes, I am the mother of two sons who have felt addiction’s clutches. Yes, I battle with perfectionism because I am afraid of failure. But, while all these situations impacted me, they did not and do not define me. God has healed me and protecting myself is not an option, even if it was possible.
I admit it would be easier, and much more comfortable, to close my laptop and save all this emotional stuff for another day when I feel stronger and more qualified. That is not an option. Hope is calling out to me. It is time to get started.
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5, New International Version)
Dawn Is the founder of The Faith to Flourish ministry for women whose loved ones struggle with addiction. She also has a thriving online Facebook support group called Christian Moms of Addicted Children. With over 30 years of experience in women’s ministry, as well as working in the medical field with mainly female patients, Dawn has a unique perspective on the hearts of women. Her passion is to teach and equip women to live victorious lives in spite of the hardships they are facing. She is the co-author with Valerie Silveira of Still Standing After All the Tears: Faith in the Battle Edition Workbook.Dawn lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, with her husband, Steve, and has three adult children, two sons and a daughter, as well as one very spoiled dog. She can be contacted at thefaithtoflourish.com or [email protected].