As an elementary school student, I loved to write short stories for assignments in class. While others saw writing as a difficulty, I found it to be an enjoyable task, something I looked forward to. In fourth grade, my teacher taught us how to write poetry, and I fell in love.
Through my middle school years, I started writing poems and fictional short stories based on real life events. Little did I know that writing was my outlet. I didn't quite understand the power and value in being an introvert who doesn't like to talk through much of anything, I just knew I found pleasure in writing.
As a high school student, my teachers praised my writing and encouraged me to write more. I found I had a way to take writing to a deeper level than most of my peers. I took all the honors and college level writing classes offered to me, but my Creative Writing class was by far my favorite class in all of high school, even above my beloved Spanish class.
In college, I loved how every class syllabus included at least one piece of writing as an assignment. I poured my heart and energy into those papers, which always helped my grade come up in the classes that I struggled a bit more in. They were also a way for my teachers to connect with me and see the depth of my learning, since I was always that introvert that rarely spoke in class.
I continued writing in my post college years, but never in a public way. I wrote because writing brought me pleasure. When we started our adoption process 8 years into our marriage, someone suggested I start a blog for others to follow our process. So I did. And for the first time, anyone who wanted to could read what I'd written. No more living in private. I wrote poems. I shared intimate thoughts and feelings as we trudged through a long, tedious process. I opened my heart on the screen.
Almost a year and a half later, our adoption crumbled, along with my world. An adoption failure is humiliating enough, but failing so publicly on the blog was almost more humiliation than I could bear. I wanted to run away and hide, but instead I continued to bleed my heart all over the screen and let everyone watch me grieve. What started as an adoption blog for people to follow our process turned out to be my outlet to grieve without having to talk it out. If anyone wanted to know how I was doing, I just sent them to the blog.
Over the next year, God worked miracles that ended up leading us to Colombia, after all, to meet Julian after he turned 18. Somehow blogging through my grief merged into blogging about our unexpected journey to him, leading me to turn it into a book. I can't tell you how thankful I am for having written such a detailed, intimate blog of our adoption pursuit, failure, and grief so I could include all those details in the book.
Over the year following that book, God continued to work miracles, and my blog soon transformed into an adoption blog all over again, documenting our progress through a second adoption attempt. With such detailed and intimate documentation I used it as a reference to write the second book that finally brought Juan home to us. By this time, I'd joined a local Christian writer's group that helped my writing grow in ways I never imagined. I loved finding a group of people just like me that found pleasure in writing and actually valued an honest critique.
After submitting the manuscript to the publisher, I changed focus and started writing guest blogs as a ministry to other women while I waited for my second book to come out. I gained so much momentum and enthusiasm, as well as training and preparation from my writer's group. I envisioned taking my writing to a whole new level and writing in a much more public and consistent way, finding ways to encourage and challenge other women in their faith.
The second book finally came out in April, and at the very same time, my writing enthusiasm and energy came to a screeching halt. When I should have been pushing myself to find new ways to self-market and spread the word about my books, I shut down. Burn out? Post-book depression? Tired of telling my story over and over? Drained from opening up my heart and soul in such a public way? Insecurity? Frustration over a small number of reviews when I'd been promised so many more? Spiritual warfare? On-going depression and grief from losing both my beloved kitties at the same time as the book came out? All of the above? I really don't know.
I broke all the rules of book launching and actually backed away from the computer and social media for awhile. I figured a rest might do me some good, as well as a vacation and a few weeks of summer. Then I took advantage of some personal coaching from one of the best, one of my biggest writing heroes. I took all her words and suggestions to heart and tried to pour my energies back into it, checking off as many of her ideas from the list as I could. But rather than finding pleasure in typing words, my stomach started to churn at the thought of sitting behind my computer. Anxiety began to creep in when I even considered writing out some type of spiritual lesson with a story behind it. Rather than using the momentum I'd gained in preparation for the book launch to get my name out there, I felt like curling up into a ball and hiding from the world.
I no longer wanted to have a blog for strangers to follow. I wanted to go back to writing about our life just for close friends and family, no one else. I watched other new authors from my writer's group embrace this new adventure, securing interviews on television and radio stations, doing facebook live sessions, hosting book contests, writing weekly newsletters, gaining more and more followers by the day. That life suddenly had absolutely no appeal to me. I wanted my quiet, private little life and my introverted lifestyle back.
I'm thankful for God continuously reminding me through others that He has things He wants me to say in a way that He created me to say them. Like the encouragement from a friend recently saying how a certain chapter really influenced her to start her days out with God first. Or a phonecall from a stranger saying how my first book completely changed her, getting her back in to the Word so much that she craves it now. Or a fellow blogger who told me to keep writing at least something because I really do have a powerful story.
I don't know what's going on, all I know is this is the first time in almost six months that I've even been able to put these thoughts and feelings into words. I've always taken pleasure in writing, but when writing has a complete opposite effect on me for the time-being, I have to just take a step back and wait until the words come flowing back.
In the meantime, I will share pics of our family events whenever I find the time. I know God has more for me to write, but for now, I will just focus on enjoying every aspect of life with my family without stressing myself about how I'm not writing or interacting with the world as a writer. When God gives me a story to tell again and the time and stillness needed to write it, I will be sure to share it here.
- I am a wife, daughter, mother, bilingual teacher, poet, author, women's Bible study teacher, world traveler, orphan advocate, and an adoptive mother. Our adoption journey has been filled with a lot of hurt and loss, along with even more hope, grace, and healing. Through it we have experienced more of God than we ever bargained for and have watched Him miraculously redeem our story when we surrendered all the broken pieces to Him.