The Story of a Writer


Sometimes grace is clearly under my nose. Sometimes opportunities arise, one by one over time, and I am so close to them I do not see them for what they are. That the whisper was persistent, insistent, is something I will always be grateful for. Today, I call myself a writer, and I am getting accustomed to using the word. I could say comfortably that writing is my life. But I didn’t always see the gift.

Let me back up a little.

The beginning seems a good place. I have in my possession a very old, red spiral-bound notebook. It is a bit careworn, dating all the way back to somewhere around the mid-1980s. I was in early elementary school, and I kept it with me to write stories I would think up. I had been a storyteller for some time- three or four years at least, which was half my lifetime. I was known for making up words and imaginary friends with strange and hard-to-spell names. It was just the logical next step that once I could read and write, I’d have to keep a small record of my stories.

But I was not a “writer.”

Fast forward to loads of poetry and song lyrics in my preteens and teenage years. I was too shy to keep a journal with three sisters around, but I could certainly spin a rhyme that sounded like my soul’s depths, without giving away any of my carefully hoarded secret dreams. I composed words and music with much of my spare time.

But I was not a “writer.”

In my 20th year, having been a summer camp volunteer for several years in a row at the Joni and Friends family retreats, I was asked to write an article for the Charlotte branch newsletter. They gave me the front page! I couldn’t understand why they sent me so many copies, no doubt with the assumption that I would give them away to friends and family and save a few. I did not even know the gift dropped into my lap. I couldn’t be a writer because my older sister was a writer. I was still a musician and song composer, but I was not a “writer.”

I was not a writer? I kept up years of correspondence with several friends and family members. I wrote and wrote and wrote. Exchanging letters and emails was my love language.

Moving on through the whirlwind tour of my life, I come to my mid-twenties. I was older than the usual freshman, and employed my determination to rake in the A’s. I had a few college professors approach me about changing my major to a writing track, and still I shrugged it off. I’m not the writer. My sisters are the writers. I’m the [very, extremely, awfully tired, often sick, dangerously overworked] musician.

Let’s fast-forward a decade, and we’re almost to the present. The funny thing is that my “aha” moment took such a long time, yet the desires never left. After beginning a blog, I realized how much I loved words and communication and poetry. How much I had always loved them. How often I had been brought through the rough patches of my life with the grace of pen and paper. What was I thinking? I am a writer. I know that now. (The music is a different story, but let’s just say there is still that spark within me, too.)

I am a writer, and I thank Creator for the revelation, and for the beauty I have been able to bring into existence with this gracious gift. I will pray for continued grace, that I would use my time and my words well for as long as I am alive. And I will rejoice, because this is a blessing to treasure and to share. I have always been a writer, and I love it!

Join me at Lisha Epperson's blog for her weekly "Give Me Grace" link-up?

Jamie Bagley