Write Your Journey
Mondays at 6:30 pm in That Room
Beginning February 5th – March 26th
Ever been told you should write a book? Love to write? In this 9-week class you will learn to chart the obstacles, adversities and victories of your life and discover the story that God’s been writing! Throughout the course we will create a timeline, write, read, critique, and learn storytelling techniques used in the Bible.
Instructor Francine Phillips is a seminary graduate who has been a professional writer for more than 30 years.
Need more information? Contact Francine.
He was raised by the neighborhood, monitored and watched over. He attended school, cleaned the house and began having dinner prepared when his mother returned each evening. The free hours were spent just four doors down the street, the airport – the dusty runway that provided diversion and dreams, employment and escape. From stomping down the gopher holes at first, washing airplanes later on, then maintaining and repairing the remaining relics of the Great War, now grown tired but still able to climb towards the sky and sun.
I consider the places which were basically rehearsal halls — my aunt’s kitchen, the force field of love that was the Radican’s house in high school, the quiet, hushed sanctuaries of churches and chapels I have entered through the years, the friends who have patiently helped me to learn to do friendship and allowed me to practice the skill—and it is a skill—with them, with faith that I would eventually learn the dance. Patient bosses who taught me reliability and perseverance, saying without saying that raw talent is never enough.
I think that is why I have been able, on my very best days, to hear whispers, and feel unseen hands and obey. I think this is the reason I was able to save my sister 25 years ago, finding reservoirs of courage I never knew existed. I think this is why I was able to make hard choices when my husband succumbed to severe mental illness, choices others couldn’t even understand, much less affirm.
I was in middle school in the mid-1990s and it was a typical mother-daughter outing at Parkway Plaza on a Saturday afternoon. There we were, navigating our way through the herds of people going from store to store. I lost sight of her and then I hear, “Oo Oo Aa Aa Ee Ee”
“I recognize that sound…that voice…it can’t be…please not again….” I thought to myself. I turned around and she came up behind me, arms flailing from side to side overhead and then reaching for her armpits, doing her best orangutan impersonation. Eyes dancing and grinning from ear to ear.
God that woman loved embarrassing her children.
Years later, a freshman in high school, my mom and I were back at Parkway Plaza on a Saturday afternoon. This time her eyes weren’t dancing. She steadied herself on a cane her face covered by a doctor’s mask. All I can think was, “God she loves to embarrass her children.”
We didn’t laugh.
I took the Write Your Journey class. My husband thought by encouraging me to write maybe I would get well, maybe we both did. Only here I was again not sleeping, recapping what I had done – sharing my story with strangers. Only this time I woke up and I felt lighter. Emotionally hungover, but lighter. I realized in recapping my life, I was understanding why I built the walls and now all I needed was to figure out how to release these old feelings and tear down the walls that were stopping me from growing… Since learning I was going to live in pain the rest of my life I am trying to grasp for anything that might give me hope and that night I found it. Thanks be to God.
I remember lying on my son’s pillow on the floor of his empty bedroom crying, inhaling his scent, not knowing if I did the right thing and devastated at the fact I was forced to give him to his father until I could get on my feet — having no idea how I would do that after they had taken everything. I had no job, no car, no money and, the only thing in life that mattered, no son.
As I lay there completely defeated I looked through the window and saw the moon. It was so bright it seemed to be looking at me, then I said out loud, “God if you are there, I need your help. I don’t know if I even believe in you but I can’t do this life alone anymore. If you are there, please show me the way.”
Coming down from drugs is never fun…coming down from drugs at church, well, I thought there was a special place in Hell for people like me. It pained me to see so many happy people greeting each other at this place because it was something so desperately I wanted, yet felt so undeserving of.
My skin was pale and I was shaking violently from the outside…the lead pastor got up and spewed what I thought was nonsense about this church being a a “Come as you are” church. Come as you are? Yeah, I thought, a rape victim, drug addict, no self-esteem, worthless human being shoes own mother couldn’t love her. I never felt so alone in such a crowded room. The more the pastor spoke about God’s unconditional love, I thought, How could God love someone so broken, so utterly defeated? I hated myself so much, how could I expect anyone else to love me?
As soon as I questioned God’s love is when my stepmom grabbed my shaking hand and looked at me with an adoring gaze as she said, “I love you.” At that moment I felt like God was speaking to me through her, reminding me just how precious I am.