Friday, August 16, 2013

Staying the Course in Life and Writing with Guest Nancy Kimball


In case you don’t already know this, this writing gig is tough. There are a finite number of spots in agent rosters and publisher’s release schedules and when we add in the Indie and self-published books too, we’re all competing for the same reader’s dollar. Competition is so fierce, it’s no wonder a writer can quote the opening salvo of most every editor and agent practically verbatim.

 We are looking for stellar writing with a stellar story and stellar characters.


That’s probably never going to be you. Even if you contest, study craft, and type away at 1K1HR while querying your heart out. If you’ve already sold a few books you know if your publisher gets consolidated you’ll be the first they look at when they have to start pulling scheduled releases. Seriously, how much time and money have you wasted already that should have been spent on your family, friends, or a—wait for it—real job? You are not Francine Rivers or Max Lucado. You never will be. Stop posing and find a new hobby because you’re never going to get published and no one who doesn't already send you a Christmas card will ever buy your books. If you’ve got a few out there, accept that you had a decent run of it and have a nice dinner out on the backlist royalties once in a while.

Are you preparing to fire away at me in the comments for crushing a fledgling or weary author’s hopes and dreams?


GOOD.
    
So why is it okay for you to tell yourself those same things? Mmm-hmmm. Take a few moments and absorb the punch in the gut by your own hypocrisy. And when you’re finished, go back and latch onto all that spirited defense of the creative and passionate pursuit of dreams and let’s plow forward together.

 Part two of this post is actually way more risky for me to write, if you can believe that. I’m a very social but very private individual, and if God had not strongly nudged me to incorporate my personal struggle to stay the course in life as well as writing, I would not have. Not at all. But because I love God and want to honor him with obedience, I’m going to share my personal battle against depression and suicide.

 I’ve chosen to be transparent about this with my Seekerville family because for many, the very idea of taking your life because of unceasing and overwhelming emotional pain and hopelessness is unfathomable. For that I am truly grateful and pray that is always true for you, always. But for some of us, like me, those times come. Often in the beginning we don’t know what to do or where to turn for help. If we’re believers we’re afraid our faith is weak or broken and that we’re going to scare our family and friends if we try to be honest and talk about it. Most of all, we’re scared things are never going to get better.

 If you relate to any of that, know that I understand--like only someone who has crawled through and been carried through by Jesus can understand. You are not alone. You are not a failure in your faith or your life. What you do have is a choice—to stay the course or give up. Call it ironic or call it anointed, but my proven strategy for overcoming suicide is also proven to combat giving up on your writing. It’s proven because I’m still breathing, LOL (It’s totally okay to laugh here), and because I’m still writing. 



Strategy #1: Get among your people.

Those trusted friends who will encourage you, listen, give you hugs and chocolate, or tell you to stop crying and get on with it. You already know who they are, and if you don’t, keep hanging out here in Seekerville and you’ll make some. Fight the urge to remain silent and withdraw. Often having the courage to say, out loud as it were, “I’m so done with this,” is half the battle because it brings it into the light.

I’m blessed to have grown self-aware enough I now recognize at what point I need to get among my people. I’m able to be honest with them, and they know the best thing they can do for me is pray, listen, and just be there for me, whether it’s an encouraging text, a card in the mail, or surprising me with ice cream and flowers. They help distract me, minister to me, and most of all encourage me. A lot like the week after being announced as a Genesis finalist again this year when I was ready to chuck this whole stupid writing gig. The Seekers, my Seekerville peeps, and crit partners encouraged me through it and it’s a blessing they did because I got good news about one of my manuscripts shorty after that.

Strategy #2: Remember the dead giant behind you.

Cliff Graham, speaker and author of The Lion of War Series, says this: Don’t fear the enemy in front of you. Remember the dead giant behind you. Referencing David and Goliath and David facing the Philistine army yet again, Graham admonishes us to not fear the terror before us, but instead, remember the victory granted by God when David had the courage to act in faith. It is a call to action.

Go back and find your slain giant. Perhaps it was the first time you completed a manuscript or started your first one. Perhaps it was “The Call” or a letter from a reader sharing how their life was touched by your writing. For me it is returning to my own work, reading it, and being blown away in some passages by how much depth of emotion the work still brings me.

Every single one of my manuscripts is homage to my true hero, Jesus Christ. For without Him and the strength and hope found only in Him, I wouldn’t still be here to write them. Because in those moments of absolute, soul-crushing despair when taking my life seems the only solution to bring an end to the pain, I can remember I’ve been there before. By focusing on the fact that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, I can remember that by standing fast against it however I must, I can and will defeat it again. Even though it doesn’t feel like it at the time. That’s when I look back and remember those slain giants behind me, and those remembered victories help anchor me in the storm with the knowledge that if I continue to persevere, the storm will eventually pass. In writing and in life.

Strategy #3: Feast on God

In 2009 when my struggle with depression and suicide began, I read through my Bible cover to cover twice that year. This was not mere quiet time or daily scripture reading. This was devouring truth to be able to keep breathing. Over the past years that same feasting on God has grown to include turning the lights down and putting on praise, worship and prayer songs while I commune with the Lord and shut out everything else. Everything I have to do, all the expectations and demands on my time and efforts, and just abide. Be still. Sometimes I write to those songs too and it’s wonderful.

When I absolutely just can’t write, can’t edit, can’t remember the vision for my writing career no matter how many people stroke my ego and how many times I stare at my plaques and certificates commemorating those Contest Diva finishes, I set it all aside to feast on God. I praise, I rest, I read, and I take long walks with my dog or go fishing or visit a museum. Without fail, in God’s time and when I’m ready to receive it, the passion for my writing comes back. Then I’m able to give God glory, thank my friends and fans, grab the laptop, and get on with it.

 



My prayer for all of us is to stay the course and never give up. To fearlessly embrace every new day as an opportunity for spectacular successes and epic failures. To wring the goodness from every moment and endure when life is wringing us out. To give the struggling friend hugs and chocolate or crack the whip at them when we need to. That we’re honest with ourselves and each other when holding on is hard, and that it is okay to do so. Because the best stories aren’t the ones we will put on the page. It’s the one we’re living every day, even the days it doesn’t feel like it. So stay strong my friends, and write on. Write on.




Award-winning author, avid reader and shameless hero addict, Nancy Kimball makes her home in Houston, Texas. She doesn't understand the point of white crayons and enjoys writing a great hero as much as reading one. Nancy began writing in pursuit of traditional publication in 2010, is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and President of her local chapter, Writers on the Storm in The Woodlands, Texas. In 2012, her best friend bestowed her with the nickname "Phoenix" after hearing Nancy’s story. Nancy loved it and adopted the Phoenix symbol to embody her life verse, Ezekiel 36:33-36.  Learn more at her official website or connect with her and other hero-lovers at her popular blog Fiction Hero Features and her Facebook Page.




Today, Nancy is giving away a $25.00 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to one commenter who shares there heart about staying the course in life and writing!


70 comments:

Courtney Faith said...

Such an encouraging post! I could see myself in the beginning of it--surely I'm not the only one. No one in my circle of family or friends loves books as much as I do or understands why I want to write. I've heard the "It's not a real job" thing, too. And all of it became enough to make me think "Am I wasting my time?" But then I received amazing encouragement from someone who I dared let read a little of my work, and that must have been a God thing.

The Lord is so amazing. Thank you for sharing your testimony with us. Very well said.
Please enter me, by the way.

Nancy Kimball said...

Courtney Faith, I love those stories. Thank you for sharing also and continue to see the God things. They were so much more present than I knew before I was in tune enough to see them. Write on, my friend. Write on.

Tina Radcliffe said...

WELCOME, NANCY!!

The road less traveled. This is such a hit home post for so many writers.

But staying the course is the only way the job gets done.

:)

Nancy Kimball said...

Thank you, Tina. Always a little strange to be on "this" side of the Seekerville but I love it. I love getting to be honest and transparent and funny and deep all at the same time, hehe.
You are correct. Staying the course, even when you're army crawling an inch at a time through diapers, loads of laundry, bills that stole all your contest entry fees, that's how you keep making progress toward your goals.
The payoffs in contracts and royalties and fan letters are the highs, but I've learned to find fulfillment in every perilous and frustrating step of the journey.
Except on the days I hate everyone and everything. And they come, LOL. =D But they come to pass, praise God!

gretchenekengel.com said...

Thank you for sharing from the depths of your struggles.
I have to remind myself constantly why it is that I do what I do, and I should stay the course.
Great encouragement!

Gretchen E.K. Engel said...

Thank you for sharing from the depths of your struggles.
I have to remind myself constantly why it is that I do what I do, and I should stay the course.
Great encouragement!

Tina Pinson said...

Thank you for the encouragement, Nancy. Just read the story of David and Goliath. We forget that we can beat Giants when God is on our side, and we only need 5 stones and of course the faith and stick to itiveness to step out and face our fears.

God Bless

Tina

Tina Pinson said...

Oh and if I'm terribly honest, and thank you for being, I can have bouts of depression and have been known to crawl into my cave, like David too.

blessings

Nancy Kimball said...

GEKE, you're welcome and great to see you in Seekerville. Write on, my friend. Write on.

Tina P. You're welcome and if you want to read David and Goliath in "living color" read the prologue of Cliff Graham's "Day of War". There are many days I make the same prayer David did to the Lord, which was "Cover me in the day of war." I have clung to both The Word and words by authors, many of them friends here, to enable me to keep running the race and fighting the good fight. Thank you for being transparent too, Tina P. Bringing it into the light is a victory of its own. Write on, my friend. Write on.

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

As a person who has been touched by a loved' one's suicide, and also lived under a parent's continual battle against depression and suicide, I reach out... from way over here in Oregon... and tell you I understand. I understand as well as a person who has not walked that dark path can understand. I've seen (and heard and felt) those dark days a thousand times by way of loved ones. It's not the blues. It's all-consuming. It's as dangerous and deadly as walking down a busy highway at night wearing black.

Lifting you up in prayer and praising God for His faithfulness in your life.

Nancy Kimball said...

Thank you, Virginia. From all the way here in Texas. =) I am fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of the living God and blessed beyond measure. Feelings are real but sometimes they lie and in those dark days that's when it's a blessing to hold fast to truth. And have safe people to go to, like you are for your family. Praying for them too, my friend. Write on!

Jenny Blake said...

I am not a writer but the same can be said for looking for work which I need to do but am currently have an exception due to injury.
For every admin job I go for at least 20 others are going for the same job. some have experience, some are much younger, some have the skills etc. I have the qualifications but do not have the experience. Until the past year when everything happened, (trip to hospital, mum passing, then injury) I was applying for the jobs but got very few interviews as there are so many applying. I keep sending out the applications and I believe God does have work for me. If I give up I will get nothing.

On a plus side not sure If I mentioned I know have a tentative appointment with a specialist pending a referral from my dr when she gets back from vacation. its mid Sept so less than 5 weeks away.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Crack the whip!!!!!

:)

I love that you've adopted my typical Ruthy-style forms of encouragement, my friend!!!! GO YOU!!!!!!

Nancy, I'm so proud of you. Stinkin' proud. First, because you are a Phoenix, rising above, challenging new wings and embracing a new Jerusalem.

Second, because you love my work.

Clearly, this puts you above average, says the humble and always sweet, smiling author...

Self-doubt is a crusher. God helps.
Self-denial is a crusher. God helps.
Self-loathing is a crusher. God helps.

But for folks whose brains tag into depressive mode, it is so stinkin' hard to see God in the darkness. Because then, right then, there are no rays of light.

We have to school our brain to envision the light, even in darkness. Like an anorexic always sees the pudgy girl in the mirror, no matter what the scale says...

Depression voids the light. But the light is there, ever-present, ever-open. You've learned to reach for the light, the hem of his garment, even in the darkness.

And you like Ruthy-books, so obviously you are AMAZING!!!!!

:)

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Serious subjects require serious food. I have a Friday breakfast feast available at the breakfast bar to the left of the speaker's podium. Friday Omelettes are of your choosing, Juan will be glad to add anything you want to your omelette from our extensive array of add-ins.

Coffee's on, hot and ready to roll! Let's rock this place with Friday embraces... with 10,000 reasons and then forever more!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

And I loved Cliff Graham's advice to focus on the giants already slain...

we tend to forget that God has wrought our success story already... in birth, in life, in pushing on...

So that's a wonderful way to pile up the successes (look at us, a PILE OF GIANTS lay strewn in our trail!!!) and face the curves in the road.

Tina, yes. The road less traveled. Because why follow the crowd?

Jackie said...

Hi Nancy,

Welcome to Seekerville!

Staying the course? In 2006 I was writing and studying the craft. We were in the process of selling our house while another one was being built. We sold ours and the builder of the new house disappeared with our money.
I quit writing and took a second part-time job. I wasn't depressed, I was terrified. I devoured Psalms and prayed like crazy. God got us through the situation.
The man was never caught and we'll never get that money back. We've become friends with another family he did the same thing to.
God redeemed the situation.
And eventually I started writing again. I pulled my writing books out of a box in the attic and started fresh.

God is amazing how he loves us through the valleys of life.

Thanks for sharing your story Nancy.

Naomi Rawlings said...

Hi Nancy! It's fun to see you on the blogger side of seekerville instead of on the commenter side. :-)

Thank you so much for sharing that heart-touching post. I have no idea what caused your depression or suicidal thoughts, but I'm so glad that you pulled yourself through it and used GOD and HIS WORD to accomplish that.

So many people fall for the fallacy that they need more than God to answer there problems, when the Bible says God alone is enough. Always, forever, eternally.

As for me, staying the course in writing was hard when I first started (all that time away from family for so few rewards) and then it's been hard since publication because new contracts aren't exactly falling onto my lap. But God has already been good to give me that spark of hope just when I feel as though this whole writing thing is hopeless.

Missy Tippens said...

Nancy, what a courageous, beautiful post. Thanks for sharing your journey. I know many of us have been to points of despair, and with God's help have battled back. We appreciate you being so open to talk about it.

Missy Tippens said...

I feel like I should also say for people reading who may be struggling with depression that it can be a medical issue, so please consult a doctor.

And now I'm off to have one of Ruthy's omelets!

Connie Queen said...

Nancy,
It takes so much courage to write a blog like this, but turning to the Bible for answers was such the right thing to do. Going through difficult kills produces a stronger you on the other side. So proud of your success.

Jeanne T said...

Nancy, your post brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for your transparent sharing and encouragement. I am taking it to heart. I have struggled with depression and thoughts of suicide, once. But not related to writing. Your post speaks such hope, Nancy.

Honestly? My struggle is right now. Trying to figure out a couple aspects about my hero's career that I just can't seem to grasp and put into story has stopped my writing. Feeling the pressure of a deadline (ACFW), and the inability to see where my story needs to go.

I keep coming back to the fact that God gave me this story to write. He didn't give it to someone else. The other thing I keep reminding myself of is that He has given me the inspiration to write this far (half way), and He'll give me the rest. I need to lean into Him and trust. And for this control-liking girl, I'm having a hard time with it.

And I'm with Naomi. I am SO glad you have pulled through and figured out what to do if it comes back for another visit.
And yes, I'd love to be put in the drawing.

Jeanne T said...

RUTHY— I love, LOVE the song you referenced: 10,000 Reasons. I can't think of a better song to have going through my head today. :)

Sherri Shackelford said...

What a courageous post! I can tell you with absolute faith that sharing your journey will give someone else hope today.

Nancy Kimball said...

Jenny Blake, praying for you my friend. I know being out of work can be very scary and frustrating. Proud of you for persevering. Read on, my friend!

Haha Ruthy, of course! In my manuscript Chasing the Lion, the first century historical gladiator love story, there was a LOT of whip cracking. Because it works, haha. Thank you for your kind words and AMEN! I do love your work and that Matt Redman song!!! Thanks for bringing hearty food too. Write on, my friend!

Jackie, as long as I've known you I had no idea. Crazy! You have a beautiful attitude about it and I am so glad you came back to writing, my friend. So glad! Write on.

Naomi, thank you!Amen to that. It has actually been harder for me in the last year when it seemed like everyone but me was getting agented and contracted. Tough to keep pulling up by my bootstraps and writing another book and sending more queries. But I'm always glad I did and am proud of you too, girl. The whole writing thing is never hopeless though there's times it feels like it, I know. Proud of you for persevering and write on, girl, write on!

Missy, thank you! It was scary, haha. When I first felt God say share, I was like, are you kidding me? My most private pain with every one of my industry peers? Um... hehe... but I'm glad I did because being able to talk about it openly and honestly is so important. And yes, I am SO grateful for Dr. Bell who was my primary care doctor in 2009 and God used to help get me through the worst of the storm. In DBSA support group (more of "my people" in Depression & BiPolar Support Alliance) we learned there is a difference between situational depression and clinical depression. God can help you through either FOR SURE (I'm proof!) but sometimes so can the drugs. For me at one point, they were very necessary, hehe.
And my family could be counted on to ask "Did you take your pill today?" sometimes when I'd get a little snippy, hehe. Thank you for your encouragement, and write on, my friend, write on!

Connie Queen, thank you, my friend! It's been hard won but I can tell you that both professionally in my writing, and in my life, I can do some SERIOUS heavy lifting now, hehe, because of being tried by fire and trusting the One who got me through and getting stronger. There's only one Kanye West song I ever heard that I liked, and even that was the radio edit, LOL, but it was called "STRONGER". Write on!

Jeanne T. my girl! *HUGS* from Houston, Texas. You can do it girl. You are write and right that God chose you to steward that story and I read on Novel Matters a while ago "There is no agony like having an untold story inside you." I think it applies to unfinished stories but SO CRAZY PROUD of you for persevering. I hate that you too have seen the face of that dragon but grateful that like me, you've counted on your Champion to help slay it. It looks the worst right before it turns for the best, I know. So hang in there girl, and I'll have that great song stuck in my head all day too!. =D Write on, sweet sister. Write on.

Sherri, thank you! That's why I was completely unwilling to tell God "NO WAY!!!" That never really goes that well, though sometimes I'm still dumb enough to keep doing it, LOL. Appreciate your kind words and write on, girl, write on!

Cindy Regnier said...

So much courage and bravery in your post, Nancy. I was riveted from the first word. God sometimes gives us trials so we can help others experiencing the same thing. You have definitely done that. I finally had to conquer my "I'm quitting demons" by making the vow that I would write what God called me to write regardless of whether any one but me ever read it. When I truly believed that God had a purpose in every word He gave me, it didn't matter anymore. I still have to fight the battle sometimes - lots of times - but I know how to win the war. I copied this from Stephanie Whitson's website and have it taped to my computer.
"That success in light of eternity has nothing to do with numbers of books sold and everything to do with obedience to the Audience of One. In a hundred million years it will not matter if I was published, if my name appeared on any best seller lists, if I received any writing awards. In a hundred million years, what will matter is my obedience to the One who died for me. If He says "well done," then whatever happened here below was good and I achieved success in the truest sense of that word"
Pardon my long post. Thank you Nancy. You've helped so many today by your honesty and courage.

Connie Queen said...

That should've read, "going through difficult times..."

Looks like you understood me anyway. :)

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi NANCY and welcome to Seekerville today.

I am so glad you learned to reach for the light. Truly that is all that matters. Publication and writing are just the toys we play with in this sandbox of life. But the only thing that matters is our relationship to the Lord. Keep on reaching for that light.

Sandra Leesmith said...

RUTHY the omelet is yummy. I brought some cinnamon rolls hot from the oven. They smell heavenly and a drizzled in a berry filled icing.

Tina Radcliffe said...

I agree with Missy, as a side note. My husband who is with the Lord was a Christian psychiatrist. There are Christian therapists out there. People who get it. Who wouldn't take a step without the merging of God and medical practice.

It never means your faith is in any way wanting.

So don't ever think you are a failure if you cannot handle it alone with God. He gave us medical doctors for a reason.

God Bless you, Nancy!

Debby Giusti said...

Nancy,

Thank you for sharing your struggle with us today. God knew your message would touch hearts that needed to know they weren't alone in their own darkness.

I love how the Lord uses this blog to spread His love and mercy. The Spirit moves through cyber space. Healing comes. Encouragement. Hugs that feel so real, and of course, prayer. We are a family here in Seekerville so when one of us hurts, we all can feel that pain and reach out with love and prayer to the one who struggles.

Praying for all those with secret hurts. Rejoicing for your words of encouragement, Nancy, that will bring light to someone's darkness.

Thank you for answering His call to write. Sometimes it's not our stories but the other connections we make on this journey that bring healing and hope.

Love you!
Sending hugs along with the love.

CatMom said...

Welcome, precious Nancy, and thank you SO MUCH for sharing your story and journey with us. I'm sure you are such an encouragement and inspiration to so many---and you just never know whose life will be touched from reading your post today!
Sending hugs (and peach cobbler!)
from Georgia, Patti Jo

Anna R. Weaver said...

Thank you for sharing, Nancy. Personal hardships and vulnerabilities are hard to share (I've written several into my books), but God can use our "sacrifice" of our comfort and pride to reach people who may not have responded otherwise. At least, that's been the case with me. :)

I'm struggling with the "what-ifs" in my writing. I finished my proposal for LIS, but fear has kept me from sending it in. What if it's not ready? What if I haven't studied the craft enough? What if my synopsis stinks? What if I'm forgetting something in the first 3 chapters? What if the editors hate it and think I'm a terrible writer?

But I have to remember that God is in control and has it all in His hands. He knows the outcome even now. And He promises that all things work together for our good. I just have to do the work and trust Him.

Helen Gray said...

Thank you for sharing, Nancy. May God continue to guide and strengthen you.

Now to see if this will post.

Night before last my laptop acted all persnickety--no, make that downright hateful--to me. I got frustrated and went to bed without taking care of coffee duties.

Then all day yesterday Blogger hated me. Grr!!

There's a fresh pot of brew if anyone needs a picker upper. Have at it.

Helen

Nancy Kimball said...

Cindy Regnier, awww, thank you! Amen for your courage and yes, write because we need to. Because we have a story to tell ourselves and God and maybe one day other people but write for you. It's SO freeing! (But use good craft, hehe, so you give it a chance in a competitive market).
I love that Stephanie Whitson quote!
I like one from author and speaker Donna Pyle. "The spirit of the living God lives inside me. I need never look at the blank page and say 'I've got nothing.'" AMEN!!!
Thank you and thank YOU for being courageous with me. =) Write on, girl, write on!

Connie Queen, yeah, I'm REALLY good at deciphering. Comes from the day job, hehe. ;-)

Sandra! Thank you for your kind words and for the CINNAMON ROLLS! That's total muse food, haha. Write on!

Teenster, amen. My snake on a pole from God in 2009 came in a child-proof prescription bottle and helped my physiological health along with prayer and family and friends. Medication is not a crutch any more than faith in God is. And He does! And so do you guys by letting me share today. =)

Debby JuiceTea (Sorry sweet friend, I blame Teenster!!!), thank you my friend. The friends I've made on the author journey have been THE BEST! They bring me so much joy and encouragement, even when it's gonna leave a mark (*cough* Ruthy *cough*) and I'm so blessed to know you guys and every once in a while give some of that love and encouragement back. Write on, my friend!

CatMom / Patti Jo, thank you for your kind words. I will snatch up those hugs and peach cobbler. Peach cobbler from Georgia... mmmmmmmmmmm..... haha. Write on, my friend!

Anna, I agree girl or BELIEVE ME, I would have rather kept this quiet. At least here! I'm praying for your proposal and faith is good but sometimes so is YODA WISDOM. Yoda says Do or Do Not. There is no try. Make it the best you can and click send, girl. Then start on the next manuscript. =) *HUGS* and WRITE ON!

Heidi said...

Wow. Thanks so much for sharing! In the hymn "Lord, I Would Follow Thee" there's a line that says "Who am I to judge another when I walk imperfectly? In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can't see." I've always loved it, since I tend to keep my struggles private, and it's a reminder to me to not judge on outward appearances- everyone has trials and crosses to bear that are not obvious or shared.

Nancy Kimball said...

Helen, thank you! I don't drink coffee but understand it's like oxygen to some, hehe. I would come smack your laptop and tell it to behave if I thought it would help, hehe. Thank you for your kind words and write on!

Nancy Kimball said...

Heidi, you're welcome and that's beautiful. Thank you for sharing!
Write on, my friend. Write on!

Julie Lessman said...

Oh my, Nancy ... my heart is overcome with emotion -- and total empathy -- at the struggles you have faced!

Coming from a dysfunctional family were suicide was sadly familiar, I ache for the pain that the enemy has inflicted on you, but I rejoice that Jesus ALWAYS overcomes!!

Depression and suicide are those black and sinister things that not everybody understands, a heavy blanket of despair that threatens to cut off one's air ... one's hope, and as you and I (and, no doubt, others who read this today) have so painfully seen ... one's very life.

I am so VERY glad God holds you in the palms of His hands, as He does each of us, because there is no better safety net ... and no better life lived than for Him.

Thank you for your honesty, your bravery and your beautiful fighting spirit -- you are an inspiration to me and all who read this incredible post today. A true reminder of just how vital "staying the course" is, whether in life or in our writing, which is exactly what God wants and helps us to do.

Hugs and more hugs,
Julie

Karen Kirst said...

Nancy, I love what you said about being transparent with those close to you. Sharing private pain is no easy task, especially when we fear being judged, but how can we be encouraged and lifted up in prayer if we don't take that risk? The enemy wants us to struggle in our isolation. Thank you so much for your insightful post.

Erica Vetsch said...

Beautifully positive post today! So nice to see you in Seekerville today, Nancy.

I agree about getting with your people. I need that so much!

Cara Lynn James said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Nancy!

It's really encouraging so see you being so honest and transparent with your struggles. Sometimes Christians who are really suffering keep everything inside and put on a happy face.

Tina Radcliffe said...

That praise and worship time where you turn off the phone is so essential to our grounding.

Daily. Not once a week. Daily.

Tina Radcliffe said...

It's not easy to be obedient.

Says Ms. Learned the Hard Way.

Marilyn Baxter said...

"We are looking for stellar writing with a stellar story and stellar characters." And when you ask them what that is, they respond rather like Justice Potter Stewart when he said he couldn't define pornography but he knew it when he saw it. :-/

I shared earlier in the week about my divorce, what a low point in my life that was and how it brought me back to God and the church. I never had full-blown depression but I sure was sad. I spent lots of time with a wonderful counselor who was such a blessing to me. One big lesson I learned was to distance myself from toxic people.

I also had quotes that inspired me:

Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end. ~ Not sure who said it

If you're going through hell, keep going. ~ Winston Churchill

Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. ~ A.A. Milne

Just when the caterpillar
thought the world was over….
it became a butterfly! ~ Proverb

Thanks for sharing, Nancy. Your openness will be just the help someone needs today and it has inspired us all.

Nancy Kimball said...

Julie! (I never get tired of looking at your pretty picture, hehe) Thank you for your kind words, encouragement, and the hugs for sure! Staying the course in our writing is important and we can't do that if we exit early by our own hand. I have more stories to tell, haha. Love you, girl. Write on, write on!

Karen Kirst, thank you. No, it ain't, LOL, and at first it wasn't that I was ashamed so much as when I first shared, those I shared it with FREAKED OUT. Honestly, I probably would have too in their shoes. When this super strong, happy go lucky, world on a string person says, "You know what, I just don't want to do this anymore." They say "Do what?" and you say "Live." well... it's a tough thing to drop on someone because instantly they want to help, fix, empathize, understand but are so overwhelmed with fear and wrapping their head around it, it's usually them that needs reassuring for the next hour, sometimes days. Which is part of why I want to share and talk about it. Because most people don't. Some can't. They don't know how. I didn't at first. And so people will know if I can make it, so can they! Karen you're a new name to me so IDK if you're a writer or reader yet, but will assume a writer so stay the course and tell those stories you've been charged to tell. =)

Erica, my orange rhombus! thank you for your kind words and you know it. It's why I like writer's group meetings and conferences so much! Write on!

Cara Lynn, thank you! Yeah we do tend to do that. I don't though, hehe. Not anymore. When I'm happy, (like today, yay!) the happy is legit and sincere and that's a blessing. On the bad days, especially the ones that come one after another, my people know. Because I've given them permission and are close enough to me to know they can go, "Hey, girl. What's going on?" and I know they're already praying even before they open their mouths. But someone has to go first. Maybe for someone who hasn't ever taken that step, they can see by all you guys's comments that it's okay. It is O-K. *HUGS* and write on!

Tina, for sure. I like to turn the lights down and close the door to my office, sometimes even boot the dog out, and just "be" with my Jesus. That doesn't mean every time I get overwhelmed with his spirit and end up on my knees on the floor in tears of joy with my hands lifted high, but if I keep consistent and "show up", when it comes it is BEAUTIFUL. =)

LOL@ not easy to be obedient. I actually only learn the hard way for most things. Sometimes "stuff" happens and I have to laugh and look up to Heaven and go "Okay, this is the retest, right?" hehe. Thank God for the restests. I just wish I didn't need them so much haha.

Marilyn take heart my friend. I've been on the receiving end of that too but having judged enough contests now, you really can't describe what that "it" factor is. Thanks for sharing those inspirations, Marilyn and blessings on you and your writing. Stay strong!

Kav said...

Nancy, thank you so much for sharing your heart so candidly. You are a blessing today for many I am certain of it. I especially appreciate the fact that you've been so transparent as a Christian. So many people feel the need to act as if everything is perfect in their lives because they feel that if it is not then (as you said) "we're afraid our faith is weak and broken." Which is sooooo far from the truth. Only Jesus is perfect, we don't need to even try -- just be and lean on him when we need to be carried. Thank you for reminding us of that today.

Nancy Kimball said...

Kav, thank you for your kind words you book reviewer extraordinaire. =D
I agree. Pretty sure when Jesus was pouring his spirit out in Gethsemane he could relate to overwhelming pit of despair that is swallowing you whole.

By the way, does no one think my cartoons are awesome? hehe. That's from a really fun app in Facebook called Bitstrips. I get new cartoons with me and my friends in them everyday. SO FUN. =D

Jackie Smith said...

Thanks for sharing your heart, Nancy....you are a blessing and inspiration to many of us!
Sometimes, it is years before we actually know about being a blessing to someone.....a dear friend of mine received a letter of thanks just yesterday from a young man she had mentored 25 years ago. He is now a pastor.
Blessings on you!!!

Mary Connealy said...

What a great post, Nancy. I love 'remember the slain giant behind you'. That's just so smart.

Love it!

Mary Connealy said...

I want to reference more that I think is wonderful in this but there's just so much.
Thank you so much for being on Seekerville today, Nancy.

Mary Connealy said...

I'm at a writer's retreat with Erica Vetsch right now. It's funny to see her comment cuz she's five feet away from me. :)

Mary Connealy said...

Last night Erica emailed me some info we'd talked about, some link and I saw the subject line and said to her (five feet away) what about that other thing we talked about. She says, "Open the email."
We both just laughed.
Rose Ross Zediker is here, too at the Blue Belle Inn. I'm teaching a class tomorrow. It's worrying because there is evidence to suggest people actually get stupider after they talk to me.

I'm sorry about that.

Nancy Kimball said...

Jackie, you are welcome and I'm glad because I draw so much from so many of the Seekers and my Seekerville peeps. That's amazing about your friend and influence on that young man and I LOVE he took the time to let her know. I always think about Jesus when he cleansed the ten lepers and like, one or two came back to say thank you. Thank you and write on!

Thanks, Mary C. and yeah it is!!! I LOVE Cliff Graham and his ministry and his writing. But it's not for everyone... it's very, shall we say, in your face old testament. That is too cool you're with Erica AND on a writer's retreat. I'd be jeleous if I hadn't gotten to get together with two author friends this week and plot some of book 2 in a series I THINK I'm about to sign. Finally! =D No way people get stupider after talking to you. Whatever evidence you're seeing is clearly wrong, hehe. You inspire me to just write the next one and most importantly, FINISH the manuscript.
Appreciate you so much! Write on, MC. Write on.

Elaine Manders said...

Thank you, Nancy, for having the courage to bring up this difficult subject that affects so many.

My first Christian ms dealt with the impact on those who lose a loved one to suicide, the enormous anger and guilt they feel. Then 16 months ago my son-in-law committed suicide and I understood. My older grandchildren are still in therapy.

Maybe God gave me that story to prepare me, but I think He expects me to use it to witness to others, so yes, I'll write on.

Thank you for your witness today and I'm praying much success and happy days ahead for you.

Piper Huguley said...

Nancy,

Thank you so much for your inspiring words in Seekerville today. I suspect that a writing friend of mine is going through this issue right now. I can send her the link to your column and I pray that your words might shed a little light onto her terrible struggle with sadness about her writing.

It is a shame that people feel as if they have to struggle alone. I believe that is why God gives us one another for support and comfort. I'm glad that you have found support so that we can read your wonderful stories. Thank you,

PIper

Nancy Kimball said...

Elaine, I'm so sorry to hear that. I'll be praying for your grandkids and family particularly. Know that my heart is with them and your daughter. I'm sure that's a very special manuscript God will use powerfully in the right season.
I appreciate your kind words and I am SO GLAD you'll write on. *HUGS*

Piper! =D Yes please and I hope it helps her know that's normal to want to just give it all up. I pray she perseveres and I'm glad she has you in her corner. And yes, that's one thing I tell myself in times things are "really bad". Who will finish your series? You haven't even written the third book? Whatever it takes, girl, whatever it takes. Hugs to you and write on!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Nancy, thank you for sharing your story and your struggles! I can relate, because I was very suicidal in my teens and early twenties, and I have struggled with depression off and on over the years. I probably don't even realize how close I came to not being here. But God is good and he has brought me far.

I love what you said about getting alone with God and praising and worshipping, and also reading his Word just to try to survive! Very, very true and wise words. If we cling to God, He will lift us up.

I came close to quitting the writing thing so many times. Even now I have struggles that I couldn't have imagined surviving twenty years ago! But God is pushing me forward, little by little, changing me and helping me. I still sometimes feel "fragile" but when my feelings don't agree with what my head and heart know about my situation and my God, I know I just have to keep praying, reading the Word, and praising the One who will bring me through triumphantly.

So keep doing what you're doing, Nancy!!! Never give up, because God has a good plan. :-)

Nancy Kimball said...

Melanie, thank you for sharing that. I should have been the least person surprised by that but it's crazy how prevalent that battles is compared to how little suicide risk awareness is. I am so glad to know you conquered that too because you've written some great books and I know are continuing to work out God's plan for your life. Gives me extra courage to keep on keeping on and keep writing. Because I love it, and I love still being here to get to write them. You are so correct about your feelings fighting what you know to be true. It's the weirdest thing and the first time I had to try to understand it, I couldn't explain it. It's like being so cold you know you're going to freeze to death but it feels like your only option is to set yourself on fire. When the head and the heart are fighting each other, it gives internal conflict a whole new meaning to me! Write on sister and thank you for your kind words and for sharing.

Mary Hicks said...

Nancy, thank you for sharing your personal thoughts and struggles with all of us today.

I think you must be a really strong person. It take's strength to turn to the Lord in times of pain and doubt.

It's much easier to be angry, blame God and turn away...I'm glad you to cling to him through Bible study and prayer.

Have a wonderful life! :-)

Nancy Kimball said...

Thank you, Mary. =)

Audra Harders said...

Nancy! I've been so bogged down in our county fair activities (since it is my day job for right now), I haven't been in Seekerville in weeks. But God nudged me today.

He wouldn't let up. I had to read the blog of the day before going to bed.

And wow. Your faith and honesty blew me away. I can't even imagine the gut wrenching emotions you endured to push you to that brink - as you said it - a permanent solution to a temporary problem. My heart goes out to the Nancy of years ago and my joy surrounds the Nancy of today.

You are an incredible testament to on-your-knees worship and the love Jesus wraps us in.

I pray for each and every soul touched by the turmoil you experienced and give thanks you had the strength and support to overcome.

YAY God and His perfect timing!! Keep writing, Nancy. God has great things planned for you!

Mary Preston said...

Strategies we can apply to all aspects of life really. Do we quit at the first sign of trouble or bump in the road? NO!!!

(White crayons are fabulous on black cardboard or paper.)

wondering2004 said...

What an encouraging post and one I needed to hear. There are two topics I want to include in this discussion. When we share our stories that give glory to God, the enemy is not thrilled. He will do anything and everything to put a spirit of fear and discouragement into our lives - to make us doubt our message, to doubt if we can do it, to feel that there is no way to be published. When that happens to me I have to remember a few things:

God is the one who will get the glory when I get published. He is the one encouraging me to write my memoir. He is the one who wants me to do what I am doing, and I must just take it one step at a time.

The enemy wants to discourage me - he doesn't want me to publish. He wants me to feel my story won't help anyone, won't bless anyone, just give up and quit.

God is stronger than the enemy and in my last reading of the Bible the ending stayed the same - God wins, satan loses. I'm going with the winning team.

Another thing that has helped me when I get discouraged is friends. Recently a friend and I were talking about an aspect of my memoir. I sent her the pertinent chapters and she sent back such an email of encouragement that it inspired me to continue editing.

So many times the enemy tried to take me out - he tried by the child abuse I received, the ways I chose to try and numb out from the abuse, the terrible life choices, the alternative religions I pursued. One other thing the enemy tried to do was to blur where God was in all of that. As I've been writing my memoir, God has shown me where He was in the midst of all that pain and confusion - the enemy definitely does not want me to see that, but God was there in ways that I never considered before. He was there in all His glory, and I am in awe.

The last thing to consider is that the enemy fights hardest just before he is going to lose - so if you are facing a mega battle in your writing know it is because the enemy wants you to quit and he is throwing all his resources toward that - the harder he is fighting the closer he is to losing because guess what? GOD WINS

Have a blessed day.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Wondering-I was just telling someone this the other day! You are spot on!


"The last thing to consider is that the enemy fights hardest just before he is going to lose."


Tina Radcliffe said...

Nancy, this post was a blessing. Thank you, again for sharing.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Well, Wondering is my friend Heather! I know YOU! Hi Heather and thanks for popping in again. Haven't chatted with you since the beginning of the year. :)

Dawn Crandall said...

That was a great post, Nancy. I've been going through these very thoughts a lot lately. It's so easy to visualize everything going down the tube when certain circumstances happen.

Nancy Kimball said...

Thank you, Audra! =)
I think he does too.
And don't you worry, I may threaten to quite and occasionally try, LOL, but the story always comes back.
*HUGS*

Mary Preston, true that. Trouble is when it's not the first sign or the first bump, but mile marker 10,000 and it feels like it's never ever gonna let up. But thankfully I'm still here and God is helping me make that my reality every day. I'll take your word on the white crayons, hehe.

Wondering4k, TRUE THAT. Write on my friend, write on.

Tina, thanks for having me and Heather is awesome. =)

Dawn, I know my friend because I remember when that happened for you. I wanted to reach through the computer and hug you. Hang in there. It WILL come. "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1

Natalie Monk said...

Oh, my goodness, Nancy! I can't believe I missed this post when it went live. Truly ministering. Thank you soooo much.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I love to pick on Nancy when she threatens to quit...

It's what I DO.

:)

Kathleen Maher said...

Can't believe I missed this. Excellent, Nancy. Beautiful, heartfelt, sincere, and much-needed.