by Catherine West
If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably a writer. You may be just starting out or have been writing for many years. You may be published or you may still have that dream in sight. But I bet you know one thing.
This is a hard road.
My favorite book is Gone With The Wind. I first discovered it as a homesick thirteen-year old wandering the musty maze of books in the library at my boarding school in the south of England. It was there I was introduced to Austen and Dickens and Tolkien, and eventually stumbled upon what had to be the biggest book my hands had ever held.Gone With The Wind.
As I approached our librarian, a fussy little man whose name escapes me, I felt as though I’d discovered the Holy Grail. He was not as impressed. “Are you sure?“I remember those words today as though they were just uttered. The insinuation behind them still smarts. I was too young. The book was long. I would never get through it, let alone understand it.
But I did. I read it cover to cover, every spare moment I had, and devoured every word. And Scarlett O’Hara was forever emblazoned in my heart as Margaret Mitchell was in my head, and I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.
Someone who never gives up.
Say what you will about Scarlett, Melanie fans, but you’ve got to give her this. She’s tenacious to a fault, yet she always gets what she wants. Well, perhaps not always. She didn’t end up with Ashley or Rhett, although I do take some license with the ending and envision her eventually reuniting with Rhett once she has finally grown into the woman he always knew she could be. But through every hardship and set back, she got back up.
And oh, that’s hard. Ask me how I know.
Once you’ve failed, what else is there? Once you’ve lost your dream, had it even and watched it slip away, perhaps through no fault of your own, do you keep trying? Can you?
Some days my answer is no. No, I can’t and I don’t want to. Because it’s too hard. And honestly, sometimes it seems pointless. How many times, Lord? How many times?
As many as it takes.
My friend Sandie Bricker passed away unexpectedly this past year. Many of you knew and loved Sandie. She was a bright light in our writing community. Sandie was not a quitter. She knew all about getting back up and she did it time and time again, and held out a hand to lift others up right along with her. She was full of fun and light and laughter and loved harder than most. She was a true champion and she loved Jesus.
Sometimes life is incredibly hard. Sometimes we don’t know what’s next. But I’ve found comfort in reading Sandie’s words. We would often chat over Facebook, and I still have those messages. And something she said spoke so loud and clear that I want to share it with you –
“It won’t help right now. But later when you look back on this conversation and how you’re feeling, you’ll think I’m a genius. Ready for it? … God has a plan for you. You don’t need to figure it out or know the details. All you need to do is put your gift to work for him, throw it at the wall and let him figure out which one will stick.”
How I need those words today. And everyday. We all struggle. We all fail. And sometimes we don’t want to get back up. Sometimes we don’t have the strength. But God does.
And thank God. Thank God for His strength and His grace and His love. Thank God for friends like Sandie. Friends who don’t let you stay down, friends who insist you get back up even if they have to kick your butt to get you to move. I am so blessed to have friends like that in my life. I was blessed to have her.
Have you had those moments where you’ve had enough? You don’t have the strength to get back up? Whether you’re there right now or standing on the other side, doesn’t it help to know you’re not alone? If you need a hand today, a prayer, a hug, let’s talk!
INSPY Award-winning author Catherine West writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or reading books by her favorite authors. She and her husband have two grown children. Catherine’s novel, Bridge of Faith, won the 2015 Grace Award.
Catherine’s latest novels are The Things We Knew (July 2016) and The Memory of You (March 2017), Harper Collins Christian Publishing.
Catherine loves to connect with her readers and can be reached at Catherine@catherinejwest.com