Sunday, August 16, 2020

Returning To My Gift

It has been almost two and a half years since I've written in this blog. It has been the same amount of time since I've really written anything, except for Facebook posts and greeting cards. These facts do make me sad.


For those of you who know me, and to inform those of you who don't, writing had long been my passion. I started writing this blog regularly after becoming ill, losing my job, and going on disability. I had always enjoyed writing, but once I had hours upon hours of free time to fill up, I realized that writing was not only an outlet for me, but a way that I could help others through what I was experiencing and learning in my chronic illness journey.

This blog mostly started off because of my health journey but it became so much more than that, hence why I titled it Thoughts and Ramblings on Life, Love, and Health...a title that I am actually considering changing, but that would make complications for me since the blog title is on my book. The jury is still out on that!

I started this blog in 2010 and was very dedicated to it.The more I wrote about chronic illness and autoimmune disorders, mostly Sjogren's, the more I heard from other patients about their experiences. It was at that time that I felt moved to get word out into the world about how much Sjogren's was misunderstood and misdiagnosed. So I spoke with many of the patients I had come to know and their stories gave birth to my first and only book, Tales from the Dry Side: the Personal Stories Behind the Autoimmune Illness Sjogren's Syndrome.

Several years after the book was published, I stopped writing, completely. People asked me why I wasn't blogging anymore and I kept telling them I had lost interest. And when I told people this, I meant it. I had absolutely no desire to write or put my thoughts and feelings out into the world anymore.

Deep down, I knew there was more to it than that. For example, my last blog entry before today was a story about my dog, Molly, who was like a child to me and died at the age of 15 years old. Her death, and my post about her death, absolutely wrecked me. 

After her death, I had several painful surgeries, followed by long recoveries and we almost lost one of my stepchildren. Shortly after Molly died, we were in a position where we needed to take in another dog, who was not living in good circumstances, and desperately needed a home. That dog, Foxy, subsequently suffered many serious health issues during a majority of her time with us and ultimately died a short two and a half years after we took her in. 

A relative passed away, my health deteriorated, and I made a major decision to leave a church I had been a longstanding member of and I not only changed churches, but went to another church home that was in most ways, the opposite of where I came from. And, I did this alone, meaning without my husband. I guess in many ways, I felt the need to turn inward, to self protect, and to be in survival mode.

However, not too long ago, there was a week where on three separate occasions, the topic of finding and recognizing my spiritual gifts came up. I think the first time might have been during a sermon at church. We're in a pandemic. I lose track of a lot of things! The second time was definitely during a church related class that focused on finding and using your spiritual gifts. That grabbed my attention like a lightning bolt. The pastor was talking about worksheets we were given that would help us find our spiritual gifts. Immediately, writing came into my head. While I do believe I have other spiritual gifts given to me by God, that was the one that overtook my brain. and it was in that moment that I realized how much I missed writing and how much I was wasting this God given talent...not because I'm some amazing talented writer who has perfect grammar and what have you, but because I write in a way that makes people think and more importantly, helps people.

The third thing that happened in that span of time was that my therapist asked me during a session why I don't write anymore. I explained to her about not having the desire to write, etc. But then something in me stirred and I knew I should share with her how I had been feeling about the writing issue. So, I finally did.

Because let's be honest, it wasn't about not having the desire to write. My therapist and I had some good conversation about this and all the underlying junk that went with it, a lot of which I mentioned above. She encouraged me to not worry about blogging and just write for myself and eventually I did, in a journal. I found this process helpful in identifying much of what was holding me back: thinking I wasn't a good enough writer, feeling "less than" compared to other writers, being sick of hearing about, and writing about, Sjogren's, for so long feeling too vulnerable to put myself out there, and the fact that the person (and hence, writer) that I am now looks quite different compared to the writer I was over two years ago, especially from a spiritual perspective. I was afraid of judgment. There's this big part of me that wants to write about my faith and Jesus, but I'm so afraid of getting it wrong.

So I spent a lot of time in prayer about all this and I did more journaling...just for myself. I had never written for myself; it was always for other people. What I came to realize is that the gift of writing that I have been given is not for me to ignore or take lightly. It is a gift to be used and shared. I don't need to beat myself up over the time I didn't use this gift; it was a season. But now, it's time to move on to a new season and I hope you will come with me through it.

If you are a reader of my blog, thank you for being here. I do ask for your patience as I found out when I logged in to write this post, that my blogging platform (eBlogger) had completely changed almost everything about the platform. I cannot even find spell check right now. And, when they made the changes, all the formatting got messed up. I guess that means I'm just going to have to work a little harder at it.

Also, thank you to the people who gently kept encouraging me to come back, most especially, my very supportive mother and my ever patient husband. I love you both.

9 comments:

  1. So so glad to see you blogging again! Congratulations Christine!

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  2. Welcome back to blogging Chris! I know you will make a lot of people very happy!

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  3. Welcome back! :) That is the wonderful thing about the page, it always waits should you wish to return.

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  4. Hi Christine,
    I too got tired of blogging. Then the pandemic hit and my mind just is void of clear thoughts right now.
    I just logged into my blog. There is a feature that you can find near the bottom left of your stats page. It gives you the option of reverting back to the old platform. I don't like the new platform at all, it's missing so much. So I switched back. I hope this helps you.
    Hope you're feeling wellish! (Of course I wish for you to be super well)
    Amy

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  5. Hi Amy, good to see you again! I hope you’re doing well too! Can you send me the link to your blog again?

    Unfortunately, I needed help from Google so I had to sign up for G Suite. Once you do that, you can’t go back to the old version. Plus, you have to pay $6/month, which is not a big deal except for the fact that I’ve gotten nowhere in fixing the problem(s).

    I appreciate the information though. I did see that when I first signed back in. I should have just gone with that.

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