monique

“There are books in you,” she told me.

This was how she broke the silence as she swept the tile floor.

Then her broom stopped. We stood across from one another in the second-floor kitchen. I’d just met her five minutes earlier and now she was staring me down.

The room was bright white; sun gleamed off the now-clean stovetop. Over her shoulder, I could see palm trees and a neon Burger King sign glowing through the window.
“Yes, in the name of Jesus. Best sellers. There are books of words in you that you’ve been too scared to write down,” she said. I stopped typing.

What she couldn’t have possibly known is that for the past 15 months, I’ve made my living as a writer. I pay the rent by putting words on the page for other people. It’s why I sat in that kitchen – and it’s why I’m sitting in this coffee shop now, a thousand miles from home.

Since graduation, I’ve fed and clothed myself and others by telling stories that aren’t my own.

“Look in my eyes,” she said. She was talking to me like my grandmother does. “I don’t know you. But I know you’re a writer. I know you have been listening to lies. And you can’t do that any more.”

I had to force myself to look at her. She went on. “Satan’s spoken to you so loudly and for so long you can’t even hear the Truth anymore.”

We’d never met a day in our lives but in that kitchen she saw me.

Somehow she overheard the lies that were taking up space in my heart and taking the fight out of me: you’ve got nothing good to say; you have nothing of value to offer; your voice would be nothing except white noise, adding to the din.

But by the time she crossed the kitchen tiles to pray truth over me, it was the third time that week Jesus had whispered it into my heart. I already knew what he wanted me to hear:

You want to write a beautiful prayer?

Daughter, don’t wait any longer to tell your story. Pour your words out like oil on my feet. I know it feels like a risk to give me your gift but please know it is so precious to me. Your words can be your unconventional offering – poured out undignified and unashamed even in front of people who might mock the way you praise me.

You bear my image: you were created to create. My power is made perfect in your weakness. It’s no mistake that I chose to display my glory in the midst of your fragility. And when I set you on fire – there will be no doubt about who made you burn.

Write down the truth. I’ve written it on your heart for a reason. 

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Putting words on my white blank page

I’m not holding out any longer for “the perfect moments.”

This afternoon on the subway platform I finally realized that really and truly – there is no such thing.

Hannah Brencher is right.

If I kept waiting for the perfect time to start writing, I’d be sitting here forever with a book’s worth of unpublished words on crumpled up, ink blotted pages. I’d never start if I waited until inspiration struck – or until I found just the right words; ones that were worthy of the ideas in my head. So here they are. My words aren’t perfect, but I don’t need to wait any longer to show them to you.

journals on the ground

And Penelope is right too.

I’d be waiting forever if I waited for the perfect moment to uproot my entire life. So here I am, the night before I take my one-way ticket and my overweight suitcase down to the airport. I have no escape plan. No map or compass to determine what comes next.

If I waited until it was convenient to move to south Florida – to quit my job, introduce myself as a freelancer, step off of these dirty sidewalks and take my shadow with me – I might be in Baltimore forever. And I might be jumping to conclusions here, but I’m the kind of person that could live and die without risking a single thing.

I’ve been plotting and orchestrating and arranging the“perfect moments”– the easy clear-cut paths – and in the process, I’ve been taming my own heart. As I’ve fought for control I’ve forced my mind into overdrive. And I haven’t lived in the freedom that’s so readily available to me since.

So tonight I’m hitting publish. I’m handing over my house keys. I’m zipping up the suitcase. And with these little acts of surrender – I put control back into the hands of the God who sees me. I rediscover my brave heart and my fierce will. I am Corie again.

I’m daring to hope that relief is just beyond the risk. I think peace can be found in the most unlikely of places. I think that quiet Florida afternoon – floating on my back in the clear blue ocean – was just a taste of the calm that I could be feasting on.

This is why I am done hoping for the perfect moment. I’ve reached a point where just the chance to change is enough. And if I wait here – I might be staring through the bars on my window on this Baltimore street for the rest of my life, with my cursor blinking on the white, blank page.

Thanks for joining me on this journey to find my voice. If you’re reading this, chances are good that you’ve cheered me on to this point – and I am grateful to have each of you alongside me!