The year 2013 dawned on me like every new year. Putting to rest the last year and pressing towards the future was on my mind. God had already given me my word for the year—grace. It was a word that sounded rather childish to me—the thing I got at age seven when I accepted Christ as savior.
I wanted a word like passion, purpose, destiny or some moving forward word. Instead, I got grace. It felt like He was telling me to start over. Little did I know that was exactly what I needed to do to discover my purpose, passion and destiny.
I asked God, “Why did You give me the word grace for this year?” There was silence. I’ve learned when there is silence from God, no amount of asking will garner an answer. To me His silence meant would be a year of discovery and apparently grace was part of it. I did, however, ask God to reveal to me whatever He wanted me to do or to accomplish for the year.
I was in a quandary there as well. I had begun 2012 with a workshop that had given me some insight into why I had been somewhat stuck since 2008 when I quit the Christian newspaper business. The internet was taking over and I felt like I had been put out to pasture.
What Is Your Dream?
During the workshop, I discovered that although the thing I had done must of my life had vanished, my desire to write had not. We were challenged to state our dreams. I really wanted to say, “I want to write a book.” It’s been my dream since I was a child, but I had no idea what to write about. Then, two others in the group said they wanted to write a book and I was jealous.
However, I stuck to my plan of starting an online newspaper. Through the research process I overcame my fear of the internet monster and set up my WordPress.org site. God knew I needed a platform that could expand as my tent expanded into new areas.
I was writing stories about other people, but something was missing. All my life I had been waiting to discover the person who would be the subject of my book. I wanted it to be a true story of someone who overcame something with God’s help. Each time I thought I had the right one, something would happen and the book would fall through.
A few days later, I was walking in the water at the indoor community pool when it seemed like God tapped me on the shoulder. It wasn’t that I felt someone touch me, it was that I sensed He was there running beside me.
“It’s time to put you in the game,” I sensed Him speak in my mind.
“It’s time for you to write the book.”
“Your book. Your story. It’s the book that matters.”
Then I saw it laid out in the heavens—beginning, middle, end, inciting incident, anti-climax, climax, purpose, audience. I knew it all. It was my story, the story of how God led me to lose an extreme amount of weight. At that time it was 240 pounds, but I knew by the time the book was written it would be 250 pounds.
Write the Vision
It was a defining moment. I rediscovered my passion for writing and my heart’s desire to write books. God had not abandoned me nor had He forgotten my dream.
Although the path I took to get to my first book may not have been His first choice, He still got me there.
It was in writing that I learned this was a book about God’s grace. My key verse being what God told Paul. “My grace is enough. It’s all you need. My strength is made complete in your weakness.”1
I have a weakness for sugar and flour or foods made with that combination. It was in surrendering them that I was able with God’s overcoming grace to lose weight, which now amounts to 265 pounds and counting.
In the midst of the writing process God showed me the title would be Sweet Grace. All of a sudden I understood the meaning of my word for 2013. My life has been a journey of grace. I am alive today because of His grace. I have lost over 1/8 of a ton of weight by His grace. I write books today because His grace that never let go of me.
Recently I was helping with a Release the Writer workshop conducted by Wendy Walters, who was instrumental in helping me get Sweet Grace to press. During the workshop I began to see how I have rediscovered my passion. Passion is this nebulous term the thing which energizes you just thinking about it.
I love to write. There is no doubt about it. Since 2013 I have written three books and two study guides of my own and helped several with their books. I’ve dabbled in editing and formatting. I’ve done quite a bit of speaking and coaching. Without a doubt, I love writing my own books. It’s what I live for.
Yet, there is another level. I love helping others write their stories. I love to feel that aha moment rise in them when they get the direction for a book or a chapter. It makes my day.
Deeper even than writing is weight loss coaching. I get energized helping people discover the power of God available to them for accomplishing a seemingly impossible task such as losing an extrema amount of weight.
I even love losing weight myself. It’s hard, yes, but when I know I’ve been obedient to God, that is the sweetest thing on earth.
During Release the Writer I clearly saw individuals on fire with purpose and passion for sharing their stories with the world. I also saw into the future how quickly that fire dies when a potential author doesn’t have someone to help them through the process. That’s what I love to do. I love being that person. So, I’m reopening Write the Vision Coaching group. For all the information just go HERE.
I’m on-fire with a renewed passion. Watch out, I might just reignite yours along the way.
Check out Teresa Shields Parker’s Sweet Series on Amazon. Her books include Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds, Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation, Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God’s Help, Sweet Grace Study Guide and Sweet Freedom Study Guide. Click any title to find that book on Amazon. Ebooks available under the products tab on this website.
12 Cor. 12:9 MSG