Sometimes I think about how much fulfillment I’d miss experiencing if I only ever did what I wanted to do.
Fact of the matter is, much of what has brought the most fulfillment to my life are things I didn’t necessarily want to do.
Writing a book is one.
My family could testify to how emotionally difficult the process was. No doubt, I knew it was going to be hard. It’s why I avoided it for so long and then found every single thing to do under the sun besides that very task I knew I was called to do. If there was laundry—no worries, I got it! If there were dishes—don’t mess with them, I’ll do them! I even stayed on top of having the ironing caught up for crying out loud! I did anything, anything to keep me from being able to work on that one project. Until I felt the Lord nudge me with this:
“Heather, I called you to do this. I entrusted you to do this for other people hurting like you were.”
You see, this story goes back. It goes back to December of 2014 when I had scar tissue tear on my back. It wasn’t healing—a decreased-tissue-perfusion problem. Tissue has to have good blood supply to heal, and when it doesn’t have sufficient blood supply, well…it doesn’t heal. So, there we were in December of 2014, heading in for a skin graft. Bummer. Surgery and a hospital stay right before Christmas. Beautiful. (No, not really “beautiful.” It was my dad’s sarcastic word and it just seems fitting right about here.) This put me getting home sitting on the couch with one of my dearest friends who left her family to come stay a few days to help out around my house. Can we get a “hallelujah” for amazing friends?!
There we were sitting on the couch when I said, “I have no earthly idea how we’re going to get Christmas done this year. I haven’t bought one thing.” That is when my friend introduced me to the beautiful blessing of Amazon Prime and that is the very first year I bought every single gift online. It cultivated a new approach to holiday shopping. One I’ve implemented every year. For real. I’ve been queen of online shopping. Love it!
After all those presents were purchased, the packages started arriving. I had help getting the boxes on my bed, then shooed the children out of the room, closed my bedroom door, locked it, and with paper, scissors and tape in hand, began the process of wrapping each gift for Christmas morning. Magical, right? Not really. I was hurting. Pain has a way of dampening the moment. And then I started having a smidge bit of a pity party. I’m not inclined to pity parties, but I have to say, I’ve caved to them every now and again.
In efforts to shift my mental state out of feeling sorry for myself, I started praying. I started thanking the Lord for all those presents I had to wrap.
“Lord, thank You for all these boxes I have to wrap. You blessed my life with Brandon. I never knew someone would love me like he does and I’m so grateful to have a husband to wrap presents for. Thank You for Brooklyn, Jaron, Caden and Gavin. I feared I would never have them, and you gave them to me. Thank You for fulfilling my dreams. You gave me all I ever wanted and now the story is done.”
It seems like a strange prayer. Especially the end. But I spoke it. Every box on my bed was a representation of everything the Lord had given me. It was the greatest ending to my story of tragedy, loss and pain—a pain I was experiencing in that very moment.
However, no sooner had I whispered, “You gave me all I ever wanted and now the story is done,” did these word crash over my heart:
“Yes, Heather, I gave you all you ever wanted and now the story’s just begun!”
Tears flooded my eyes and rolled down my cheeks. I walked over to the dresser where I had a notepad and jotted those words down as quickly as I could.
That was where it started, this process of writing my memoir.
That is when I knew that being a good steward didn’t just apply to my home, my vehicle, my finances and my career, but also to my story.
The Lord is writing stories on the pages of our life and He is entrusting us to use those as He provides those opportunities.
It may not be a blog or a book or a speaking commitment. Sometimes for me it looks like standing in a hospital room with a NICU family. Sometimes it looks like sitting at my favorite breakfast spot with a friend. Sometimes it looks like having a quick chat in the checkout line or a conversation on the cross-country course. The point is, the Lord entrusts us to use the places we are, and those where we’ve already been, for the benefit of others. It’s really not about us at all, but about how He works in and through those sentences He's writing in our lives.
There’s so many more stories I have to share from the journey through writing this memoir. In the weeks leading up to the release, I would be delighted if you would allow me to share them with you as we consider the things in life that we might not necessarily want to do, but nevertheless have such great purpose in our lives and the lives of those around us.
Please join me again for the next behind-the-scenes story of my upcoming book, Transforming Tragedy.
I cry out to God Most High,
to God who will fulfill his purpose for me. Psalm 57:2 NLT
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