Words

I don’t want to think about how old I was at the time, because it was a very, very long time ago. And I don’t want to admit that it was Sister Act II that stirred me (even though I still have the soundtrack and love it), because I like to think I’m somehow impermeable to the shallow–to anything that swims at depths that require no more than a snorkel. It is what it is, though; it was what it was. When Whoopi Goldberg told her talented music student that what she woke up thinking about in the morning was that thing she was made to do, I knew that I had–I would die if I wasn’t–I had to write and to be a real writer. 

Somewhere inside me is someone so much better (and I mean more talented) than I have the time and energy–the focus, maybe, to be. She speaks to me in those early morning hours when I’m too tired to reach for a pen. Apparently, she requires much less sleep than I do. She preaches violently if not eloquently as I shower, but the revelation leaves about the time I stop dripping. I’m dry. When I wrote my first book, I wrote it quickly–rapidly–do or die. I wrote late at night and through the wee small hours of the morning. I edited while Dora the Explorer babysat loudly in the foreground of my 800 square foot mobile home. Dora, Dora, Dora… I was broken; yet, as I wept, even the oldest scars reopened and then truly healed. I had to share, and I didn’t want to forget it all before I had written it down. So I wrote,  and when it was finished, I hit “publish”. And then I mourned it. I allowed Satan to torment me over it. I had published my first book, and I still didn’t feel like a writer.

If you’ve read 31 Days to Lovely:A Journey of Forgiveness, I hope you’ve received it as truth. It’s just the Bible alongside my meek and simple life. It’s not flowery or overtly pretty. Truthfully, it’s not what I’ve spent the last fifteen plus years hoping my first book would be. It doesn’t showcase me–it’s not about me at all. Still, maybe I wanted it to be about me. I still want to be a writer.

Today, my book received it’s first bad–pot-shot filled review on Amazon. The words that everyone feels sure I can brush off  captured the depth of my secret self-loathing. It’s from there the melancholia is flowing. You see, Satan won’t knock on those doors that are barred and guarded. He slips through the open ones. He knows all about my writer’s envy, it comes from him, and how I have a hard time loving Ann Voskamp (I’m kidding, how could anyone not love Ann?!). But so what if my book lacks the polish I might have found through more time and maybe a little more solitude? What does it matter if my words are simply words and not prose? The message, if received, will change lives. I truly believe that. After all, it changed mine. That’s why He asked me to write it.

I’m writing this post to break my silence–to speak to yours. I’m writing to every musician who has slaved over a song and then flipped on the radio to hear something better. I’m writing on behalf of every mom who has baked and decorated a two a.m. cake only to discover Pinterest later that same day. I’m writing for every athlete who has given her all only to be beaten by superior talent. I’m writing to every ex-beauty queen who has manually lifted her aging face as she’s leaned a little too close to the mirror. Someone will always be smarter, better, prettier. And that’s OK, sisters, because we are not our gifts. We are daughters of the Most High God! What people think about us cannot touch that. What we believe about ourselves cannot touch that. But what we think about ourselves will effect that we do and in what ways we serve His Kingdom.

I feel silly, like I usually do, admitting tears because one of you doesn’t like me. Maybe, I hope, my silliness will help to heal yours.

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17 thoughts on “Words”

  1. I was changed!!! And if only ONE is changed then life is all worth it, right? :0) Not that it’s all about ME..ha! Quite the contrary … it’s all about how JESUS has touched; how JESUS has healed; how JESUS draws towards His beloved … and this will NOT be about that measley one that just doesn’t get it..doesn’t get you, Sarah. Love you!!!

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  2. My sweet, sweet Sarah…as you already pointed out, so many people stuggle with this, on so.many.levels. {shoot, it’s why I basically quit blogging and why I never comment, anywhere. And, I bet if you asked Ann, she’d tell you she struggles with it too 😉 }

    The truth is, you are one of the people so many look up to. I do not have enough fingers and toes to count how many of your posts about parenting that I have bookmarked and hope to kinda sorta, almost live up to one day.

    The road you have walked and continue to walk is one that He has planned for YOU and you are doing an amazing job pointing back to Him. I have never clicked off this blog and thought, “I really want to know Sarah more; she’s so cool/pretty/talented/funny, etc.” I HAVE, however, clicked off this blog, and thought, “I really want to know Sarah more; she’s such an awesome woman of God and I would love to be Mary to her Elizabeth” {Or Elijah/Elisha, except they’re dudes 🙂 } Don’t get me wrong, part of it is definitely because you’re all of those things and more; but ultimately, it’s because you convict and inspire the idea that I can be better. Do I ever read things and feel just a teensy bit guilty? Yep. Because I know I can be a better person for Christ. Lots of books/blogs bring that conviction; it’s one of the beauties of the internet. 🙂

    Unfortunately, along with that beauty comes this ugly side you experienced today; because everyone can have access to you, EVERYONE CAN HAVE ACCESS TO YOU. But this is the way I see it; if no one ever said anything negative, you wouldn’t be making such an impact in people’s lives. Satan is afraid of you and the work you’re doing. A huge number of blogs and books {mine included} don’t receive negative remarks because we’re not doing anything productive. A lot of people are living unbothered, uncritiqued, non-impacting lives. You, my friend, are making a difference.

    As for the book itself, I’m still saving up to have enough to read it 🙂 But I know that if you had written it at a different pace or even a different time {or, Heaven forbid, not at all}, then it wouldn’t be what it is. If it were the first book you had dreamt about, it wouldn’t be the first book it needed to be. It wouldn’t be reaching the people that it is reaching and changing the lives that it needed to change. You audience is as it should be, your message is at it should be. You were born {to write} for such a time as this.

    {And maybe it’s time I do a little more about what I wake up and fall asleep thinking about…{it involves being closer to you. A definite PLUS!} }

    Love you friend!

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    1. Megan, there you are! I feel like you’re my long lost friend! I couldn’t even reply to your comment last night because I was crying over it….your beautiful heart. Thank you so much for the encouragement you are to me! “If it were the first book you had dreamt about, it wouldn’t be the first book it needed to be.” I fully receive that today! 🙂

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  3. Thanks for posting this. It’s encouraging because I’ve been trying to remind myself that – you know what’s worse than a bad writer? A writer who doesn’t write anything at all. I know I have a long way to go to achieve a level of quality I wouldn’t cringe at. But what’s the point of worrying about that? Like anything else in life, you just have to do it, and practice until you get better. And ignore haterzzz on Amazon. 🙂 Anyway, how something becomes a part of your identity is a personal thing that will be different for everyone, so I understand why you might not already feel this way, but you have a wonderful voice and excellent grammar, and you DO write – which is pretty much what it takes to be a writer from my perspective.

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  4. You have a voice, a style, that is all your own, given to you by God. You wrote that book as it came to you, in your way. Women are being blessed! The “language” you speak and write is not the same language others speak, so they may not receive what you wrote. It does not diminish your words. Ug….I’m not coming through. A reader’s “reading” does not give meaning to or subtract from your work. God had you write that book to reach those who need to be reached by your style. …. I give up. Someone help me out here while I go get another cup of coffee.

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  5. I would give anything to be able to publish a book. It is my dream. One of the things I learned is that along with publishing comes reviewing. You will never get 100% Good reviews, and someone will always be motivated by sin……jealousy, greed, etc… Let it go, you were successful.
    Popular author, Dennis Lehane, who has had many excellent books turned into movies, released a new book this week and has been fixated on a bad review in a major newspaper. He is angry and hurt even though his book is getting excellent reviews all around. It is human nature.
    Your topic is so personal, which makes it even harder to bare that someone could be so negative. It’s your first book, you are growing and will get even better and better. The message is excellent, God shines through. You are successful!

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  6. You, my dear little sister, are truely a write rsimply because you write.
    And what you write will be read. Over and over again.
    You are a writer because you must write and unless you do, nothing else makes sense.
    You are driven to write. You were created to write. You are gifted to write.
    You write because you are a writer and absolutely nothing else will ever do.

    Your ‘simple’ discourse plowed through my own vain imaginations and burned through a faint, uncomfortable resolve to settle for second best; it revealed the ugly,carefully justified unforgivenesses that lurked in the corners of my ever darkening heart.

    If you had not written, I would yet be contentedly lying to myself and the world that I had conquered that sin which of course I had not conquered at all.

    But it has been conquered by He who is Worthy.
    And because He is worthy so are you, if you are His.
    Don’t you EVER forget it.
    Press on for the Mark of His Calling, brave sister – you dare not do anything less.

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  7. I think you are a remarkable lady! I loved your 1st book! I devoured it. I am still reading it. I read it over and over. God has been teaching me about forgiveness a lot lately. Everywhere I turned, whatever I was listening to, reading, there it was…forgiveness. Then you wrote your book. It was a blessing to me. I cried. I started understanding what God was trying to teach me. What He has said over & over, but I never “heard” it. It wasn’t really in my heart, if that makes sense. I had unforgiveness in my heart. Thank you Sarah, for writing what God layed on your heart. It was beautiful! It was healing! I pray that God blesses you in every way. Keep on writing. I love you!

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  8. You are so cute.. her comment wasn’t even that bad girlfriend.. but I am sure I’d feel the same way if I were you.. easier when you’re outside looking in of course.. but don’t sweat that at all!! You are amazing.. and have accomplished more in one month than many dream about their entire lives.. my husband has been talking about publishing his poetry since I met him in 2001.. but here you are.. thought it up and put it into motion in less than one season!!! You rock chica =)

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    1. Haha…I cannot even imagine a worse review! “Do not buy this piece of garbage!” would have been far less calculating and much less hurtful to me. Yep, six years into blogging and writing and my skin is still that thin. 😉 Thank you so much for your encouragement! 🙂 YOU rock! 🙂

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