I’m taking a Life Coaching class right now online with Liberty University. I’m less than 80 hours away from my Bachelor’s Degree (I’ve been out of High School almost 11 years now, so it’s about time). I have to say, I thought Counseling was what I enjoyed, but this Life Coaching class has rocked my socks off. My homework assigment for last week was to write a 10 Year Letter…a letter to someone important to me outlining all of the things that I envision happening over the next ten years. The purpose? To write freely and help you figure out what it is that’s buried deep down in your heart.
For whatever reason, I felt led to share it with you. Maybe one of you out there in cyber space world is trying to figure out what you want out of life. Give this exercise a go. I had a blast with this one. And it absolutely put things in perspective for me.
Ten years ago I wrote you a letter. Gave you a list of goals and ambitions and hopes for the future. It’s time we discuss that letter. When I sat down to write it, I was a crossroads in my life. One where I felt like I was simply doing all the things that were “expected.” I was working a job that I hated and spending more time on the social media sites wishing that I was doing something else. I was scared to take the plunge. I had Holley Gerths’ “You Were Made for a God Sized Dream” inspirational calendar on my desk. The quote for June 19 was…
Life is risk. There are no guarantees. We need to also ask ourselves, “What might I lose if I don’t do this?” Usually those answers are more subtle but just as essential.
Life is Risk.
Not life is A risk.
It IS risk.
A lot of people would say that there’s no difference between those two sentences. That the “a” in there doesn’t matter.
But it does.
Because you always here people say to “take a risk” when they expect you or want you to do something bold. But that’s the point of that quote. Life itself is already risk. Waking up and getting out of bed is risk. Getting in the car to drive down the highway is risk. Drinking a cup of Starbucks coffee is risk.
So what’s the purpose of sitting on my butt and continuing to push this dream and ambition that has been on my heart for an eternity to the back of my mind like it doesn’t exist? There isn’t one.
If life is a risk already, why not take another one?
So I did.
I had my heart set on writing. That’s all I have ever wanted to do. I remember when “A Walk to Remember” by Nicholas Sparks hit the big screen. I thought to myself that that had to be the most amazing feeling in the world (aside from salvation) to see your words brought to life. (Granted, Hollywood typically ruins the book with theatrics, but nonetheless…)
Words have a way of impacting people. And that’s what I wanted to do.
So I started brainstorming. I had loads of ideas for books and stories, but never knew which one to pursue. And in truth, I really felt more like all of my ideas had already been done. So, I prayed. I journaled. I watched the world around me until one day it clicked and the words were there. It took me four months to write my first novel, and another six months or so of editing and then what seemed like an eternity until the book was printed and sold in stores.
I’ll never forget the first time I walked into the Barnes & Noble and saw my name on the cover of a book, sitting with the hardback new releases.
I cried. I cried like a baby.
You were one of the only people to ever truly believe that I could do it.
Which is why that first book was dedicated to YOU.
Book number two didn’t come as easily. I actually had my second book idea turned down. That was hard for me. I thought maybe I was a “one hit wonder” and that I had just spent another two years of my life wasting time when I should be doing something else. I felt a lot of anger at that time. Both of my children were hitting adolescence and things at home pretty much remained on edge. I felt a lot of frustration toward God and really began to think he turned his back on me. That he was done with me. I stopped going to church and fell into a trap of isolation. But…he met me there. About 8 months before I submitted my second book proposal, we had made the decision to adopt. We didn’t hear anything for what seemed like an eternity. Then all of a sudden, there it was. The phone call came that said they had found the one. The daughter we have never had, but soon would.
Looking back now, I know that the reason that book proposal fell through is because we had to bring her home. Fresh and new and abandoned by her mother at only a few hours old, she brought me back to life. She brought US back to life. And we have never looked back. Had I been on a book tour, I would not have been the mother she needed. But God knew better. He always does.
All of that to say that it’s been a crazy, but wonderful ten years. There were good times, as we had hoped. And there were bad times. Really bad times. Losing loved ones, falling flat on our face, and dealing with what seemed like a never ending string of attacks by the Devil himself.
But we did it.
We overcame it. And we beat the odds we never thought we could beat. The odds no one else seemed to think we would beat either. But we did.
So here’s to the next ten. We will see what comes…