This Christmas, during one of those precious and rare moments alone with my son, he asked, "Mom, how's your writing going?"
I gave my man-child several excuses why I hadn't written lately. But, finally I confided the real reason. "The truth is, I received a scathing email that has made me cautious, even reluctant, to write. You understand..." And, he did.
We discussed why people lash out, as well as the proper response we should have to our attackers. Then, my son finished our conversation with these words, "Mom, you need to keep writing!"
These words, a priceless gift from the child I raised, have stayed with me. You see, I want to write. I long to continue to share lessons and stories about marriage, parenting, and living life the way God teaches us to in the Bible. Instead, the first words of a stranger's email to me, "I really have a hard time understanding why you think you have anything to say to women," have caused me to doubt myself, and to pull back from the very work I feel called to do.
Please trust me when I say, I am not writing this post to solicit sympathy or feedback. Although to be honest, after I first received the note, I begged God to confirm His will and call upon my life. And, that is when I was reminded of the reason I decided to start a blog in the first place.
It happened while flying some 30,000 feet in the sky, when a young woman seated behind me, tapped my shoulder, and asked if she knew me. Several minutes later, we figured out we exercised at the same gym. After that, we chatted about our travel plans. She was on a business trip, and explained how hard it was to leave her husband and children. Then, I explained to her that I was traveling to speak to two women's groups the following day.
"What are you speaking about?" she asked, and listened attentively as I shared with her the talk I had prepared to present on the topic of marriage, a message near and dear to my heart.
This young wife and mother then asked, "I really need to hear your message. Do you have your material written anywhere?"
I had been asked that question before, but this time the words were like a dagger in my heart. Then and there, I knew it was time! Although, I didn't have the courage to write a book, I decided I would start a blog. A place where I could send anyone who asked me that question again. Thus, upon returning home from that trip, my blogging journey began.
Now 6 years later, as 2016 begins, I have determined to stop listening to the voice of a stranger who thinks I need to "get a life," and to remember the words of my son, "Mom, you need to keep writing." And, to remember as well the voice of a young wife and mom, "I really need to hear your message. Do you have your material written anywhere?"
Dear reader, as you look ahead to the new year, whose voice will you listen to? Who have you been listening to? Is it someone who throws doubt and confusion into your life? Someone whose words cripple you from moving forward in God's will and call? Will you choose with me to listen to those who speak truth and life? Can we agree to choose to remember those voices that have lined up with God's will and call for our life? For me, I will choose to write! And I wonder, dear friend, what will your choice be?
May God bless you abundantly in the new year ahead! May He send encouragers and truth tellers into your life! May you speak, hear, and listen to words that give life!