Deciding to Share a Painful Life Story
By Carol Louise Sakwi
Why am I on this path?
Would I be flaunting myself by publishing my story?
Oh, I am so paranoid about what other people will think!
Thought patterns like this often flooded my mind.
I always enjoyed journaling especially as I did my devotions. Encouraged by a friend to journal answers to “who, what, when, where, and why” questions for my daily Bible readings, I began to lean on the Lord for guidance in my life. In receiving counselling as a young married mother, I was also encouraged to journal my story.
Thus, I began my joy of writing and my interest in writing the memoir – CADJO: Memories Last Forever.
THE TURNING POINT
Withdrawal from a prescription drug was the turning point in my life where I realized there was a definite battle happening. Satan would have me continue with my addiction and remain useless and unable to proclaim the glory of God, and Jesus would have me be victorious. He revealed verses of scripture that encouraged me along my path. Journaling the struggle, I knew I had a story worth sharing. Jesus was alive and had become so real to me.
Over the years I often put my story on the back burner with lame excuses …. I’m busy …. I’m working almost full time …. I’m enjoying my children and family …. I don’t have a proper computer, printer and desk.
QUESTIONS AND DOUBTS
And questions and doubts arose …. Does God really want me to publish my story? …. Is my writing good enough? …. Who do I think I am to tell the world my story?
Despite the doubts and fears, whenever I sat in church the Holy Spirit prompted me with thoughts of my book and to press on. The promptings never went away.
The fall of 2017, I set a goal to finish my manuscript. I was working minimal hours. I had a nice desk from Ikea facing a window with a western exposure and a lovely view of autumn-colored trees turning leafless and in time – laden with hora frost amidst the cold days of winter; a computer with a good and up-to-date program for writing and a nice printer. My husband and I lived in the country and our two children were married and living elsewhere. I really had no more excuses.
GOD WAS WORKING
I could also see other areas where God was working marvelously and miraculously.
I began exploring my identity and these chapters became an appropriate ending for my book. Only God could make that possible in His own special way by attending specifically to each detail!
Finding a publisher was an overwhelming process. I knew I didn’t have the patience to self-publish or to send my story to endless publishers. When I keyed in Christian Publishers in Manitoba on google, Word Alive Press flashed across the screen, perking my interest. Entering my story in the 2018 Women’s Journey of Faith contest, I waited and was excited to learn the following summer that I was on the short list with some financial credits towards publishing!
Financially, I always had a poor track record for meeting my monthly budget. Amazingly, through unforeseen circumstances, the Lord provided, and I was able to meet the financial commitment of publishing plus keep up with our personal budget.
GREATER DOUBTS AND FEARS
Once I knew my story would be published, greater doubts and fears came. Numerous times I thought:
I cannot go through with this!
Would I be judged for sharing very personal details of my life?
As a young girl encountering experiences in life that were traumatic, I was very vulnerable. Now the whole world would be reading about me and I’d be vulnerable all over again. Could I handle friends, neighbours, cousins, close family and strangers reading my story? Would I go crazy?
Exposing the sins of people in my life tormented and burdened me with guilt causing me sleepless nights. Memories of these loved ones would be tainted forever by those who knew them! Would they approve and give me their blessing? I did not want retribution, judgment, or to hurt anyone.
IGNORING THE STORMS
As I sought the Lord Jesus through His word and reached out to others for advice, encouragement and prayer, everything came together. In Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) it says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” He promised to have my back and look out for me. Darlene Martens, author of her memoir, Amazing Grace, Abounding Love advised me to ‘ignore the storms going on around you’. Proverbs 4:25 (NIV) says, “Let your gaze look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.” Persevering, I attended to the publishing details with the guidance of a consultant and editor at Word Alive Press. CADJO: Memories Last Forever was published in June of 2019.
At the end of my days, I visualize myself answering this question – Did I do my all for Him? I have trusted His promptings. I have listened. I have been obedient. I think I will know what the answer will be.
About this Contributor:
Thirty years in the making, CADJO: Memories Last Forever is Carol Louise Sakwi’s first book, a memoir that is said to be both ‘raw and real’. Carol is a mom of two children, both happily married and an oma of two grandchildren. She lives in eastern Manitoba close to the Whiteshell Provincial Park with her husband of 46 years. Inside of her is brewing another story yet to be told.
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