Taking a few Deep Breaths

In the next few weeks–especially this week and the third week in November–I will not be writing consistent daily posts, as I have over recent months. This is because conferences require a lot of emotional, physical and spiritual energy, leaving little for writing. So I am taking a few deep breaths, and doing what I have to, to make these weeks manageable.

As I am able, even during these busy stretches, I will write, but to keep a daily commitment is too much, especially in the next seven days. When I return, I plan to continue, on a more personal level, with sharing the impact my childhood had on our marriage, the battles we have fought and continue to, from time to time, when ‘the hell of it all’ strikes.

Because of the intensity of that part of my story, it is more than I am able to think on and write about when preparing for a conference. I have not even scraped the tip of that iceberg. It is quite possibly the most difficult thing I’ve tried to put into words so far. Anyone who has been through that battle in marriage, will understand this struggle.

During this time I will read all emails, and respond as I am able, though it may take longer than usual.

Thank you to each of you, for support and encouragement. To know that hundreds of people take time daily to read what my heart spills onto the screen, is touching and humbling. I pray always that God will make my words beautiful and bring hope to my readers. You certainly bless me!

Being Thanksgiving Day in Canada, I am thankful for God’s kindness to me. I thank Him for walking through the pain with me, so that I would be able to see how He was there all along. My prayer is that you too will know Him in your pain, your story and on your journey to freedom.

Happy  Thanksgiving!

© Trudy Metzger

Return to first post in Sexual Abuse Series

First Post in Spiritual Abuse Series

A Story Told Before Its Time: Forgiving, Releasing and Blessing My Father (Part 7)

Eight years into marriage, I decided I was ready to write my first book…. A manuscript that now rests on my bookshelf, collecting dust, waiting to be rewritten.

The book was about marriage and some of the difficult adjustments I went through because of my past. The kind of thing abuse victims would understand, and anyone who had a difficult childhood, or youth. I wrote about Dad. About always wanting to be his princess, his little girl, but being lost in a world of fear.

I wrote about discovering that I am my Heavenly Father’s Princess. That my Abba Father–the Daddy I always longed for–holds me in His heart. That He is proud of me. He adores me. And when my life is full of chaos, He quiets my restless spirit with His love, and sings over me with delight. (Zephaniah 3:17)

I knew no one back then, in the publishing world. I didn’t even know published authors I could contact. That’s when I remembered David Meece. Maybe, just maybe, he would endorse my book. He would most definitely understand my story and support me in getting it out.

I sent an email through David Meece’s website, asking if he might consider reading my manuscript and doing an endorsement.

His manager, Ladelle Peabody, from Tuscan Arizona, wrote back. She would pass the request on to David. In the meantime, would I consider meeting her in Toronto? She would be in for a visit soon.

Of course I would meet her! It felt odd. I, a plain Mennonite girl, meeting David Meece’s manager. Oh, and would I bring her a copy of the manuscript? She had connections at Waterbrook Press.

Would I? Seriously? Of course! I couldn’t believe it!

The day I met with Ladelle is forever etched in my memory. A young Mennonite school girl, about age twelve or thirteen, was kidnapped about five minutes away from our home, on our road. She was raped and returned to her family later that day.

Rage. Deep and dark.

I had to drive past the scene of the crime on my way to Tim’s work, before heading to Toronto. That day, in my little white bonnet and all, I discovered just how much buried rage bubbled below the surface, like a volcano waiting to erupt.

When I arrived at Tim’s work, having passed the scene of the crime only moments earlier, tears stained my face.

“I swear I would have shot him, if I had seen the rapist and had a gun. How can someone take an innocent little Mennonite girl and rape her?” I raged for a few moments, trying to wrap my head around it. I felt guilty then… How unChristian of me… And here I was, trying to publish a book about overcoming the past. A book to help people in marriage.

It felt hypocritical. More so than it was, really. I’ve learned since that the anger we feel when someone is victimized isn’t so bad, if managed well. Maybe pulling a gun isn’t the best first response, but the anger itself isn’t so bad. It will always be there. Innocent children should not be taken advantage of. No one should.

I met with Ladelle. She was a delightful, enthusiastic, Jesus-believer with a strong passion for youth. She shared of her involvement with Teen Challenge Arizona and her heart for helping people. She would take my manuscript and get it directly into the hands of the editor at Waterbrook Press. I thanked her, gave her the manuscript and we parted ways.

Several months later, on December 28, 2002, I got a polite ‘no thank you’ letter from Waterbrook. They were publishing another book too similar, they said. The editor wrote some nice comments about my book, about my writing style and wished me well.

I wasn’t ready for that world. The rejection cut deep. My story. Raw. Real. Painful.

….and rejected. Not good enough. I closed the pain down, steeled myself against the disappointment and threw a big party. Nothing like a good time to shut down the heart.

But God wasn’t finished. The closing chapter of my story with Dad was untold. And the manuscript was premature.

Overlapping with this writing journey, my father had been in and out of the hospital, and the rest of that story had yet to be written, let alone lived. And that part of Dad’s journey would change my story.

To Be Continued….

© Trudy Metzger

Return to first post in Sexual Abuse Series

First Post in Spiritual Abuse Series

Blogging Daily–How Do I Do it? You Ask…

Before I return to blogging about Sexual Abuse & Violence, and their impact on the church, I will answer a question I am asked quite frequently.

Some of you picture me at my computer, spending many hours writing to get my daily post out. In fact, I don’t. It is 11:29pm, and I am just starting my post for tomorrow morning. I’m a bit late tonight. I try not to do this, but it’s how my day turned out.

I have a Faith Girls Unleashed women’s conference coming up in Canton Ohio, October 11 & 12, at the North Industry Christian Church and my day was invested, from morning until night, in the logistics, and various admin aspects of the event. This prevented me from getting at my writing. And that has been the case for the past few days.

Typically, I prefer to write in the morning, immediately after posting my blog for the day, and getting it done as quickly as possible. Fortunately I took typing in Grade 9, with my dad’s treasured typewriter, learning proper finger placement and key memorization. While I was not good at it then, I never forgot those details, and it serves me well now.

About eleven years ago Tim bought me a computer and gradually I taught myself how to use it. While pregnant with our youngest son, the following year, I completed an entire manuscript for a book on marriage. (I have a polite rejection letter from the editor at Waterbrook Press, telling me she read the manuscript but, alas, they are publishing one too similar.)

When I first started, I could type approximately 10 words per minute, on a good day. Often when I timed myself, it was only 5, but gradually I improved. Over time my speed picked up, as did my writing skills, moving to 20, then 30 and better. Now, if I lay aside all distractions and know my story, or topic, I type non-stop at anywhere from 40 to 60 words a minute. I’ve had a lot of practice communicating, both orally and in writing, making it easier for me to finish without encountering writer’s block.

And, because I write mostly about life experience and topics about which I am very passionate, everything I write is premeditated. I know what I want to tell the world. I know the message I want to communicate, so when I sit down, my thoughts are usually well ahead of my fingers, preventing a delay and virtually eliminating writer’s block.

It is now 11:42. I have typed approximately 31 words a minute, while watching the news and pausing to talk with several family members, and my post is at least half done. (My goal is to stay at 800 words or less, though I have failed miserably in this area recently. It’s hard to interrupt a story, when it needs telling and there are details that make it more interesting.)

When I have finished typing a post, I don’t edit it. This is blogging. I’ve heard it referred to as ‘glorified graffiti’. And, while I don’t agree with that harsh judgement, I do agree that it is a less formal way of writing and should have a warm, conversational feel to it, minus the formality of a text-book or other formal book.

Before posting in the morning, I read through once looking for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and ensuring good syntax. While I read through, I watch for spots where a picture might help communicate the message, or compliment it.

Occasionally I even choose a picture that will create an inaccurate mental image, for example when telling someone else’s story, to protect the identity of the person I’m writing about. Typically I keep the gender of the character as it really is, though I have on very rare occasions and in extreme situations, changed the gender to protect a vulnerable individual.

When I have read through the blog, corrected any glaring mistakes, and added the appropriate pictures, I schedule it to post at about 12:05am, so that it is ready for me to post to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, in the morning. But, as I said, lately I have not kept to this schedule. Life has been busier and I end up doing my writing at night, and doing the read through and pictures in the morning.

And that is what I plan to do again tomorrow morning. It is now 11:53m. I have typed almost 800 words and my post is ready for the ‘once over’ and photos first thing in the morning. It has taken me 24 minutes to do this post, at approximately 32 words a minute including interruptions, but not including the 20 to 30 minutes I will spend tomorrow morning for final touches and photos.

Now you know how I do it. As fast as I am able, so that I can move on to other things.

Of course there is always the risk that in the morning I will have thought of something else I should add. (Wonder what made me think of that?) Oh, yes…. It is morning and I thought I should explain why I write frequently.

I did some research a while back to find out what is the best way, as a relatively new blogger, to impact a larger audience. Numerous sites all gave one consistent tip: write frequently, daily, or up to three times daily, if you can manage it. That was mid-May. At that time I had approximately 5500 hits on my blog, since starting in summer of 2010. I am now up to 40,450, so that is 35,000 in three months time, and growing.

Lest you worry that this is an ego trip, let me explain my purpose. Currently I’m writing my life story in book form. The book is roughly 50% complete, and that is where it needs to stay for now, if I want to find a traditional publisher. (I hear their editors like to boss writers around a little bit and tell them how to write their books… I suppose we need that extra set of eyes.)

That being said, if a blogger is able to generate over 60,000 hits in a month, they say a publisher is a influenced by that, and therefore far more likely to look at their manuscript. At 60,000 hits a month, the daily goal is roughly 2000 and currently I average between 600 and 700, so I am about one-fourth of the way there since I started blogging regularly three months ago.

Besides having my story about half done, I also have a book in progress where I talk about some of the impact abuse and violence had on my life. I write about the process of overcoming fear, shame, guilt, as well as learning to do healthy relationships. And then I have another ten book ideas, some of which already have a few chapters written.

So my goal is to show a publisher that there is a need for this kind of material. That there are, in fact, people who read it. And, more importantly, (to them) that I am able to hold an audience.

When I started blogging, I told God, “I will write for an audience of One, and that’s enough. Whomever I am able to impact in the process, I am thankful for.”

That probably sounds like I’m uber-righteous… almost a saint. But I’m not. And that is just why it is important that I write for Him. Otherwise I could fall into the trap of writing for popular opinion. I could avoid speaking truth (God’s truth) into topics that make people angry. Like abortion, homosexuality, sexual purity, Jesus as ‘the Way’, and many more. When I write for an audience of One, and feel He blesses me when all is said and done, then I avoid that trap.

In the process I have discovered that I love blogging and writing daily. I expect I will continue, though, with time, I will cut back to 2 or 3 posts a week, and let people get caught up, and stay caught up. (Everyone tells me I write so much they can never catch up.)

Most of all I love your comments on the blog, as well as many private emails and the stories you have shared with me. This people contact is amazing. You have encouraged, supported and blessed me in ways I never expected when I started this commitment. You have shared your hearts, your pain and your disappointments, letting me know how blessed you are. And that blesses me!

I have reconnected with friends from days gone by. In fact, just yesterday I heard from Sandra, wife of Bishop Stephen Ebersole, whom I mention in A Silent Torment, A Gentle Haven.

All in all, it is a wonderful and rewarding experience! Thank you for making it that!

Ps. I have nearly doubled my blog length this morning to that forbidden ‘over 1000 words’ length….

Thank you for reading my blog!

© Trudy Metzger

Return to 1st post in Sexual Abuse Series

Spiritual Abuse Series, Introduction

Enter to win the August Book Draw

See Previous Month’s Book Winner