After much pondering I've decided I needed to share my story, along with my testimony. So, here it goes...
This journey started for me a year ago, December of 2014 to be exact. I'd been emailing back and forth with a publisher and editor who had taken interest in one of my manuscripts. After a long roller coaster ride things were starting to look like it might work out for my writing. My dreams were starting to come true. Yet, even with the possibilities ahead of me, I wanted conformation that it's what the Lord wanted for me. So I prayed to know if I should proceed down the glorious path of Authordom.
My answer was not what I had expected. The words filled my mind and heart, No, you need to stop writing for a time.
It felt as though my heart had been torn to pieces. Give up writing? Are you kidding? I loved to write. I spent at least 5 hours a day writing and constantly had ideas flowing through me to my fingertips. To stop?
I had to write to the publisher and editor and tell them I couldn't proceed with plans. I feel like I've blown to pieces any chances of signing with them.
Yet, I did as the Lord directed of me, because I knew His path would lead me to a better place. It wasn't easy... It isn't easy.
I stopped writing and focused more on reading my scriptures--well, not just reading, studying. My understanding grew and my husband and I were guided in our studies so we might be ready for things that we had no idea was going to happen not long after.
In February I received a strong impression in my mind and heart that I needed to homeschool. Holy cow was that ever a slap in the face. Homeschool? Are you sure? ME? I hated school and I'm pretty sure if I went on that show "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader" I'd flunk out on the first question. I hated the idea of homeschooling. But, I couldn't ignore what I felt. If the Lord was asking me to do something, he wouldn't leave me to do it on my own.
I started my research on homeschooling and within a couple weeks of that I received another shocker from my Father in Heaven.
I had just finished my morning prayer and scripture study when a great warmth and thought came over me. I knew without a doubt that we needed to move. The thought repeated itself over and over in my mind. Moments later my husband came into the room and said with tears in his eyes, "I feel like we are supposed to move." I replied with, "I feel that too."
Along with it we had a feeling of urgency. It took a week to de-junk our house, paint and make our house presentable. It was on the market for four days before it was sold and they asked if we could be out by the end of the month. Which gave us two and a half weeks to pack and figure out where the Lord wanted us to move. Two places kept coming to mind. Grand Junction, Colorado and Phoenix, Arizona. Since GJ was closer we decided to take a drive there and see how we felt about it. On our way down we both felt that GJ was the place for us, but we also knew we needed to rent. So we found a home to rent and moved our family. I began homeschooling and tried to get settled. When we began to unpack both my husband and I had another impression to not unpack. Naturally
we figured we needed to look for a home to buy in the Grand Junction area. We found a home up in the mountains on 18 acres that felt peaceful and gave us everything we ever wanted. We put an offer on it and started the buying process. A week from the closing date things fell through. I loved that place and didn't want to lose it, but it wasn't right. Yet had we not gone through that buying process a dear friend of ours wouldn't have gotten a job with the person who was doing our mortgage (that's a whole other story).
(Where we almost moved.)As discouraging as it was we had to move on and pray for months to figure out all the questions of what, who, where, when, how... we still don't have it all figured out, but we did start to get answers to some things.
Being away from family was difficult. During the summer my mom broke both legs in a car accident (don't ride with your feet on the dash) and not being there for her was torture. I had friends that needed me and things I was missing out on. I wanted to go home. Still do.
Again, Phoenix, Arizona repeatedly came to mind until we couldn't ignore it any longer. In September my husband traveled down to AZ for work and while he was there he looked at homes for rent. He came home with a few he liked so we prayed about them. Again the answer shook us. We needed to buy a home, not rent. WHAT? I did not want to live in Arizona for more than a few months. By the time summer rolled around I wanted to be back up north. I hate the heat.
I cried, but as I cried I felt peace fill my soul. The Lord was still there watching over us. He loves me and cares about what I'm doing. It felt like he was there, hugging me and understanding my desires to be close to my family and friends. I miss them all terribly and think of them constantly, but I know this is where I'm meant to be. I don't know why, but here we are, listening to Christmas music while it's 75 degrees outside.
Looking back on it all I now understand why the Lord asked that I stopped writing. Had I been engrossed in writing I would have been too distracted to receive the guidance I needed to be where I am now. I would not have studied and learned all I needed to know. My kids would not have grown to love prayer and scripture study because of the example my husband and I have set over the course of the last year. I would not have met some of the great people in GJ and I wouldn't have grown closer to my husband and children as I have. Looking back I wouldn't change any of these great and precious things for a published novel. And all of this doesn't mean I won't ever be published. I still dream of sharing my stories with all of you, but I will do it on the Lord's time. Whenever that may be. To tell the truth I'm scared to start writing again, because I found something more valuable that I don't want taking my time... a love of reading the scriptures and a relationship with my Savior. He is there for me. With everything that's happened and the things I've learned, I know He's there for me. And He's waiting for me to reach a little further, and further still.
One thing I've learned is FAITH IS POWER. I may lack complete faith, but His hands are stretched out still and He is always there to guide me.
I hope and pray that you may all have opportunities to grow closer to our Savior. But know this, with it comes heartache, without which you cannot know the joy. Without it you cannot know the Savior.
I love you all, and may God bless you.