The average eye blinks every 5 seconds. That’s 17,000 times each day! Although this seems like a useless tidbit of information…it’s really got me flustered. What if our lives are defined by moments that—like the blink of an eye—pass so often we don’t notice that we’ve blinked?
I’m a lover of moments. Big moments, small moments—light, heavy, and meaningful moments—playful moments and moments dense with change. I don’t want to miss these holy markers that define my life.
Within this kaleidoscope some moments stand out. They push themselves to center stage and shout “Watch me!” These are Watershed Moments. Turning points brought on by circumstances that stop us in our tracks. Some call it an epiphany. A moment when everything changes. A point in time when nothing is ever the same.
The first Watershed Moment I recall happened as I sipped a Coke on an airplane. Between college semesters I was returning home from a visit to see my baseball playing boyfriend (now husband) who had just been drafted to play professional ball. A new believer in Christ, I was drinking in the words to the first God-centered book I had ever read. Tears streamed into my cup of Coke as I whispered a desperate prayer:
“I want to write books. I have to write books.”
That day, nestled in the puffy clouds of sky and the drone of jet engines, a Watershed Moment shaped the dreams and vision of a young girl longing for purpose and a pen. In the blink of an eye my life changed. I knew my charge—I would be a harvester of words; a gatekeeper to meaning.
Somewhere in the back of my head I thought it’d be easy. Get an idea…get an agent…get a book deal. But easy isn’t one of God’s favorite words. I think He prefers patient, faithful, enduring, trusting, and alert. I knew I’d experienced a Watershed on that plane, but I couldn’t figure out why this process was so challenging. The best advice I ever received was “Write for anyone who’ll give you a byline and a cup of coffee…” And so I did.
- I wrote for a small newspaper called The Colorado Christian News
- I wrote sports features for a magazine called Sports Spectrum
- I wrote mini-booklets for the International Bible Society
- I taught elementary school for 16 years where I nurtured third graders’ love for writing and learned how to revise and edit like a pro
- I wrote and taught bible studies God seared into my spirit through the prose of life
- I blogged, Tweeted, and Facebooked messages to anyone willing to listen
- I went to writing conferences and bravely shared my love for words
And finally, twenty-five years after that plane ride and a tear-filled cup of Coke, I got my first book deal.
I joined the Zondervan family with a three book deal that continues to thrill me. My first book, Spirit Hunger, is a gutsy look at prayer and belief. Watershed Moments (releasing in the fall) nudges us to notice the moments that bring clarity and change. And the third book? Not sure yet, it’s still being written on the pages of my mind.
So here’s what I say to those that courageously share their lifeblood with readers, and harbor hope for a “next step” with their writing:
Sweet friends, your Watershed Moment will come.
It may come in a conversation you have with just the right blogger who becomes a good friend. It may come with just the right editor who loves your spark, or an agent willing to hold your hand. Most important—it may come from your Father who whispers “Well done” as you offer your dreams as a word harvester to the one who causes your words to grow.
Can’t wait to put a hug around your neck at the conference this weekend!
Gari is a writer, speaker, and a teacher. She loves nothing more than sharing God’s word with anyone who’ll listen. She adores anything shabby chic, and spends countless hours at baseball games as she and her baseball man have been in the pros for over thirty years.