Why I'm passionate about writing | July 2018

I've been writing for as long as I can remember. Writing has always been a way for me to express my feelings when I wasn't ready to express them out loud. When I was little I would turn a table in my room into a desk and spread out all my writing supplies. Pens, pencils, markers, stapler, notebooks, sheets of paper. I would take myself into the story that I was telling. One that I remember very vividly was a story about a group of neighborhood kids. One of them had a difficult home life, but when he was outside playing with his neighbors, all was well. I told myself that I was going to make a whole series about it. I wanted to be like Barbara Park (author of Junie B. Jones) and write stories that kids love to read. I was probably only 9 years old at the time, but my imagination was huge. At that young age I knew that I wanted to be a writer. Boy do I wish those stories were still around somewhere... Writing has been a piece of me ever since then. I went years without writing and sometimes I think that those difficult years could have been avoided had I leaned into my gift, but God had a perfect plan for an imperfect girl.

I'm so passionate about writing and encouraging others to write because I know the power that it has. When I was ten years old my dad passed away. The only way I knew how to deal with it was to write about it. It's weird because it's almost like I knew that I was going to try to block that day out, so I wrote about it before I forgot. I don't know where that writing is now, but I remember it. Because I wrote it down several times, I remember. I told my story about finding out that my dad died. I wrote about that day through a ten-year old's eyes. I remember that I wrote that story with a lot of anger. That was the emotion that I felt at the time. My dad was supposed to take my sister and I out for lunch and I was angry that it never happened. I wrote about my aunt, cousins, and family friend circling around me to tell me the news. I wrote about the long car ride afterwards. I wrote my interpretation of November 9, 2005. I don't remember talking about my feelings much, but I'll never forget about that two-page story that I wrote. It was my way of letting it out, and I was proud of myself for writing it. It didn't make my dad come back, but it made me deal with it.

When we write, we put things on paper that are too painful to say out loud in that moment.

Writing amazes me every single day. Writing makes my dreams come alive, it helps me connect with God, it reminds me that God's plan is always better than my own, it gives me many loving reality checks, and it helps me tell my story. Writing has a way of answering your own questions as you continue writing. It makes you realize your strengths and weaknesses. It gives you memories to look back on when you're feeling down. It reminds you of God's presence when He feels far. The cool thing about writing is that the paper listens. It sounds silly but think about it! When you're in a place where you don't feel ready to talk about something, writing gives you the opportunity to get your emotions out. You don't have to watch what you say, you don't have to dig for a response, you just write. When you're journaling, that's the key. Just write and don't hold back.

In March my husband and I suffered a miscarriage. I've been through a lot, but I think that was easily that hardest thing yet. I didn't want to see anyone, I didn't want to talk to anyone, I didn't even want to get out of bed. The question "how are you?" terrified me. I didn't have the words to say. I just had a whole lot of tears. I remember lying in my husband's arms one night crying so hard that I was about to throw up. I remember thinking "I'm never going to get over this. I'm going to carry this pain with me every single day". I had no idea how I was going to push forward. I did the only thing that I knew to do... I wrote.

I truly believe that writing kept me from slipping into depression. I couldn't even get my words together to pray out loud, so I wrote my prayers. That was the only way that I knew how to gather my thoughts. I wrote my prayers, my feelings, my pain, my anger, my sadness. I wrote things that were too painful to say out loud. I wrote without holding back. Fast forward four months, and I'm okay. Jake and I are okay. We made it through that extremely difficult time and we have hope. God has given us peace that I can't even explain. That doesn't mean it doesn't hurt, it doesn't mean that it went away, or that I don't still cry. It just means that I'm not living in that pain every single day. Writing helped me receive the peace that God had waiting for me. Writing helped me to not bottle those emotions up. If I didn't write about them, that's exactly what I would have done. Writing prepared me to talk about it out loud. Writing helped me talk about it with love and compassion rather than bitterness. I look back on my journal during that time and I can literally see myself healing week by week.

I'm passionate about writing because it's beautiful, it's empowering, it's healing, it's inspiring, it's more than what I can even explain.

Starting today, I want to encourage you to start journaling. It doesn't have to be a fancy journal. Grab a spiral notebook that you have around the house. Parents, I'm sure your kids have one in a junk drawer somewhere that they never used. Start writing! Also, you don't have to be sad to write. Writing is very powerful when you're sad, but it's just as powerful when you're happy! Writing helps you express your feelings, your gratitude, your dreams, your prayers. I could go on and on. Don't know where to start? Here's some examples: "Today I accomplished..." "Today I could have..." "Tomorrow I want to..." "God, I'm thankful for..." "I'm feeling like..." "The last couple of days have been..."

Start somewhere small and go wherever your writing takes you. You're more creative than you think. At the end of each month, flip back through your writing. Usually I see answered prayers, things that I need to work on, things that I accomplished, etc. If you're anything like me, you'll see that it really helps put things in perspective for the next month! Let me know how it goes!

Love you guys and thank you for always reading!

Shay M.

I'd love to hear from you!

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