Wednesday, June 5, 2013
My love for writing began in Ms. Carlson's 7th grade Language Arts class. Every day she'd start the class by writing the beginning of a sentence and we spent the first 10 minutes of class finishing that sentence in a journal entry of our thoughts. Some kids hated that class. I hated every other class, but that one taught me something. I have thoughts. And I have a lot of them. My next personal revelation came in Mr. Marshall's 9th grade Typing class. Dude, I can type. And I can type fast. Mr. William's Creative Writing class my Junior year sealed the deal.
I spent most of my 20's trying to figure out exactly what to do with all of it. My creative outlets became long emails to friends and rhyming stories for our kids. In my 30's, I took the leap into Facebook world, tapped into my inner sarcasm goddess, and realized that the majority were entertained by it. The minority unfriended me.
So what do you get when you combine lots of thoughts, speed typing and sarcasm? You get me.
But, how does that serve any purpose whatsoever? People kept telling me I need to write a book. Well, that is easier said than done. After spending years submitting my work and receiving rejections or promises of "publication for a mere $39.99" scams, I gave up. Then a few years ago, my Aunt Joanie introduced me to the world of Blogging. I was scared to death. This would be a public forum. Strangers would read my stories. What if people hated them? Or hated me? So I built a few walls. To the best of my limited ability, I closely guarded the identity of myself and my family. Those who know me, know me. But to strangers who read this blog, I am Sassy, the mother of Z, A, K and C and married to "my husband." At least then, readers wouldn't know exactly who they hated, right?
I'm content with my little blog and I enjoy writing it. So when Mandi approached me last Fall and said she felt like I needed to try to get my work published, I explained to her that I've been there, tried that, and it's just not meant to be. Then she said she'd pray about it and I thought, "Well, good luck with that, but I doubt God has a use for a smart-ass-speed-typing-story-teller."
Shortly after that, I was cleaning out my email and noticed one from the Erma Bombeck group I subscribe to. The subject title caught my eye. 'Fifty Shades Of Funny.' My first thought was, that is awesome. My second thought was, I wish I'd thought of that. I clicked on to discover a request from the creators of the 'Chicken Soup For The Soul' series. They created a new series and needed stories. Not inspirational stories. They needed edgy stories. Stories that toe the line. Stories that would make people laugh while they cringe. Holy crap. They want my stories.
And so it began. I started revising, editing and submitting my stories and a couple months later, in a complete state of shock, I was signing contracts for two of them.
As you might know, God sends a song to me every now and then. I'd no sooner signed the 2nd contract when He started sending 'While I'm Waiting' by John Waller. NO! Not the waiting song! Come on!
I knew then that I needed to sit back and get comfortable.
Months went by.
Last Tuesday, I received an image in my mind of a hot air balloon and was struck with a realization. I'd spent most of my life tethered to the ground where I thought it was safe. I was tethered by fear, insecurity, conflict, worry, the inability to forgive and the need to control everything. And God reminded me of the journey He's had me on these past few years and the painful process as I finally allowed Him to start releasing the tethers that were tying me down.
Last Wednesday I skydived. I flew through the air under no control of my own, but in a literal leap of faith, blindly trusted the man attached to me who was the only one qualified to control the situation, and I came as physically close to feeling God as I've ever felt in my life.
That's when I decided, Lord I want to fly! I trust you! Lead me wherever you want me to go!
Four days later, I received official word that my first story will be one of the collection of stories published and released September 10th in the 'Not Your Mother's Book On Parenting' edition. God handed me a gift. A gift I didn't do anything to deserve. A gift that quite frankly, I do not deserve. He didn't give me this gift because I love Him, but rather because He loves me. He just waited until I was ready to receive it.
This time, God utilized the seemingly useless strengths of someone like me and again, all glory goes to Him. He revealed exactly how Romans 8:28 works...'And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and who have been called according to his purpose.'
I have these stories because I live these stories because God allows these stories because He created me to tell these stories because He knew that these stories would someday serve a purpose in His will for me...and just maybe make someone laugh...or better yet, cringe.
If this part of my journey ends after this one story is published, my dream came true! If God opens more doors after this story, I'm ready. What this past year has shown me is that no matter what it may be, if God doesn't want it for me, then neither do I. All I know is that I'm not tethered and I'm certainly not the one in control. I trust the only one who's qualified. Where He flies me, I will follow. That's what I know. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy the ride!
I'd be remiss if I didn't thank my husband and children for providing the never ending supply of material that makes up our stories. I wouldn't trade our fun and adventures for anything in the world.
Thanks also to everyone mentioned above who played a role in this crazy dream of mine.
And many thanks to all of you, who take the time to read this blog, and your encouragement as I wait and see what God has planned.
One last thing before I go and this terrifies me, but I've learned something else this year, too. Sometimes God wants us to get a little dangerous. And sometimes He needs to break down a few walls. So for those who don't know, please allow me to introduce myself.
Hi. My name is Shari. I'm the wife of Ron. I'm the mother of Zac, Aubrey, Kearstin and Caymen. But first and foremost, I'm the beloved daughter of the King Of Kings.
Ready or not, Dream on.