Hello sweet friends!
It has been several months since I’ve written a blog post. For my readers who don’t know, I’ve written a book. It seemed imprudent to be writing a blog post when I dedicated myself to finishing my manuscript. As it is now, we are a few short weeks from launch, so I am back on the blog!
I wanted to give ya’ll a little update about the book; it’s a memoir on my faith journey. I’ll tell you about my childhood, about growing up in the Message (Branhamism), about how I discovered it was a cult. I’ll tell you about how I left, about how I, as a then sixteen year old navigated leaving. As mature as I thought I was, I was a child, a child who’s foundation of faith had crumbled beneath her.
I’ll tell you how the Lord placed people in my wake just as I needed them. How he answered my prayers as I sought Him out. I’ll tell you about how he revealed himself to me – and I ran. I’ll tell you about my relationship with religion. I had to learn to dissociate God with the misconceptions I grew up with.
I’ve shared the story on my blog in little details. At the time, I felt embarrassed to share to those of you who have lived enviously normal childhoods in comparison because I was afraid you would judge me, think of me as a freak… (Silly, I know) but the hardest thing about sharing those blog posts was something else. It was knowing what I, in my mindset of 6 years ago would have thought about me now. For by that knowledge it would be safe to assume that other similarly minded people still in The Message would view me that way.
Ultimately after writing and rewriting my first blog post on the subject, I couldn’t escape the thought that my writing may help someone. One person. If it helped one person but slandered my name in the process – if I was misunderstood, or only half listened to – I couldn’t let those fears be a deciding factor on whether I posted it or not. What should be? Whether I was giving God glory.
So after months of praying about it, writing it and rewriting it I finally clicked publish. Then I started hyperventilating. I had a panic attack right then and there in the morning in my little 2 bedroom apartment. My roommate walked in carrying groceries. I tried to act cool. “I posted it.” I said amidst gasps.
“That’s so great! I’m so proud of you friend!” She knew the late nights I’d been working on it and had been one of my faithful friends who’d encouraged me and prayed for me on the subject. My phone buzzed.
“People are liking my post about my blog – they’re gonna go read it – AHH! A couple people from The Message just liked it – they’re gonna go read it! What will they think?! AHHH” My breathing was labored and my hands were shaking.
“Hey,” she said. “You knew posting this was what you needed to do right?”
“Y-Y-Yes.” I gasped.
“Well, then turn off your phone, I’ll turn up the music and lets make breakfast together. It’s gonna be okay.” She hugged me, and I turned off my phone. We ate together, prayed together and then finally I opened back up my phone.
I started weeping tears of relief. Messages of encouragement and questions from people who were half in the message/half out were flooding in. Several of my social media followers had left. Of course, but the blog post served the purpose it was intended for.
Now, I’m experiencing all those initial feelings I was when I was writing and publishing that blog post – only not as much as I anticipated feeling. If there was room for me to be misunderstood or misquoted in a blog post, there’s 30x more space in my book. Literally. My blog posts are close to 1000 words whereas my current manuscript is 35,000 words. If people want to misquote me – I’m giving them the ammo, and that should scare me to death, but it doesn’t.
Now It’s a month from launch (July 10th). Writing it was hard, but I feel peace about it. There have been hard days and I’m sure there will be many more, but I take comfort in the arms of the one who called me to write this book. Yes, it is a bigger deal than publishing a blog post, but just like that post helped some people, I trust this book would do that too, and thus be completely worth all my anxiety that comes with it.
I have to constantly be reminded of the fact that this isn’t for me. Publishing such a controversial book isn’t what I wanted my first book to be. I wanted a fantasy novel, or a sci-fi book (Yes PLEASE) and I may get the opportunity to write those books, but my first book had to be this. This book is not just me publishing a novel; It’s me holding out my hands to God and saying that I will boldly proclaim what He has done in my life. It is saying that I want Him to use my gifts for His glory, not mine. I am saying that I want what and who is on God’s heart to be on my heart too.
I poured my heart into the pages of my book, and I pray that God uses it for His glory, even though it may be hard, and I might not see the fruit of my labors right away – I know if it helps just one person in their walk with Christ; if it breathes hope into one persons life, all of this will have been worth it.
Thank you to all my loyal readers who are back on my blog reading this post after I’ve taken such a long break from blogging. Thank you to my friends and family who’ve been praying for me, loving me, encouraging me with scriptural truths, holding me accountable to my goals, and hugging me when I’ve given way to tears. I couldn’t have done this on my own, and I thank God for each and every one of you. <3