Set Apart is my story of how, during some of the most difficult moments in my life, God walked with me and gifted me with joy. For the past couple of years, I have felt a consistent prompting to put this project together, but I’ve struggled with:
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How will I find the time to do it?
Should I really share the WHOLE story – even the difficult parts?
Will I be able to honor the perfectly designed gift that is my daughter, while at the same time sharing my initial fear and heartbreak over her diagnosis?
My husband has always been so encouraging about my writing – always eager for me to bring to life various projects I have had on my heart. So when he encouraged me to do what I have always daydreamed about doing, I took him up on it. I would steal away to a hotel for an entire weekend of writing time! Yes, from Friday to Sunday I would have an uninterrupted span of time to get my words down on paper…well, onto a computer screen, actually.
Let me tell you, for this mama, driving away from my family to check into a hotel for the weekend was completely out of my comfort zone. In fact, leading up to my weekend plans, I experienced some anxiety about being alone with myself for three days. The way I feel about my daughter’s diagnosis no longer includes the initial heartbreak or fear, but honestly, I dreaded reliving January 2016. What was it going to be like to walk back through the emotions I felt at the beginning of this journey?
However, as I have spent the past several months praying over this project, God has repeatedly brought me back to the reasons why I wanted to share my story. One specific morning, it was as if He was speaking to me so clearly that it could have knocked me off my feet, had I not already been seated on the couch.
I was working through a Bible study: A Grand New Day by Thomas Nelson Publishers, and I came to Chapter Eleven: Your Beautiful Story. The lesson was centered around reminders of times in Scripture when individuals were unable to keep from telling what God had done for them and included a handful of different Scriptures:
I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord – the deeds for which He is to be praised, according to all the Lord has done for us – yes, the many good things He has done. Isaiah 63:7 (NIV)
We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard. Acts 4:20 (NIV)
Then came the study questions:
Are there people in your life right now with whom you need to share the beautiful story of what Christ has done in your life? If so, who are they? What’s stopping you from sharing?
Do you feel like the story of what God has done in your life is a beautiful story? Is there anything preventing you from your story?
Then came the challenge about the Israelites. (The Israelites and I have always had a lot in common, so this caught my attention.) God so purposefully wanted His people to remember all the times when He had been more than faithful to them. He longed for them to reflect on their past experiences in an effort to increase their trust and hope in Him….
Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the Lord your God: His majesty, His mighty hand, His outstretched arm…. But it was your own eyes that saw all these great things the Lord has done. Deuteronomy 11:2, 7 (NIV)
…and there it was. I almost fell over again! MY CHILDREN – they were not there to experience what I did in that doctor’s office…or in the car driving home in the rain…or in my tear-drenched bed in the dark of night…and I wanted to create something tangible that would point them to His goodness.
But there was someone else I had on my heart. I couldn’t stop thinking about that mama out there who has just had a difficult conversation with her child’s doctor.
I don’t know her, but if she’s anything like I was, she is grasping for hope that everything is going to be okay. I am convinced that somewhere there is a mom who needs the kind of encouragement Patsy Schmidt and Sipping Lemonade have given to me, and so for her, too, I write.