Monday, November 10, 2008

Entry #1: God Raised Her Up!

My Struggles Aren't in Vain

Submitted by B.J. Hamrick

It was the summer of 2001, and I was 17 years old. I wanted only one thing that summer: to die. For seven years I'd struggled with a condition that affected my brain and my heart – leaving me depressed, alone, and afraid. I wanted to end it all.

Then I met Annette.

It was an accident, actually. I was surfing the Web one day when I came across Teen Light Magazine, an online journal published by a local journalist named Annette Dammer. I submitted poetry to the site, and Annette immediately e-mailed me back.

"This is great!" she said. "You have a gift."

At first I didn't believe her, but I kept writing. Working for Teen Light gave me something to do on dark sleepless nights – nights when the pain was so great I wanted to die – nights when suicidal thoughts raged through my mind.

Annette's words kept coming back to me. "You have a gift…" The question haunted me: could she be right? What if writing was the reason God had put me on earth? What if my life actually had a purpose? What if I could write to encourage others – even if I had to do it from my mattress?

Slowly, Annette gained my trust. I told her about myself, about my illness, and about the hopelessness I felt inside. "God is using you," she told me. "Don't give up."

That summer, Annette taught me how to write a query letter. She slammed my inbox with writing-market information. Before long, I started to secretly send out queries. My first article was publishedby Focus on the Family Magazine the next Fall.

I danced around the living room as the slippery white pages rubbed against my fingers. At that moment, something inside of me came alive. I knew: my struggles weren't in vain. God was using them to encourage other hurting people through the words He gave me.

It's been five years since the day I danced around my living room. Five years since I wrote my first query letter. Five years, and I've been published over 50 times – each article a gentle miracle from God's hand. But there's another miracle from God's hand: the miracle of my healing. One year ago, He touched my body and made me whole.

Then the real crisis came. What should I do with my life? What should I do with my newfound health? I spent months on my knees before God, crying out for guidance.

The answer came clearly one cold winter day: go to journalism school.

"Journalism school?" my friends asked. "Are you crazy? Writing is a hobby – not a calling. Why be a journalist when there were so many other jobs out there?"

My answer was simple: everyone has a story. Every story needs to be told.

From the beginning of time, God penned the words of your life in His book. You may not understand why He chooses the tragic – the painful– or difficult moments.

But you'll love the ending – if you'll stick around long enough to see how it turns out.

I'm so glad I did.



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3 comments:

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi -

Wonderful, inspiring story! Thank you.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Stephanie Craig said...

What a beautiful story. I hope to read more work from you someday.

BJ Hamrick said...

Thanks, Susan and Stephanie, for your kind words.

You can visit my blog, updated 2-3 times weekly here: www.xanga.com/writebrained

Or you can visit my website here: www.bjhamrick.com