Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Coming soon to The Heart Speaks...

Join me throughout the month December for daily Advent devotionals. Follow me or join this site to receive these posts daily in your inbox. Let's prepare our hearts for this Christmas season, and let's prepare the way of the Lord.




Blessing you,
Cheryl

Saturday, November 7, 2015

My Longing

It was just a week ago that I was in the mountains. I want that week back! I've been sick every day since and I'm ready to be well - fully well. 

I learned some things in the mountains; some things about myself and I'd like to share one of them with you here in this not so private setting. It's okay. I'm hoping that this small glimpse into my life will inspire you or motivate you to share your journey with someone else who may need the encouragement.

I went to the mountains for a retreat - one I had attended before. The only difference was in the very first session I started crying and that continued for much of the weekend. Just one question started it all. 

"What have you been longing for?"


It was a simple question, true enough, but I had no idea how deeply it would impact me.

I knew the answer immediately. No soul searching. No time alone needed. The answer had been at the forefront of my mind all year long and it began with this - words on a page.

I've been writing since I was 13 years old. That's the year I realized I could put words together and people would be impacted. With much encouragement and lots of red marks on an assignment from my eigth grade English teacher, I won some awards, received some pretty big recognition and decided writing was what I was meant to do. I've never let go of that call but I've not always fed it or been disciplined about it until recently.

I'm not sure what happened, but this past January I decided to take my writing seriously. For most of my life I've known I would write a book, the form of which I'd not determined until just a few years ago. Then last year, I just stopped caring about compiling a life's worth of excerpts into one bound work. I'm not sure why or what prompted that shift but being published couldn't be further from my mind.

All that mattered was saying something; something of worth, something that would impact lives.

So this year I decided to really write and to say something that mattered. I have to admit this scared me somewhat because my writing has always been so sporadic - a post here, then maybe months later, one there. Yet somehow I had the feeling that this wasn't just me becoming more responsible for the words I shared. Something in me was stirring and not by my own hand.

Over the past eleven months, I've started a weekly devotional blog, I'm a regular contributor to a web site, a guest contributor to another, I've written an Advent devotional for a web site and just this week was asked to write another. I've also written a Bible study I'm currently teaching but which will wrap up this week, and that against my own "better" judgement. However, I don't think I'm done with this study. Or maybe it's not done with me.

All this in just a year?

Many wouldn't see the wonder in all of this but then they don't know my life or know me. I write because I like to, not to amass a following or to see my name in print.

Numbers, counts, followers and all that stuff that seems important when you are a serious writer, doesn't mean a thing to me. My worth, my significance as a writer or a person comes not from how many people actually read what I've written. Thankfully, that's been firmly established in me for years. I know it "matters" when youre doing it for profit or working towrds getting published, which is why I guess it's good I gave up on that book idea. I'd really suck at showing a following since I've not put any effort into that!

I've been very selective about what I add my name to because I've never been good at following the crowd. I tend to take the road less traveled. So if everyone else is jumping on some bandwagon, I'll go search for the wagon train that's not yet left the station. What did everyone else miss that maybe, just maybe my curious eyes might see? 

Afterall, I just want to write and not only that, but remember, I want to say something that will make a difference. This means I'm willing to wait for times when the words seem as though they'll burn a hole in my chest just to see the light of a page. In other words, I won't write on demand just to keep up a schedule.

I've written so many words, oh so many over the years and spoken more than I should've. Where did they all go? I tremble when I think of the impact of some, and I'm okay to let that sit with me for a while becuse I know how important words are and the damage they can do. I don't want to forget that. 

I'm not sure why this year has been different. I know I've been driven by an impulse deeper than I can speak of, to be careful with the words I write. (Still working on the ones I speak.) There is an urgency in me to speak truth, hope, life and encouragement in a world where cynacism and critical jargon seems to make the front page in most of the arenas in which we live. Why do we allow that? Just a question I've been pondering.

Now especially since my influence has expanded beyond what I've created, be it ever so minute, the words I pen matter deeply to me, and I think they matter more to the One from whom the inspiration flows. He put that urgency in me to make a diffference. Writing is just one of the ways He's encouraged me to attempt it.

It's funny how life weaves meaning into menial tasks, gifts and single breaths. 

Whatever gifts we have, whatever tasks we put our hands to, every breath of every day, it all has purpose tucked inside simply waiting to be exhaled. At times we catch a glimpse and then there are seasons where its fully exposed, unavoidable for the one meant to embrace it. I guess you could say I'm there. At least with this one thing... Praying, hoping and trying to make a difference with this gift.