Thursday, April 12, 2012

Opening and Closing Doors Together

This has been a big year for me! In September I started my freshman year of college…which is a big adjustment in anyone’s life. But I also jumped into the world of college sports by joining the cross country team at USF, and it’s been a blast. We spent a week getting to know each other and training out in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming, then trained together in the hot, sticky, humid South Dakota heat. During my senior year I wasn’t exactly sure I wanted to run in college, because it is a huge commitment. Practice is every day from 3:30 until sometimes close to six if we’ve had to drive somewhere to do a workout. Add in Saturday meets, and it’s a lot to handle. As a senior, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pile all that up onto my plate. But I’m glad I did, because the girls on my team are some of the closest friends I’ve made at college.
But even with all the positives I’ve experienced with college running, that part of my life is now over. In January I started experiencing some pretty bad pain in my leg, which I later found out was an IT band injury. I won’t even try to explain what it is because I don’t even really know what it is. All I know is that it made running impossible, and I was forced to stop and rest it. I began cross training and did that until the end of February, missing my entire indoor season because of this injury. But it started feeling better and I decided to just finish out the season and decide how I felt about doing one more season of cross country in the fall. While doing my first real track workout of the season on Monday, however, the pain came back again, and I started to get worried. In the weeks that my injury seemed to be healing though, I took a hard look at my finances and decided that doing another season was impossible because I wouldn’t have the time to train this summer because I’d be working so many hours, and I can’t justify spending 20 hours a week running for free when I could be working and saving money to pay for school and the wedding. Add in an injury that just won’t seem to go away, and I decided not to finish out this track season competitively. I don’t want to injury myself further; I want to be able to enjoy running for life and I simply don’t want to risk getting permanently injured because of overtraining now.
So, yesterday was a big day for me because it was the official end of my competitive running career. At least on a team; I can still do road races, and I’m catching marathon fever. I don’t want to give up running and racing…racing is what makes the training worthwhile! So hopefully my future hubby will support me when I’m doing 20 mile training runs for a marathon J
Here’s where the story gets really exciting though! Yesterday as I sat in my coach’s office to tell him I was done competing, I got a phone call. I quickly looked at the number and dismissed the call because I didn’t recognize the area code. They left a message though…it was from a publishing house!
No one outside of my family and soon to be father and sister-in-law know about the project I’ve been working on since October, but I figured I’d finally let you all in on my exciting journey. God has planted in me the love of reading and writing, and for the past few years I’ve had a story line swirling around in my head. I’ve always dreamed of being published, but for some reason I figured I’d have to wait until I was older to even think about getting published. Something clicked in October though, and I decided to just start writing what was in my head. It was pretty stop and go in the fall and winter; I simply didn’t have the time to sit and write a novel, and I got discouraged pretty easily. How horrible would it be to start a novel, then get stuck somewhere in the middle? It wasn’t until I finally told my wonderful husband to be about my dream that I really took off on this project. Once I had someone keeping me accountable and asking me questions about where I was at in the storyline, I really started pounding it out. As of right now, I’m about three or four chapters from being completely finished…when six months ago I was worried I’d never finish! Just to give you a rough idea of how big a project this is, I’m at about 85,000 words so far, roughly 220 pages of writing.
I won’t give away many plot details, but I will say that this book might be a hard read for some people; it’s about some pretty serious issues facing young adults today, including abortion. I have a passion about seeing abortion come to an end in America, so I wanted to show people how even in difficult situations, such as date rape, abortion is harmful. The main character goes through a remarkable journey, and in the end the whole point is about coming back home, and returning to God in the midst of turmoil.
So, the book is almost complete, but the journey has just begun. Once its finished I’ll have to do a complete read through to edit and make sure everything flows, makes sense, and that the characters come alive and are relatable. After that…it’s kind of scary. Sending the manuscript off to an editor and then to a publisher freaks me out, because with that comes the risk of rejection. Good thing I have such an awesome support system backing me up, though, reminding me to trust God. If He wants the book to get published, it will.
In the midst of a difficult decision yesterday, it almost felt that God was opening a new door for me while I was still closing the door of running. Getting that call from a publisher was the final push that told me I was making the right choice with deciding not to compete anymore. I probably won’t go with this publishing house; I signed up to get some free information about book publishing from a random website, but still. Getting that call was exciting.
I am beyond thankful for Ben in the midst of all this! He’s listened to me go back and forth about running all year! Running and I have a love/hate relationship, you see. Sometimes I can’t get enough of it, and I get so excited about training and racing. Other times I’ll go on for days about how I can’t wait to be done with it and move on to other things. But we ended on good terms, and it’s not really the end! I’ll try my hand at road racing, and of course there are marathons to tackle as well. But Ben has been there through it all, and he’s just as excited about I am about seeing this book come alive. And it made me think about how important it is in marriage to support each other through everything. Our dreams make living life worthwhile, it gives us something to reach and work for. If Ben didn’t support my desire to get published, I’d probably get discouraged and give it up. But he pushes me and supports me; he listens to my ideas and frustrations. He gives me time to write when he probably would rather be doing other things. I want to do the same for him! He tends to have crazier dreams than I do and I won’t get into that, but I want him to know that if he believes God has given him a dream, I will support him and encourage him to pursue that dream. No sense living life regretting not chasing a big dream!
I’ll keep you posted about what’s happening in the next few months, and your prayers would be appreciated. My deepest desire is that God would use my passion for writing to lead people back to him, because in the end, it’s all about Jesus. Without him, life isn’t worth living, and we have no big dreams to pursue.
Matthew 6:33- “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Dream big, my friends.