The Emerging Story

In third grade, I won a writing contest with my short story, Monica’s Broken Arm. It was my first indication that I might be good at what I loved most: writing and storytelling.

As I grew as a writer and a young woman, I explored many genres and disciplines. But one thread wove through all my efforts and experiments:

God, please give me a story to tell. I don’t want to write a beach novel, a book that women will take with them for mindless reading on their summer vacations.  I want to write something with meaning, something that matters.  I want to write something that will build community, something that will bring people together to know each other more.

Recently, I found this page from my journal, December 2009. Here is what I wrote:

“Holy Jesus, you reign. I rejoice in your sovereignty and I delight in your grace. O, how you love me. Lord, I know you have given me words. You have given me things to say, read, and write, and the skill to use them carefully, efficiently, and productively. I give all my words to you. Please use them. Whatever you put before me, I promise to do the best that I can. Whatever you put before me or inside me, I will bring glory to you with my words. Thank you for the ministry you have given me, as I write.”

One year later, my husband died, tragically and suddenly, two days before Christmas. Overnight, I became a widowed single mom of two little boys who were not yet in kindergarten.

In this rupture of my world, a story emerged.

Yes, it is a story of grief, loss, single parenting, and deepest heartache, but this is also a story of hope, bonding, laughter, overcoming the worst, and getting up again the next morning.

Certainly this isn’t the story I intended to tell, and I won’t say that God allowed my husband’s life to end so my prayers could be answered. But I do wonder if perhaps it happened the other way around: God planted the desire in my heart, so that when such tragedy struck my family, I would know how to respond: to keep writing. In the horrible days, the easier ones, the loneliest nights, and always in honesty.

Robb used to say, “She’s going to be a successful author, and I’m going to retire early.”

Well, the plan looks different than we thought, but it still happened as he said. He retired early. And now I’m writing books.

In my words, may people find hope, grace, courage, and the tools to walk with someone through the valley of greatest tragedy to the sunshine on the other side.

As I asked him, God has given me a story to tell. How is he using your gifts and answering your prayers in ways you had not expected?
For more of Tricia’s story, please visit her at www.tricialottwilliford.com.

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12 thoughts on “The Emerging Story

  1. This year marks the 4 year anniversary since God spoke to me through Habakkuk…(I know…I was thinking the same thing???) to write for him. It has not looked at all like what I expected and I’m still questioning the process. My story continues to both baffle and amaze me. On this anniversary, reading your post has made me realize I need to ” just do it!” How many women out there need to know my story of God’s amazing love in the deepest of valleys? Thanks Tricia! You have inspired me to get move forward.

  2. It’s wonderful how God uses trials in our lives to bring about His purposes! I began writing seriously after my mother died a few years ago. It started with memoirs, and moved on into children’s books. It is extremely healing and fulfilling…praise the Lord!

  3. I agree that God does not place tragedy in our lives to produce things, but He does place the desires of our heart. I bet God placed the desire to tell a good story so that you would be comforted in your time of loss. As I learn more about Him, I realize He really has us covered and cares so much for us – answering our prayers in surprising ways.

  4. Hi Tricia! Thanks for the moving post! I LOVE how you committed your writing to God from the beginning. And I love how He’s using you! I checked out your website, and all I can say is… I’d love to meet you some day. Maybe the next time I visit my sister-in-law in Denver, I’ll check out the Greenhouse. : ) God bless you in all you do!

  5. Trisha, I’m so blessed to be connected with you at WordServe. After I found your blog, I clicked on your original blog and read “Final Hours.” My heart still aches from the words I read … such a powerful story! Blessings to you and your boys!

  6. Tears in my eyes. What a powerful message flowing from your heart. Not only am I inspired, but I am humbled. None of us knows what the next few moments may bring, but some of us are blessed to trust that God knows, and is willing to turn our ashes into crowns of beauty. He is certainly doing that for you, Tricia — and the world is better because you are willing to share it.

  7. I have had many tragedies in my life, many people ask how I can keep going but God has been there through it all. I have much to draw on and many stories to tell. God is good and He uses the things we go through to bless others. God bless you.
    Glenda Parker

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