I have been working and re-working a manuscript for about two years now that chronicles my life as the survivor of a failed abortion attempt, my search for my biological family, my search fo self/meaning/purpose in my life and in my ministry, and my life and work as a Christian and pro-life speaker and writer, mother and wife. I think that I have finally focused my writing exactly where it needs to be, but I will let you, the reader, decide. Here is the introduction to my manuscript, Ablaze: Becoming Who You Were Meant To Be and Setting The World On Fire:
“If you are what you should be, you will set the world on fire—-St. Teresa of Avila
Like most, I have spent the greater majority of my adult years searching for myself, often in the pages of a self-help book, Christian or secular that it may be, hoping that maybe, just maybe, this time I would find myself within its’ pages; that maybe, just maybe, this time I would learn a new tip or tool or step that would help me to unlocking my “power within.”
In the late 1990’s, I was keenly focused on the psychology of the mind, probably because that’s what I was studying in college at the time, and I was not so much focused on my spirituality. (As you will later read, I certainly should have figured out that while my inward focus in and of itself, was a positive, my focus on solely my head, and not my heart and soul, likely only perpetuated the problems that I was already experiencing).
While the new millennium ushered in many new changes in the world, and even in my own life, with a new focus on social work and counseling in my employment and academic studies, my emotional and spiritual wounds had expounded in just a few years from mere scrapes and cuts to gaping holes in my heart and soul.
I’m not going to try and pretend that even then, when I was spewing with spiritual sickness, when I was tormented every night with recurrent nightmares, when I was stricken with insomnia, various physical ailments and weight gain, when my behaviors bordered on obsessive and compulsive, that I got “it.” I didn’t. Not for another good 10 years did I get “it,” but I tried. I tried the best that I knew how to heal myself, from the inside out and discover what I was meant to do and who I was supposed to be. I was a counselor at the time, and although I knew that even counselors needed counselors, I wasn’t ready to listen to someone else tell me what I already knew, what I already told the people that I served in counseling. I knew what I needed to do, I just needed to do it (or so I thought).
With a positive nod from Oprah, I read Gary Zukav’s Seat of the Soul and Heart of the Soul, expecting a sudden spiritual transformation. As the years progressed, I moved back and forth between secular works to Christian works, from popular books to the obscure, hoping and praying that I would experience the same life-changing transformations that so many others that I heard about had experienced themselves.
I don’t want it to sound all negative, however, because my search for self and meaning, and my eclectic reading repertoire had its’ positives, too. Each book that I read, each new theory of self-searching and purpose-fulfillment that I studied had a positive impact in my life, although most were incredibly short lived.
I won’t deny that many of the books that I’ve read over the years were, in fact, quite helpful to me. Pastor Rick Warren’s A Purpose Driven Life truly changed my life, and was my first step in truly recognizing God’s pre-ordained purpose for me and my life. Elizabeth George’s A Woman After His Own Heart, although it is not particularly about life’s purpose per se, brought me even closer to God and challenged my in every area of my life-as a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, in my ministry and work, to be patterned in the image of the Lord, and to likewise, see God’s image in everyone I met and treat them accordingly. The Secret, although rather New Age and secular in its nature, drove home to me the power of positive thoughts and feelings.
As I look back over the last 15 years of my life, my trials and tribulations, my spiritual and emotional challenges and growth, the amazing transformation that my life has undertaken, I wouldn’t change a thing. One could say that I wasn’t reading the right books to fit my needs. One could say that maybe I just wasn’t ready for what I was reading, or maybe I wasn’t open to it. Heck, one could say that what I really needed at the time was a good therapist! Whatever the argument, I believe that my search for myself in the pages of self-help and inspirational books was meant to roll out just the way that it did-this was God’s plan for me. Nothing in my life has ever come simply and easily, and although searching endlessly for yourself for over 10 years is an arduous process, it is also an incredibly fruitful one.
Ablaze is a compilation of the fruits of my labor over the past 15 years; a compilation of what I learned about becoming who you were meant to be, of my own personal experiences as I “figured myself out,” as I grounded myself deeper into relationship with the Lord, and how I’ve set the world on fire as a Christian speaker, writer, pro-life advocate and witness to Christ as a result. I hope that you find in this book something that was missing for me in all of the books that I read throughout my journey of finding myself and uncovering God’s intended purpose for me–how to set the world ablaze with all of His glory as a result. So read on and blaze on, my fellow Brothers and Sisters, blaze on.