I asked myself the unanswerable question for the thousandth time. After seven years of chasing a dream, I didn’t know the answer.
On my bedroom floor, back against the wall, I wiped my eyes and took a breath. I had a decision to make. From this vantage point, I perused the prior eighteen months.
First, a run-in with cancer.
Underneath these two unexpected impossibilities sat ongoing, day-to-day challenges: struggling teenagers. A broken church. Extended family drama. And the normal ups and downs of marriage, career and running a household of eight. My heart was spending more than I was bringing in.
If I couldn’t justify the expenditure, I wouldn’t do it anymore. It didn’t make sense. Each day carried enough pressure. Why add more? Why sit with my butt in a chair day after day, agonizing and birthing and second-guessing? Why bleed out in a blog post only to wake up at 4:00 am in a cold-sweat panic of writer remorse?
It’s crap! It’s all crap!
And why, why, why spend months—a year?—drafting a book proposal that I finally thought was THE ONE, only to hear from a publisher, again, that THE ONE wasn’t THEIR ONE?
I almost quit dreaming that day. The math didn’t add up. I had a life outside of writing and I needed to show up for it. Three teenagers who needed a strong mom. Three littles with gaping special needs. A husband with a booming business.
Not to mention, a house that needed cleaning. Roots that needed coloring. Houston, we have a problem.
Maybe it’s time to stop writing. Start living.
A valid question.
Unless the writing is part of the living. And the living is part of the writing.
Hidden within that niggling thought sat my why.
Why write? Because of how it helps me unravel life. Call it therapy or a paper cocktail, but every time I move the mess from my head to a page, I feel better. The fear and uncertainty and responsibility—it shrinks into manageable portions. God speaks in the untangling.
But that’s not all.
I write because of you. I write because of the woman who whispered, “I thought I was the only one” and the man who wrote, “You have no idea how much I needed to read this today.”
I write because I know how horrible it is to feel alone. And I want you to know you aren’t.
I didn’t quit that day, or the 357 days since. Thank God, I didn’t quit. I still ask the “why” question from time to time (this gig never gets any easier). Even so, I now know the answer.
I write for me.
I write for you.
Both to live. And to love.
It’s a good thing I kept going, found the answer to my question. On the other side of the doubt, an unexpected gift waited.
And, most of all, THIS.
A husband who believed in my writing before I did. Children who fill my bleachers and never stop cheering.
Thursday night, these ones I love circled our dinner table as I signed my first publishing contract—a TWO BOOK contract—with Zondervan.
As for all the behemoth reasons I nearly quit writing? The cancer and children and unexpected, unpredictable, unmanageable life?
They’re the heart of my first book.
Why write or hope or run after any dream?
Because when your back is against the wall, that place might become the best story.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. —2 Corinthians 4:16-17
A heart full of thank you’s to the the Zondervan team for believing in our story. You’ve given this weary family—weary writer—wings.