Writing through Despair

2007. Not a good year.

We’d just moved to North Carolina from Florida. My husband spent long hours working at his new job, and as a writer who rarely left the house, I hadn’t developed a support system of friends yet. Lonely? You bet.

Uprooting our youngest son mid-year in 10th grade wasn’t ideal, so we arranged for him to stay and finish the school year. He spent the following summer in NC, but he missed his friends and decided to move back. Without telling us. Yeah. We were devastated.

That alone was tough, but on top of that, our oldest son, a Marine, faced another deployment. This time, though, suffering severe emotional and psychological trauma, he made a choice that altered his life forever.

My writing suffered. How could I create a romance when I stared down a deep black hole that threatened to swallow me whole? What about you? Are you drowning in despair? Here are some reminders that I needed:

Remember His promises. “Be strong and courageous…for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut 31:6 NIV) This is one of my favorites.

Realize you don’t control others. You can only control your actions and reactions. Let everything else go.

Recognize that you may need counseling. Although I might have been lonely, I wasn’t alone. God heard my cry, and He answered with a sweet husband who recognized that I needed help. My husband procured a Christian counselor for our family, and after a few sessions and much prayer, God broke the chains of despair.

Reminisce on God’s faithfulness. I’m no stranger to pain or suffering. As a child, I suffered third degree burns, which entailed numerous surgeries. I married as a teen, and when the marriage failed, I was left with trust issues and a precious 11-month-old to raise by myself (until I met my true soul mate six years later). God faithfully carried me through these tough times, so I trust Him to continue to do so.

Refocus and appreciate. Stop focusing inward. I began volunteering at a therapeutic horse ranch serving the special needs community. My issues seemed insignificant in comparison. And I learned to appreciate the perks of empty nesting. 🙂

Know God’s heart for you, and trust the road He has you on, even when you can’t see where it leads. 2007 was a tough year, but this is the journey God’s traveled with me since then: 

A healthy relationship with our now college-age son

Additions to our family 

My first writing contract and several more since then.

An encouraging, supportive group of writer friends

2013. It’s going to be a great year.

It’s a new day. A fresh slate for the year. 
Are you staring into the deep pit of despair?
Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning. Ps 30:5b NKJV

13 thoughts on “Writing through Despair

  1. Lived in the same town for 30yrs, been married 20 of those. Still don't have a system of friends here. I have ppl i say hi to in church on a Sunday, but that's it.Middle daughter moved out at 16 and in with her b/f, flying in the face of everything i tried to teach her. Tbh this yr can't get much worse. unless my knee packs up completely and leaves me housebound, but then thats not really any different to now.
    And the reason i write romance… someone has to have some love in their life.


  2. I hear you, Clare, but even better than that, God hears the cry of your heart. He'll carry you through this tough time and bring you to the other side of your pain. Love you, Clare, and wish I could give you a hug! Will you settle for a cyber-hug?


  3. Cyber hugs to both of you! I'm a loner too. I've isolated myself from the pain of life outside my haven. The pain inflicted by others is forgiven through my faith in God, but forgetting is a whole different story. I will be praying for all of us who suffer from isolation and loneliness. God is always near. Lean on the One who knows our needs.


  4. Thanks for sharing your personal story, Dora. I had no clue you'd lived those experiences.

    My husband and I were both previously married before finding each other. And during the first three years of what we expected would be bliss, we survived one crisis after the other, including the accidental death of his nineteen-year-old daughter two months after our wedding. But God is faithful. How blessed we are to have him and supportive people to surround us. Can't imagine what it would be like to go it alone without faith. I don't believe God wants us to suffer, but I do believe he can use what we've learned through our pain–whether it be through our writing or otherwise–to bless other people.

    You've blessed me with this post today. Thank you! Hugs!


  5. Oh, Dawn, what a heartbreaking experience! I'm so sorry.

    I can't imagine walking a valley like that alone and without the Great Comforter. Thanks for your hugs and your friendship, Dawn. 🙂


  6. I'm so so glad you stuck with it. What a blessing that God turned those experiences around, healed your family and repaid you for the year the locust had eaten. You are such a blessing.


  7. God turned the weeping into joy, the pain into peace, as only He can do.

    Thank you, Angie. I can't begin to tell you how much your friendship has meant to me during the last few years. Love you, sweet friend!


  8. It's amazing to learn of the things people have been through and are going through that we don't realize. Everyone faces tough times, but unfortunately, not everyone has the Lord to help them through. So glad you did, Dora.

    As a mother and a former “young person,” one of my favorite verses to recall is Proverbs 22:6: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” I think there is so much truth in those words.


  9. Thanks, Sandy. There's so much peace that comes from clinging to His promises.

    I trust that you're enjoying precious time with your daughter during this holiday season. My son leaves to go back on Thursday. Time flies by too quickly!


  10. Learning is tough sometimes, isn't it? It doesn't get easier as we age. I had that same conversation with my granddaughter not long ago when she giggled about helping my son study for a test he was taking for work.

    Thank you, Diane. Great to meet you. 🙂


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