First, I'd like to thank Mike for the idea to write this post. I'm not one to just come out and talk about myself or my life, but his suggestion to write a post about reflecting prompted me to give it a go.
I know from firsthand experience that when you read about someone who's accomplished something or is going somewhere, a small part of you tends to think they had it easy. I don't know why – everyone's had their struggles. But we think that they had to have had it easy, because there's no way that someone with so many challenges could have done that.
Well, they can. So here is my full introduction to all of you, and a brief rundown of my story before I get to being grateful. Because you really have to know a person before you can truly understand them (or at least that's what I feel).
I'm 19 years old. Yes, that's probably considered really young for someone to be attempting as many things as I am. But I never did act my age. That, along with the fact that my Dad's job had us move very often, left me with very few friends my age while growing up.
So I turned to books. They became my passion from the youngest age.
After about a decade of reading, (and about a half decade of being a Christian), God decided to hand me my calling – Writing.
Fourteen, typical teenager, and more interested in reading fiction than doing anything that was related to schoolwork.
And I was supposed to be a writer?
God's plans were bigger, and yes, I became a writer.
Reflecting over my journey, I am amazed that I can say I am a writer. None of it was easy, and there was a lot that I have overcome since the first day he gave me the thought to write:
First, I was a kid, and my worst subject was English. Yes, I was the writer who hated writing. But God overcame that and gave me something that made me end up loving every part of it: fiction. He knew I hated it, but He made me love it. That alone I view as a miracle.
I'm a scatterbrain. I don't know if you can tell that by the way I write, but up until the book I just published, I have never finished ANYTHING (Seriously). Yet He was faithful and guided me to actually finish one, and start working on a second.
My life is a little... crazy. :) I'm the oldest of 8 kids, and like I said, we moved a lot when I was growing up. The day I was given the mission to write, when I was handed the idea for a novel, I was sitting in the back of a rusty van with my family running errands. In fact, during the first couple of years, that was where I got most of my writing done: In the back of the van filled with seven brothers and sisters.
And yet, God still kept the passion within me, and still let the words flow despite the, well, noise :)
And I am grateful
The greatest thing I am grateful for, as I reflect back over my writing life, was God Himself, and just how much He has shown me that I can do anything through Him. Even be a published author and blogger at nineteen (Which I think will forever shock me). His ways are higher than our ways, and I would never have predicted this in my wildest dreams.
Number two is my parents. I can never be thankful enough that they never doubted me or told me that my dreams were just pipe dreams. The minute I told them I wanted to write, they were right behind me, and still are.
While writing The Hidden Soul, my Dad helped me by giving advice for the plot and characters, (from the POV of the reader). My Mom literally sat there for hours helping me go over the final draft and make sure there weren't any typos. That is more than I ever could have asked for, and I can never thank them enough.
And third, I think, is that I am grateful for the failures. Yes, it seems crazy, but yes, I am. I am grateful that I fell, because it taught me so much.
For example, I had a publishing deal. Self-publishing, but it was a pretty big deal for me. (It was about a year ago). I thought I was ready, God knew I wasn't, and it fell through. But that experience taught me so much, and I've matured because of that and so many other experiences.
And the greatest part of that was that every failure, every experience led me closer to God, and when I look back at myself before I became a writer, I realize just how much I have changed. And I see the fingerprints of God all over it.
And I am more grateful than I could ever, ever express that I am a writer. And I thank God I am.