The Backstory – Part Deux

Last summer, with transformation on my mind, I was deciding between returning to my Bible study group (from Part One of my back-story) or attend one of the classes offered at my local church.


As I do, I prayed over the decision and because I never hear a booming voice or even a quiet whisper… I sat silent for moments each day, waiting until I started to lean in one direction consistently. Most often, this is how God speaks to me.


Some time in August, I was at a neighborhood picnic where I ran into a woman I knew through mutual acquaintances. It turns out we go to the same church. During our conversation, I learned she went through and now helps facilitate the class in which I was considering enrolling. Guess what?  The course was transformational for her.


I registered for the biblically based life coaching course called The Significant Woman™ (a resource of Campus Crusade for Christ). It was a chance to pause from the busyness of living and evaluate myself and my life. For the first time as an adult, I had the chance to let the biblical truth (that the good and bad in my life has been ON purpose and FOR a purpose) sink in and take hold.


The last nine years have involved all the normal adjustments one has after becoming a mother, corralling two little kids, living away from family, changing churches, moving into a house, and having another child…


Before all those things, I graduated high school and became a motherless daughter who grieved while going to college. Then I became a wife, a nurse (who saw horrific things on a daily basis) and a woman emotionally hobbling along after my husband’s brain surgery.


This course coincided with a point in my life where I could finally take a really long deep breath.


A few weeks in, I ran into the same woman from the neighborhood picnic. She asked me how the class was going. I laughed, “I’m afraid it’s going to change my life!”


Each Wednesday for two hours, I was given time to take inventory. I evaluated my personality  (I’m no longer the self proclaimed perfectionist Type A I thought I was when I was 17 … I’m actually very much the extrovert-who-needs-alone-time Type B), my life-shaping experiences (boiling it down, my life has been marked by Great Sadness and Great Joy), things I enjoy, and what I’m naturally good at doing. It was a time to look for where all of these important aspects of my life intersected with my God-given gifts.


Writing kept popping up as one of the things I liked to do and felt drawn to. I wanted it to be a bigger part of my life, as a source of both reflection and renewal. In my heart, I hoped and prayed writing could also encourage or enrich the lives of others.


In the middle of the semester, I ran into this friend, yet again. I thought what I said to her before was a bit dramatic (it couldn’t really change my life!) so this time I simply said something like “It’s going well and I’m learning a lot.”


Because, honestly. Change my life?


Somehow this nagging desire to write (and not just for myself in a journal or for my children, but for people to read)  was something I didn’t just want  to do, but felt like I was supposed to do it.


But I could not get past the fear. The paralyzing fear…


I am not a trained writer. I am not a grammatical genius who weaves words together so exquisitely, you’d cry at their beauty. I am inadequate and insecure and everything that has ever needed to be said has already been said. There is no need to add to this noisy world.


Yet — I do want my children to know who their mother is, in her own words. I do want my daughter to read words written directly and especially for her. I am willing to openly share my story of grief, disappointment, fear, grace, growth, hope and joy so overwhelming, it’s now “spilling over.”


I learned it’s okay to take chances. It’s okay to walk through open doors. It’s okay to be scared but also trusting God for just the next step. Unlike finding your way in the dark, it’s easier to walk forward when your path is lit and (at the very least) you know the direction you’re supposed to be going.


The course ended in mid-December. It was the end of January by the time I thought of Listen To Your Mother.  When the opportunity came to audition, scared as I was, I knew it was an open door to walk through.  (You can read about that part of my story here).


I share this for many reasons… I’d guess a lot of people find themselves in a place where they think “How did I get here?” and need an opportunity to pause, evaluate, and sometimes redirect. Just some questions for you:


  • Is there something you feel like you should be doing but are too scared to do?
  • Is there something you want to do, but it’s just not the right time? (My heart would love to use my nursing skills in the mission field. But now is not the time.  Maybe someday I can joyfully say Yes!)
  • Are you wondering Is There Something More For My Life?  (For a season, my whole world was enjoying/surviving each day with little kids. My most important job will always be Mom… but the job description looks different now than it did five years ago.)
  • Do you feel like you were created for a purpose?
  • Are you part of a group or community that encourages you to find your God-given passions and supports you as you live them out?
  • Are you encouraging those closest to you to seek and pursue opportunities which both fulfills them and serves others?


I needed to understand, if I was seeking God first, what I wanted to do and what God had for me to do were not in opposition to each other. I don’t know how long I will write or where this will lead, but I will continue to step forward with confidence and trust if this door shuts, another one will open in perfect time.

Sonya Spillmann


  1. I would LOVE to take this class. Is it still available?

    I have always been concerned that I am seeking God first when it comes to writing. It’s been hard to believe I am because writing has been something I wanted to do, but I didn’t really realize that until after I had my children. I was afraid that by then, it was too late. But I did it anyway, and I found that applying to a Christian MFA program was helpful, and also, showed me that while I might be the one pushing my pen across the page, God is the one who reveals Himself in my stories. I always see Him there, but I don’t always know that’s who I am looking for.

    • I’ll send you some info. My church may be doing another class in the fall. There is SO much more to this class (I wanted to be succinct in this post…) – the best part was coming up with a personal mission statement. It helps keep me focused when I start trying to fit myself into spaces where I really don’t belong.

  2. That sounds perfect. Trying to fit myself into spaces where I really don’t belong is probably the story of my life when I’m at my weakest.

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