Thursday, December 1, 2016

God Given Talent Isn't Enough...What He Expects

Photo by Mary Vee - Rocky Mountains, Montana
I met Angie Breidenbach at a Montana ACFW meeting held in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. She is a sweet friend who is always willing to help. A piece of trivia for you: Angie was Mrs. Montana. 

Driving through Montana you can't help but think about God. Rocky Mountains, vast flat ranch lands, rugged to the max. Breathtaking. Today we're talking about the talents God has given us. But possessing your talent just isn't enough. If we allow insecurities or other things to distract us from using these magnificent talents, then what good is it?

I asked Angie to share her thoughts...

God Given Talent isn't Enough...What He Expects 

I am a communicator, I talk a lot, write a lot, and connect.

There's irony in that statement because though we have natural talents and innate personalities, we still must learn the skills of how to use those talents to become who we are meant to be.

Coming from a home with a mentally ill mom, confusion reigned. Often I couldn't figure out who I was or what I was supposed to be. It seemed like the rest of the world understood how to interact in society and make friends. I couldn't even figure out how to talk to another person without being pegged an odd duck.

I learned to read and write at four. I'd journal, write poetry, and lyrics for songs. None of it done with any skill, just raw emotion. Emotion that had to get out to help me survive.

I married, too young, to escape.I didn't feel safe writing my thoughts or stories. I set all my writing aside, except for long letters home, for ten years in order to avoid arguments.

When my life changed again, I began journaling to ease my stress. For several months, I hid my writing. I still feared someone finding it and attacking me for my feelings or personal thoughts. About six months into being a single mom, I wasn't afraid any longer that someone would read it without my permission, but I still kept it hidden. My soul clicked back on. But I still had no skills, only the deep burning desire to write.

I searched for classes and support as a writer. I bought writing books and devoured them. I remarried and continued to take online classes while raising six kids and working full time. What I knew about me came from something I'd found in the Bible. I knew God knit me together in my mother's womb. He knit into me an all-consuming desire to write, speak, and share. I recognized one thing: A writer is who I am, who I was made to be. I still need skills, both in novel writing and in how to understand the publishing business world.

Friends materialized out of the fog. Friends that could bond with me on this road. I'd been so isolated, these special people helped me to build confidence, courage, and a sense of self. God poured into me through these beautiful friends at writing conferences and online. It started at the Idaho Writers League in 2004 where my contest submission actually won honorary mention. I wasn't a bad writer? 

There I found out about RWA (Romance Writers of America) and the Faith, Hope, and Love chapter for Christian writers. More friends added a rich quilt of love in my writing life, all writers running the same race. Here's a picture of the blogging buddies from our 2008 conference. 

The Lord knew I needed mentors. It took many, many people to help me crawl on my path until I could walk on my own two feet. But still, I link hands with my friends, and hope I offer a hand to another as I was offered.

Tamela Hancock Murray with me
at ACFW conference

I met my agent, Tamela Hancock Murray, because of another friend (Michelle Sutton). Tamela sold my first book, a non-fiction Christian living, Gems of Wisdom: For a Treasure-filled Life. 

Creative Cooking for Colitis and Creative Cooking for Simple Elegance  are books I'm also very proud to share.

Tamela called me a second time. My first novel, A Healing Heart, was accepted for publication. It released April 2013.

That last soul click taught me a missing link in my writing. Writing who I am is what I know and gives me a unique voice. I can write any genre, any location, anytime frame, any characters as long as I write from the depths of my soul, the depths of my experiences, the depths of my growth.

I have so much more to lean. But this late bloomer finally figured out that to live a fulfilling life, I have to be who God made me to be and write her into my books in order to make a ripple with my guppy tail in a great big ocean.

Interact with or learn more about Angela Breidenbach:

Website  |  Twitter  |   Facebook

Thank you, Angela, for joining us today. 

So, Reader, how can you break free and use those amazing talents God has given you? Is there something special you can do during this Advent season to let your talent sparkle? 

This post has been brought to you by the one word: SparklingAdvent

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