Tag Archives: memoir

All I Have is Christ

25 Jan

I am proud to say that yesterday, I worked on my memoir for about 5 hours straight. I got into the groove and was on a roll. Hopefully I can keep this up so that days don’t turn into months and then years before this thing is finished.

I am currently writing about the time I studied abroad in Venezuela and one of the guys I dated, German (accent on the a), who was actually from Venezuela. I met him in Rochester, where I grew up, when he was studying abroad.

I won’t go into detail here, mostly because it isn’t relevant. But I am finding it difficult to remember really what happened between us and what our relationship was like, which is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I have been praying ever since I met Travis that I would forget everything about the “other guys” in my life. A curse because it makes it hard to write a memoir!! But I’d rather not remember for the sake of my marriage than remember for the sake of a book. 

To “research” what happened during those years, I’ve been reading some of my old journals. It’s amazing to see how I have changed. More than just maturing over the years, I have developed a hope and purpose for my life that can only be from God. 

I think of what my life would like right now if I hadn’t heard God beckoning to me that hot, sticky day in Venezuela: I’d probably still be basing my worth on men; hopping around the party scene; investing a fortune into fashion, fitness, and beauty; trying to climb the corporate ladder while secretly pining for a husband and a family. I would be lost, scared, and insecure. Most of all, I would be without hope. I would wonder if this is all there was to life, if no one ever craved something more. I would never be satisfied.

Reading Romans has really revealed to me how much we need the gospel–a Savior who demands nothing but faith for a gospel that is based on nothing but grace. Tim Keller said once in a sermon that there was a woman on the verge of becoming a Christian. She was scared to accept Christ because she knew that once she did, “there is nothing He can’t ask of me.” The gospel demands a full surrender of ourselves. There is nothing we can hold back from God.

This is my song right now:

I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave
I had no hope that You would own
A rebel to Your will
And if You had not loved me first
I would refuse You still

But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cost
You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross
And I beheld God’s love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ!
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life!

Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me
Oh Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You

A Scared Excitement

24 Jan

I’m sitting at Panera right now (I puffy heart Panera). Although I forgot how crazy Saturday mornings are here. I did manage to finagle a table near an outlet (my laptop is so old–7 years to be exact–that I need to plug it in for it to turn on…the battery needs to be replaced again but Travis and I are probably going to buy a new computer anyway).

I’m here for my 2nd day of writing. The first day (last Tuesday) went ok. I just stayed at home and hooked my computer up in the kitchen. I wrote for about an hour and then got sidetracked reading my diary from the time I studied abroad in Venezuela–when I became a Christian. It’s very interesting. But after reading my diary for a while, I got bored and started to get a sore throat so I copped out.

But I’m excited to write and after pondering (and re-writing) my memoir for a couple years now, I think I know how I want to tell the story. I don’t want it to be like your typical book written by a Christian woman (not that they’re bad…there’s just so many of them!!) I want it to be more like literary non-fiction. I want to show the story, not tell it. I want to walk through the experiences with my reader, instead of just recalling them. And I don’t want to explicitly analyze what happened and what I realized. Rather, I want to reveal it, let the reader see a few glimpses here and there, make them piece the story together as they read (though I can’t do that too much or else the meaning will be lost entirely).

Writing my memoir feels a lot like training for a race. Running makes me anxious with anticipation: I want to either run a certain distance or at a certain pace and am not sure if I’ll be able to do it. So I feel scared. But there’s also a real possibility that I’ll be able to pull it off. So I’m also excited.

That’s how I feel about writing. I want it to be good, to flow, to come together in the way that I imagine it in my head. But I’m not sure that I’ll be able to do it; so I’m a little anxious about writing (which has resulted in me avoiding it altogether…until now). I’m also excited because of the possibilities. I have a story to tell. I have thoughts to communicate.

Paul says in Acts 20:24, “But I do not consider my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

That’s how I view my desire to write about how God drew me to Himself–I want to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. And really, that is every Christian’s purpose. We are all to testify to the gospel, through our words, actions, and lives. We just do it in different ways.

Writing is my way.

Dreaming

6 Dec

I got an email yesterday from one of my best friends in Minnesota. She wrote about how she was scared to date anyone because she had gotten her heart broken in the fall by a boy. She had spent a lot of time with him and thought he liked her but turned out, he didn’t. (When will boys understand that spending a lot of time with one girl who is “just a friend” is a no-no?!?!?)

Her email reminded me a lot of what I had to work through while dating Travis: learning to trust again.

After reading that email from my friend, I felt a renewed desire to write my memoir. I have suppressed this desire since I graduated from college. For my senior thesis, I wrote a prospectus, which is a fancy name for book proposal. I submitted it to about 5 specialized publishing houses. All came back saying “Sorry, no dice.” I put it on the back burner while I went to another Beach Project, got a real job, got engaged and then married, and then moved to Colorado.

But the dream has not disappeared. There is nothing I’d like to do more than be an author. To have books published. To tell other young women my story and share what God has taught me through the hardships I’ve gone through. They are not extraordinary hardships; they’re common ones. And that’s why I think my story would be so relevant and useful to other women.

I’ve hesitated to proactively go after this dream for a number of reasons. 

1. Every time I tell someone about wanting to write my memoir, I feel like so narcisstic. I ask myself, “Why is my story worth telling over someone else’s?” 

2. I’m scared that my dream won’t come true. I’ll put all this energy into writing and developing my manuscript, only to have it sit on a shelf somewhere, unread. I also wonder if this dream is just a selfish ambition or if it could really be in God’s will for me.

3. I’m working full-time and use that as an excuse to not devote time to writing. ‘I would have to quit work and only write for it to work,’ I think. But then what if #2 happens?

As I was doing my hair today, I was again wondering about what I should be doing with my life. Mentoring? Teaching? Volunteering? And I finally put 2 + 2 together: Writing is my passion. And writing is my gift. I should be using it.

1 Peter 4:11 says: “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace…in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.”

I should be using my gift of writing to serve the body of Christ and to glorify God. So I am daring to dream big and start writing, in faith that God will use it for His glory and purposes, whatever that looks like. Travis is starting grad school in January (God willing) so my plan is to write while he is going to class and doing homework. I will submit my manuscript and if no one agrees to publish it, I will look in to self-publishing. I am going to go for it…we’ll see what happens.