On Mission for God, Part 4 ~ The Birth of the Call

At a recent Mission presentation at a local recovery meeting, I spoke about how my call was birthed while praying in Spain last summer.  But the seeds for Celebrate Recovery (CR) in Spain were planted two years prior.  I was flooded with emotions as I prepared for the presentation and pieced together all of the events and circumstances that led me to this time in my life.

Starbucks SignThe First Meeting

Friday, October 7, 2011—I sat in a Starbucks coffee shop meeting Marvin and Lisa Klein.*  They were missionaries from my church who were serving in France.  We had never met before, although my children had donated to their mission years ago when they were in Sunday school.  The Klein’s were on sabbatical for one year in the States.  They were forming a leadership team to launch Celebrate Recovery at my church, heard about me and my experience with CR, and asked to meet.

I knew going into this meeting that the ultimate intent for the Klein’s was to get experience so they could launch CR in Grenoble, France, their new home.  I told the Klein’s about my Spanish connection with Pedro, the exchange student who stayed with us the previous two summers.  I told them about my desire to visit Spain one day to meet Pedro’s mother Rosa, and their family.  I told him a bit about our family’s story, which at that time in my life God was calling me to write and have published.

Marvin told me that I would one day share my testimony in France.  I was flattered, and excited about the prospect, but only took him half seriously.  I was more interested in sharing the story in Spain.  However, with a Protestant population of only 1%, it seemed that would never happen..

An Education in Religious History

It was after that meeting that I started to get an understanding of the spiritual climate in Spain.  I didn’t realize that the Protestant Reformation had never made it to Spain.  I heard from some that any church outside of the Roman Catholic Church was considered a cult.  Those were shocking words to me.  I had a wonderful relationship with my Spanish family.  We had a mutual acceptance of each other’s faith—Catholic and Protestant.  And in fact, it was our faith that bonded our families with the painful passing of Rosa’s and my mothers, who were both practicing Catholics.

After those conversations I never really considered that CR would ever launch in Spain.  I just knew that I would someday visit Spain and meet Rosa.  Marvin and I went on to serve together on the team that launched CR the following year.  The Kleins’ returned to France in preparation to launch CR at their home church in Grenoble.

Reformation Map

Since that time I’ve studied more about the Protestant Reformation and the history of the Church in Spain.  I also experienced the difference in the spiritual environment firsthand while traveling there for six weeks last summer.  All of this eventually (and quite unexpectedly) led to the mission in the fall and the partnership with Marvin to teach CR in Rivas, a suburb of Madrid.

Expanding the Call to France

I had originally hoped to visit France last summer and give my testimony in Grenoble.  When that didn’t work out, I gave up the thought of ever going to France.  One year later, the Lord has made provision for me to speak in Grenoble.  And I don’t know any French—now that is scary!

As further confirmation of my call, Marvin is working on the French translation of my published story, “Walking my Mother Home.”  I will be providing complimentary copies of the novella to members of the Kleins’ church when I speak there later this month.  That is very exciting news indeed!

The view from the Klein's home in Grenoble, France.

The view from the Klein’s home in Grenoble, France.

The seed for planting CR in Spain (and my speaking in France) was planted when I met the Kleins’ at that Starbucks in Redmond, WA, three years ago.  It had to lie dormant before it could germinate and see the light of day.  On October 7, 2014, exactly three years later, Marvin, Lisa, and me will all be in Madrid, and have plans to celebrate at a Starbucks there.

It just goes to show that you never know what door God is going to open next or how He will use you or your story.  I’m learning to never say never, and to dream BIG, because God is always bigger than my never.

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. (Matthew 17:20, NIV)

Only 3 more weeks until I leave on my mission!

Only 3 more weeks until I leave on my mission!

Mission Update

I’m so grateful for the continued receipt of donations for this mission, including an offering when I spoke at the local CR meeting.  I’m sharing the call again later today at the PLCC Mission Board meeting.

I’ll be stepping on Spanish soil with my French missionary partners one month from today, so it’s not too late to support this mission.  In fact, now IS the time to help put me over the top in my fund raising goal of $3,000.

To donate to the Celebrate Recovery mission and plant new seeds of hope into France and Spain, click here.  To be added to the list for prayer updates, fill out the contact form on my site.  Thank you so much!  Every little bit helps.

*For more information about the Klein’s and their ministry in France, check out their latest missionary newsletter.

Reflections on a Writing Journey

This week marked the 2-year anniversary of the release of my story, “Walking My Mother Home,” in Journeys to Mother Love.  It passed without any promotional fanfare.  Except for one or two friends, I didn’t even mention it in passing. However, as I age, these sorts of milestones seem to carry an emotional marker that internally surfaces and causes me to pause and take note of their significance.  So naturally, as a writer, I am writing about it…

Toasting to the release of Journeys to Mother Love, August 2012.

Toasting to the release of Journeys to Mother Love, August 2012.

So You Want to Write

I could tell you lots about what I learned in these past two years about publishing, yet I’ve only scratched the surface myself in my knowledge. I know the dos and don’ts and the ins and outs of blogging, social media, etc.  However, I don’t read much about it anymore. (Michael Hyatt and Chip MacGregor are two of my favorite publishing bloggers.) Instead I have turned my attention to helping and encouraging others in their writing and blogging quests.

Each published author has a very unique story to tell of how they got their first book published—all fraught with rejection and perseverance, and generally being at the right place at the right time. I’ve written about my journey into publishing on my site in the past. (Check out the “My Writing Journey” category on the right sidebar.)  Today I’m sharing with my readers how this journey has affected me and why I continue to pursue my writing and publishing dreams.

In sitting down to write this post, a quote by Louise DeSalvo came to mind, from her book Writing as a Way of Healing:  “ …if you want to write you must follow your desire to write…if you want to become a writer, eventually you’ll learn through writing—and only through writing…if you want to write and don’t because you don’t feel worthy enough or able enough, not writing will eventually begin to erase who you are.”  I wrote about this quote back when I started writing in a post called, Why I Write.

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Why I Write

Back then, I did struggle to feel worthy or able enough to write. I can vividly remember my first Christian writer’s meeting I attended with a good friend who was further into her publishing journey (and is now published). It was a bit intimidating to attend that meeting (3 years ago next month), meet authors, and share the intense call I felt to write. The other pre-published and published authors were very encouraging and helpful.  So I just dug right in, starting my blog (also 3 years ago next month), buying writing books, subscribing to writing blogs, and becoming a member of the writer’s association, NCWA.

Now writing is an integral part of my life.  I CANNOT NOT WRITE.  I consider it my ministry for others (my 12th Step—giving back), but it is also a way I embark on my own self-care.  Along the way, my writing has helped to ground me in my faith and to claim my identity as a Child of God.  My writing has given me a voice that was long ago minimized and criticized, and it has prevented the ‘erasing’ of who I am.

If you’ve followed me along my blogging journey you may note that there are times when my writing may not seem very inspirational, directly point people to Jesus, or have a purpose other than to document what is on my mind or going on in my life.  Regardless, I am a Christian writer—and sometimes it looks like I am a writer who just happens to be a Christian.

stand-and-share-your-story1

After three years, I see most of my life through the lens of a writer; and I love it.  It has given me opportunities to regularly write for other venues like my publisher’s site, JourneysToMotherLove.com, and the ministry site where I serve, CelebrateRecoveryOnThePlateau.org.  This summer I added guest blogging to the mix for ChristianMommyBlogger.com and UnomaNwankwor.com. (Unoma is the Christian fiction author I met at Pedro’s movie premiere.)  I serve as the editor/blog servant for Reclaim Ministries.  And finally, my writing also gives me a front row seat to Pedro’s pursuit of his music dreams in the film industry.

So I am continuing to write.  I haven’t given up on my dreams of publishing the full-length book, Emerging From the Cocoon (tentative title).  At the moment I’m too busy living the sequel (title unknown) and watching as God heals me or others on my path.  Most assuredly, the sequel will include my Spanish connection.

Journeys to Mother Love Turns 2

And what about my story, Chapter 8 – Walking My Mother Home, in Journeys to Mother Love?  In a nutshell, it remains the foundation of my message, my healing, and why I write.  It was my first born baby and my love child.

This second year hasn’t been about marketing and selling it so much as it has been about sharing the story in the right context.  And sometimes it was about giving it away to people who made an impact in my life over the years.  My story continues to be a vehicle for me to show others the love of our heavenly Father and how when we embrace healing and forgiveness, Jesus turns it into Hope.

Having said that, I’m happy to announce that I will be giving it away in bigger ways very soon.  But the details of that announcement will have to wait until another time.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a gallery of authors and recovery contacts who recently acquired my book while in LA. My hope is always that my story inspires them as their writing and teaching has inspired me.

Thanks to everyone who has purchased my book, written a review, sent me a personal note, subscribed to my blog, liked my Facebook page, or supported my writing through prayer and other means.  It has meant the world to me.

God has turned my healing to hope…just like He will yours.

Fellowship Fridays Featured Post & Book Giveaway

Earlier this year I decided to start adding my posts to ‘link-up parties’.  Link-ups are opportunities for bloggers to share their writing to a wider audience of readers with similar interests.  I’ve noticed that some bloggers share their posts on lots of sites every week.  I personally don’t know how they do that.  It’s a lot of work–if you follow the rules–which include linking to the host blogger’s post, reading other posts on the list, and writing a comment related to the post.

Link up partyAnyway, I chose two sites that most closely matched my faith values and also exposed me to good writing from Christian women.  One of those sites was Christian Mommy Blogger (Fellowship Fridays).

A Welcome Connection

A few days ago I got a welcome email from Julie at ChristianMommyBlogger.com.  My post from the previous week so resonated with her that she chose to feature it on her blog.  Her email in turn connected with me as she referenced attending the Triduum services at her church during Holy Week–something I’ve also done for the last few years.  And so a kindred spirit was found online.

Sometimes all it takes is that one connection, that one opportunity to reach out to someone, to risk being known, and to be vulnerable.  It’s not an easy thing to do.  When I do, the rewards can be great.

Featured Badge CMB 1Julie’s decision to feature my post made my heart leap for joy because I knew that God was giving me confirmation to keep blogging.  He also reminded me that my call to write is not about being featured this week or maybe next.  It is still for an audience of One.

Last week Julie was blessed by something God laid on my heart to write.  Who knows who it will be next week.  Maybe it will be you.

Fellowship Fridays Feature Post 

Here is an excerpt from Julie’s post:

Today’s featured post is Holy Week, Holy People.  It was written by Ardis Nelson and posted on her blog, Making Me Bold.  She linked it up last week on Fellowship Fridays 18. As I read it, all I could do was nod my head as I received in her written words, confirmation of what was preached during the Good Friday service at my church.

On Good Friday, I was brought to my knees by that stark brutality with which Jesus’ humanity was assaulted in a failed attempt to blot out his divinity.  In the sermon, our pastor sought to make sense along with all of us of this hugely incomprehensible sacrifice.  And he said, “Jesus could follow through with God’s will for His life because Jesus knew who He was and he knew whose He was.”

Identity.  Purpose. Faith.

Just as Jesus had those and they enabled Him to lay down His life for us; we have those to help us work out our faith in the here and now.

When I read Ardis’ post this week, I was nodding because she touched on identity, purpose and faith in her post.  Read it! You’ll be so glad you did!  When I got to this sentence in her post, my eyes just welled with tears: “As you enter into these last few days of Holy Week, remember who you are, and whose you are.”

Just as the pastor’s words struck me on Friday; Ardis’ words echoed and confirmed that sentiment for me.  As I hope it does for you!  And I think Ardis’ words will stay with me not just in the echoes of the Easter season, but all year round. Some would call this a coincidence; but as Ardis told me in a message: Coincidences?  I think not!  God is good to align these connections for His will and His ways.” 

I couldn’t agree more! It’s not a coincidence! It’s not a coincidence even that you’re all here reading this post.  And it’s not a coincidence that you share the love of God with others through your blogs and through your lives.  Thank you Ardis for sharing this post and touching our lives in this way! Read more about Ardis here. And check out her book, Journeys to Mother Love!

Journeys To Mother LoveEnter to Win

In honor of Julie’s selection of my post on Christian Mommy Blogger, I’m giving away a free autographed copy of Journeys to Mother Love.  Comment below or in the comments on my featured post, Holy Week, Holy People to be entered in the drawing. You can also ‘like’ my Facebook page or subscribe to my blog (in the right sidebar). One entry for each that you do–up to three entries total.  Entries close on midnight PST on Sunday, 5/4/14, just in time for Mother’s Day. (Shipped only to U.S. addresses.)

A Love Letter to Mom & Annual Tribute

I’ve come to annually mark the passing of my mother by writing her a letter.  This year I was at my annual winter scrapbooking retreat amongst friends—just like I was the day before I got word of my mother’s passing in 2011.  Again I was working on my mother’s tribute album.

Tribute AlbumSetting the Stage to Write

Three years later this scrapbook remains part of my healing process as it retraces my steps before and after she died—the visits back home, meeting with her health care providers, making end-of-life decisions, giving her eulogy, and burying her remains.  It is the visual story that was eventually published in Journeys to Mother Love.  It is a beautiful tribute album—not necessarily for others’ eyes, but something between my mother and me.

This year the anniversary letter was harder to write than last year.  After my arrival at the retreat, I was told that Wanda, the woman who has organized and run these retreats over the years, wasn’t going to be joining us.  Her husband who suffered with Parkinson’s had taken a turn for the worse and was put on hospice.  His end of life was very near.  It hit us all by surprise, and gave us an opportunity to privately lift her in prayer and share our own feelings about this sad turn of events.

Final goodbyesFor me the timing hit too close to home as our discussion turned to end-of-life decisions and the role women often provide in caring for our loved ones.  On the outside I was listening to the conversation, but in my mind I was back at my mother’s side caring for her at the nursing home on one of my visits back home.  It was as if my bittersweet memories from before were now being lived out by Wanda and her family.  Sadly, her husband passed away a few days later.

Embracing the Grief

It was in that context of grief, that my letter to my mother freely flowed through my fingers to the keyboard, and with it a few well-earned tears.  I know my mom can’t physically answer my letter, but something tells me she’ll find a way to let me know she received it.

Below is an excerpt of that letter.  I hope it inspires you to do the same for someone you love—past or present—and let your healing turn to hope.

Mom and kidsA Love Letter to Mom

“Dear Mom,

I admire your perseverance. You lived a long life. Fate hit you a terrible blow when you suffered your nervous breakdown at the age of 35, and me as well, when I was six. Our journeys to emotional healing both started that day.

Now 48 years later I am approaching mine in a new way, with a different battle plan in place. No more white-knuckling it. I am choosing to take medication (for my ADHD).

…Anyway, Mom, the point of all this is that your passing put all of the pieces together for me to even consider this route for me, and for my son (who also has ADHD).  I am now an advocate for him.  I am an advocate for myself.  I am learning more about ADHD and how to help both of us.

I don’t know what lies ahead for us as we journey down this road on medication.  I don’t know what it was like for you.  I’m saddened that I never got to talk to you about any of this.  I’m saddened that I didn’t get to know you as an adult.  I’m saddened I didn’t really get to know you.

But I wanted you to know that as horrible as your life was for so many years after the nervous breakdown, the divorce, in and out of mental hospitals, etc. that it has served to help me to fight for myself and my son now. I am more open to trying and exploring how I can lead a more normal life with the support of medication.  I am taking back control of my life and my emotional health.

So I thank you Mom for not leaving me a legacy of mental illness.  You left me a gift that I get to integrate into my life.  That gift is the gift of perseverance and hope in the Lord through all things. 

I know what I am going through is important and life changing.  I know there are many others like me who have also suffered in silence as they lived in the shadow of mental illness.

I love you Mom.  Thank you for persevering to the end and giving life back to me in the process.

Love,
Ardis”

Peace to you and your family Wanda, from your scrapbooking sisters.

Peace to you and your family Wanda, from your scrapbooking sisters.

Updated 6/1/2014: Wanda’s husband passed away a few days after the scrapbooking weekend. Through a sad turn of events, Wanda also passed away a few months later. Remembering Wanda is the tribute I wrote to our dear friend and scrapbooking mentor.

This post is listed on Christian Mommy Blogger/Fellowship Fridays and Missional Women/Faith Filled Friday.

A Tribute to Mom, Part 2 – Her Final Gift

This week marks the 3-year anniversary of my mother’s passing. Last year I shared her eulogy on my blog. It continues to be the post with the most hits (interest). I am sharing it again to commemorate the sacrifice my mother’s life became for me. May it inspire you to turn your healing into hope.

Making Me Bold

When I started writing for a public audience, I knew that many of my initial writings and journal would potentially become published.  They were the basis for much of what I wrote in my story “Walking My Mother Home”, published in “Journeys to Mother Love”.  One year after the acceptance of that story by Cladach Publishing, and to mark the anniversary of my mother’s passing,

View original post 1,518 more words

Not Just Another Wives’ Tale

The year was 1983.  It was a very memorable year for me.  I got married, my husband graduated from chiropractic college, we moved to his hometown back in Illinois, bought the family home, and started his chiropractic practice in the rural town of Sandwich, Illinois.  It was an exciting and stressful time in our lives.

Activator MethodsThe Chiropractic Wife

While studying for the CPA exam, I was also working with my husband to build his practice.  I was learning about chiropractic, how to navigate the ins and outs of insurance billing, and how to manage the front desk operations.  Unfortunately I didn’t pass that exam, and I took it more than once.  I gave up my dream of being a CPA and caught my husband’s dream.  I became the typical chiropractic wife—devoted to chiropractic and to my husband’s business.

For the early years of our marriage we led a blissful life, working long hours to build the practice and traveling across country to chiropractic conferences.  His second year out of chiropractic college, he decided to change from the more traditional manual (hands-on) adjusting technique to a more gentle technique called Activator Methods.  From that point on he has devoted nearly all of his patient treatment to the Activator technique.

30 Years Later

We no longer live in Illinois, and I no longer work for my husband, but have done so at varying times of our marriage.  We live in the suburbs of Seattle, Washington where my husband started another practice based on the Activator technique.  He is an Advanced Proficiency rated doctor.  Way back when my husband started using the Activator technique I knew that someday he would be up front teaching.  Someday is here.

My husband, Dr. Curtis Nelson, teaching at the Phoenix Activator seminar.

My husband, Dr. Curtis Nelson, teaching at the Phoenix Activator seminar.

I am so proud of my husband and the platform teaching role he now holds in his profession.  (He has been an assistant teacher for many years.)  His new teaching role started last spring.  Last month, I got to travel with him to a conference for the first time in years.  I wasn’t the typical chiropractic wife, but I knew it was time for me to step back into the role of wife to my husband, who just happens to be a chiropractor.  The timing couldn’t have been more God anointed for me.

Weekend in Arizona

A chiropractic couple we’ve known for those 30 years recently moved to Seattle and is starting over with a practice here.  The husband, Dr. Ed Shepherd, has been teaching at Activator conferences for years.  So we joined the Shepherds for a weekend trip to Phoenix where the men taught and the women played.  My friend Cheryl and I explored the Red Rock Country of Sedona one day and the Chihuly Exhibit at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix the next.  Breath-taking views abound.  The heat reminded me of Spain, but the views were definitely the Southwest.

Cheryl and me on the way to Sedona.

Cheryl and me on the way to Sedona.

On Saturday night, spouses were invited to join the teaching doctors for dinner with the co-founder and CEO of Activator Methods, Dr. Arlan Fuhr, and his wife, Judi.  I was torn.  I wanted to explore Sedona and have a leisurely dinner with Cheryl.  Cheryl, who works with her husband, wanted to return to Phoenix and join the chiropractic dinner party.  Sedona would have to wait until another trip.

When seated at the dinner table, I had the unexpected honor of sitting closest to Dr. Fuhr (aside from his wife).  An introvert by nature and not up to date on the status of the chiropractic profession or advances in Activator, I felt a bit awkward.  With a heart for Spain, I asked him about Activator in Europe, and specifically in Spain.

Dinner with the Fuhr's and the other chiropractic instructors.

Dinner with the Fuhr’s and the other chiropractic instructors.

I was surprised to learn that the Fuhr’s were on their way to Madrid in just a few days.  I was even more shocked and excited to hear he was teaching Activator to the first chiropractic graduates in an accredited program in Spain.  Naturally I brought up my summer travels to Spain, and in time, how my story in Journeys to Mother Love is connected to Spain.

In God’s Timing

By the end of the weekend, Dr. Fuhr had an autographed copy of my book in his hands for him and Judi.  It brought a tear to my eye to give away this copy of my book.  I know it landed in good hands.  I know it is an indirect expansion of my Spanish connection.  I know it was not coincidence at this point in my life to have this encounter.  It felt like a kiss from Above.

Dr. Fuhr and me, expanding my Spanish connection.

Dr. Fuhr and me, expanding my Spanish connection.

It took 30 years for my husband to step into his role as an Activator instructor.  My role is no longer as a business partner in his practice.  It is now as a spousal supporter of his professional career.  I have my own career now in writing and indirectly in ministry to the people of Spain.  The two intersected in a restaurant in Phoenix in a way that only God could’ve orchestrated.

It’s not just another old wives’ tale.  God’s timing was once again, perfect.

Cathedral Rock, Sedona, AZ

Cathedral Rock, Sedona, AZ

Chihuly glass art exhibit at the Desert Botanical Gardens.

Chihuly glass art exhibit at the Desert Botanical Gardens.

Living in the Shadow of Mental Illness

It’s no secret that my mother was mentally ill—not now anyway.  I’ve written about it on my blog and was the basis for my published story in Journeys to Mother Love (Cladach Publishing).  Chapter 8 in the Table of Contents reads: Distanced by Mental Illness, Walking my Mother Home, by Ardis A. Nelson.  There it is; my lifelong struggle in black and white on the page for all to see.

Chapter 8 is my story.

Chapter 8 is my story.

I’ve heard from many people how they resonated with my story.  It is usually in regards to how they are caring for a loved one at the end of life or it touches an accord with those whose parent has died.  It gives them hope and encouragement for the journey no matter how recent or faraway the experience was.

Distancing Myself

My story isn’t just about how I re-established contact and cared for my mentally ill mother at the end of her life though.  The bigger story is how I distanced myself from getting to know myself as well.  At 53 years old, it is what I am still working through.  It is the theme of the memoir that I hope to someday have published.

The Bible tells us in Matthew 10:38 that as followers of Christ we all have a cross to bear.  My cross seems to be the legacy that I have of living in the shadows of a mother who had mental illness.  Even though I had amazing healing when my mother died (as mentioned in my published story), I can still revert to my negative way of thinking and seeing things through the filter of mental illness in my family.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Many people live in the shadow of mental illness.  They were raised in a family with a parent who was mentally ill.  Or maybe they grew up hearing stories about crazy Aunt Sue or Uncle Joe.  I know I did; and it wasn’t just about my mother, but others in the family as well.

When I was growing up there was a huge stigma attached to mental illness.  There were barbaric practices perpetuated on mental patients—witness the movie, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” from 1975.

Jack Nicholson's character receiving shock therapy, a barbaric practice, in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

Jack Nicholson’s character receiving shock therapy, a barbaric practice, in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

I saw that movie in the theater when I was 15.  The movie hit way to close to home as my mother was in and out of mental hospitals and had shock therapy when I was in elementary school.  Watching that movie scared me and maybe even scarred me emotionally.

Last November when I started work on my memoir as part of National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, I watched that movie again for the first time in over 30 years.  It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, but I think that was because I watched it more for historical reasons and for context in my memoir writing.  In other words, I detached myself from my emotions.  I thank God that wasn’t my fate.

Emotional Highs and Lows

At this stage of life with hormones raging out of control, it is hard at times to not let that dark cloud and fear of mental illness grab a hold of me.  It seemed to hit me particularly hard after my time in Spain.  It’s no wonder.

The movie is still playing, although at times it may feel like it's over.

The movie is still playing, although at times it may feel like it’s over.

I’ve been on an emotional high the last few years as I stepped into the world of publishing as a first time author, launched Pedro’s professional music career, and prepared for my trip to Spain.  It has often felt like a dream to me—or as I’ve openly expressed—like a movie with Pedro’s music as the soundtrack.

Three months after my return home, I’ve finally re-adjusted to life in America.  As I slowed down and re-focused my attention on my own self-care, at times it felt like the credits scrolled by on the screen and the music stopped playing.  Just like in the theater, all that was left was the mess on the floor to clean up—most notably a body that was exhausted and sometimes depressed.

Rejecting the Lie

I’m discovering some profound things about myself as I work through this next layer of healing.   I know it is what God is requiring from me so that He can more fully use me for His bigger purpose.  As I do, I am clinging to my identity in Christ and not some worn out lie or stigma.

Are you believing a lie from your past?  Who will you believe—our heavenly Father who loves you, or the Evil One, the thief and father of all lies?  What are you doing to flip the switch in your thinking? 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10, NIV)

Breaking the Silence & Letting Go

Two months after my return from Spain I still haven’t been able to piece together what to write about how my trip relates to the continuation of my story in “Journeys to Mother Love”.  Over the last few years I’ve openly blogged about it and told my friends how significant this trip was for me.

I was meeting Rosa after three years of waiting, praying, emailing, Skyping and planning.  She learned English to facilitate our face to face communications.  Except for the post I wrote about my first day in Spain, I have been silent about that part of my trip, and the writing in general.

At the Alcala Gate with Rosa, Madrid.

At the Alcala Gate with Rosa, Madrid.

As a writer, that silence on my blog feels deafening.  I had so much expectancy for this trip and so much riding on the outcome.  I even wrote a post on journeystomotherlove.com, A Match Made in Heaven, on my anticipation for this journey.  But now I am struggling with what and how to write about it.  Writer’s block?  Maybe, but I’m inclined to think there is more to it.

Letting go of Expectations

Early on in my trip, I realized I had to let go of the expectation that I would write about Rosa’s side of the story—what happened in Spain when prayers were sent from America in the midst of her sorrow.  While Rosa showed me places that were significant with her side of the story, like her parents’ home (which was also her childhood home) and the church where her mother’s funeral was held, God revealed to me that the story I am to tell is more about my journey.  Rosa was a conduit for my healing.  We were both blessed by our mutual encouragement and prayers. 

Taking the tram with Rosa from Soller to Palma, Mallorca, for a day of sightseeing.

Taking the tram with Rosa from Soller to Palma, Mallorca, for a day of sightseeing.

When I stepped on Spanish soil I was ready to experience the trip of a lifetime.  I was open to experiencing God in a new way.  I had already let go of so many expectations—like not professionally speaking while there and not having the Spanish translation of my story published in advance.  I decided to trust God for His purposes for this trip.

While I was in Spain, the Lord slowly stripped me of much more.  The biggest thing for me to surrender was how much my identity has been wrapped up in my writing and the publishing of my story.  I went with the expectation that people in Spain could relate to my story, like they have in America.  I was grateful for the few opportunities to give away copies of Journeys to Mother Love.  Outside of those times, I felt very invisible as a writer and in my faith.  A lot of that was also because I didn’t know the language well enough either.

One copy of my book graces the book shelves at my apartment in the Port of Soller, with the best reading view of the Mediterranean, August 2013.

One copy of my book graces the book shelves at my apartment in the Port of Soller, with the best reading view of the Mediterranean, August 2013.

Before I was a published author, I knew God wanted to use my story.  I knew He was making me bold (witness my blog name).  But being in Spain led me to question much of that and my writing.

In hindsight, I think a lot of it had to do with the cultural and spiritual differences between our countries.  They became more real and visible to me.  I know now that the only way I could see that and understand it was to be stripped of that part of me and my voice.  It was a painful process—one I’m still trying to integrate.  I know He is transforming me again.

Moving Forward

42 days is a long time to explore a country.  I had the most amazing escapades while in Spain with my host family.  I had wonderful adventures in Madrid, Toledo, Segovia, Granada, Cordoba, Seville and on the island of Mallorca.  I have 5,000 photos that bring my trip and so many special memories back to life for me.

In time some of that will show up on my blog.  I don’t doubt that God wants to use my story or this trip in some way.  He has given me new insights into my journey.  He has given me new insights into the writing process.  Meanwhile, I am clinging to my identity as a child of God and learning to let go (again).  I am grateful for the journey—the good and the bad—and what lies ahead.

Do I want to know what that is?  Am I nervous about it?  Do I want to control it?  Absolutely!  I can only take one day at a time and trust that He’ll use the story He is crafting in me to inspire others to turn healing into hope.  As He does, I know He’ll release me to break more of the silence along the way.

Farewell dinner at my apartment in the Port of Soller, Mallorca, Spain.

Farewell dinner at my apartment in the Port of Soller, Mallorca, Spain.

Mothering Inadequacies

God heals us and satisfies the desires of our heart in such surprising ways. Meeting my Spanish family this past summer is confirmation of that.

Journeys To Mother Love

I was 33 years old when I had my first child. Like many women, I felt unsure of myself and ill-equipped to be a mother. Unlike many, though, I believed I had good reason for my misgivings.

My mother had a nervous breakdown when I was six. She was still able to function in her role as a housewife, but it left her emotionally unavailable to me. For whatever reason, she rarely spent time with me in the kitchen or preparing me for my role as a wife or mother.

As I grew up and went out on my own, I wondered whether I would ever be a mother or have kids of my own. I never had a strong desire to be around children. I didn’t have the longing, like I hear some women express, to have children to feel complete.

After ten years of marriage my husband and…

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How This Journey Started

I’ve been asked many times how my story, “Walking My Mother Home”, came to be published in Journeys to Mother Love. I’ve written about that under the category “My Writing Journey”. In this post from journeystomotherlove.com, the blog for the book, my publisher tells the story of how the book was birthed. Thank you Catherine Lawton and Cladach Publishing for following that gentle nudge from the Lord. I’ve been blessed over and over again to be part of such an inspiring book.

Journeys To Mother Love

Hard to believe, but more than a year has passed since the book Journeys to Mother Love was published and the authors started sharing this blog as well. How did these nine women, who live in all corners of this great country, come together in this way? Well, here’s the story.

As publisher and editor of Cladach Publishing, a small Christian press, I was invited to the Colorado Christian Writers Conference in Estes Park, Colorado, to give 15-minute interviews to authors. At the May, 2011 conference I spoke with three or four women in one day who had heart-wrenching personal stories that they hoped to have published as books. The authors were so passionate and full of the fresh touch of the Lord, and their stories so real and relevant for many women, that I couldn’t get away from thinking about them. By the third or fourth interview the thought…

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  • WELCOME to my site!

    I'm an author, writer, speaker, mentor & mom. I've struggled to find my voice all my life as I lived in the shadows of a mother with mental illness. Thankfully that was not the legacy that she handed down to me. It took a lot of recovery and deep healing work to rise above it.

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