RLAG: Intention #1 – Surrender Your Fear By Julie Arduini
I want you to meet my friend, Julie Arduini. In the last year, I have watched her walk fearlessly through the door of opportunity. I know her story will inspire you to take courage and surrender your fear. - Kathy Vick
As a little girl the last thing anyone would have said about me was that I ran, ever. I was an awkward child who as a baby wore braces on my feet.
What people remember me by is that love to read, write, and talk. As a child, I memorized stories to pretend I was reading. I scribbled on pages of paper — it was my book. My first grade report card noted that I loved “to chat.”
Despite that foundation, I’ve only recently been actively writing. The little girl who loved to read and write stories grew into an older child who was overweight and the object of ridicule. During those years, writing was my refuge because I could control the characters’ lives during a time in my life when so much seemed out of control. Our family was navigating its way through alcoholism in a day when not much was known. Our way of dealing with it was not to deal with it. Writing was everything to me. By high school when I found the courage to share my writing with others, a teacher told me that a correspondence class had only invited me to join for their profit, not because I had talent. A student shared how sad it was I never had great English teachers because I didn’t get the proper skills to write seriously. Add all that up and I was an angry young adult who decided to play life safe.
Although I graduated in Communications, I made sure my classes were ones that would not challenge me. I gained a reputation in school as a strong interviewer and reporter, but I was too sensitive to dare pursue journalism. In my career, I worked with senior citizens, created publicity, partnered with the media, and I did my share of public speaking. Any spare minute I could, I wrote stories. Still, I would not share those stories in public.
Although it didn’t happen overnight, over tens years or so, I began to trust God as my Heavenly Daddy by believing in His Son, Jesus. In small ways, my anger evaporated towards all those difficult childhood memories. Our family was able to experience unity and total peace before my dad passed away in 2004.
Yet one thing from my childhood remained: fear. I had a strong marriage, two children, and a stay-at-home position I longed for. Those stories were on my bookshelf, and I had so many story ideas I wanted to put to paper. A family member paid for me to take the apprentice course with the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. Yet the words from high school haunted me. As the days passed, there was a competing voice. It wasn’t audible, but it was strong just the same, a stirring in my heart I knew was God. He was asking me to write for Him. I was terrified.
Again, writing actively wasn’t something I started right away. I prayed a lot. I worked with Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) in a role that was easy, safe, and comfortable, but I knew God was asking me to do more. After a few weeks of praying, I strongly felt I was to resign. I prayed for the next step.
There were different writing options to choose. I could submit articles for payment. I could dust off the old stories and polish them with the skills I acquired through the Christian Writers Guild. The direction I took was two-fold: I became a member of FaithWriters.com and I started researching blogs.
FaithWriters, with its supportive, family atmosphere, sharpened my writing with hope, not criticism. By faith, I entered the weekly challenge, quickly moving from the beginner to the advanced level in a month’s time. I joined the message boards and made friends who encouraged and advised me.
At this point I sent out invitations to friends to join my support team. I had a strong sense that being covered by their prayers was an important step in my writing. The group was in place before I wrote a single word.
I spent two months researching blogs. I learned what I liked, and what I didn’t. A friend helped me come up with a title about a Scribe. On December 31, 2006, 11:30pm, I published my first post as “The Surrendered Scribe.” The blog was my place to test the writing waters, to be transparent, and to try new things.
Within eight months the blog gained enough respect online that the administrators at the Christian Writers Forum asked for my input on how to start a blog. The concept is “A Day in the Life” where aspiring writers share their journey against the backdrop of their season of life. I remain the Sunday “mommy” blogger.
FaithWriters continued to open doors for me. I put my work in the free reprint section, which let ministries use it as long as they gave me the byline. By October 2007, what started as a free reprint story about overcoming fear after our daughter’s near death experience was featured in Lori Wagner’s book, Quilting Patches of Life.
After a year I felt it was time to branch out with something that would require deeper faith. I knew of two other women who were feeling the call to write but were unsure of how to start. I felt they were to join me with a new blog we would write together. At first they didn’t think it was meant for them. Together we became the Narrow Gate Girls. Our blog, the “Narrow Gate Invites,” tackles our experiences in Christ—our mistakes, our time in the Word, however God leads.
Eventually, two of my works were published in the Jan Ross/Jeanice McDade anthology: Women of Passions: Ordinary Women Serving an Extraordinary God. I also had a few stories on their main site, Heart of God International, newsletter.
The next step that was out of my comfort zone was writing fiction. I submitted a story for the Peculiar People’s Project. It will be featured in the Postcard Project, tentatively scheduled for 2009. Three other fiction works will be in future FaithWriters anthologies. I am absolutely convinced these things stem from my obedience to write, even when afraid.
Today besides the blogging, I am a monthly columnist with Take Root and Write, an online magazine that ministers to Christian women. More than 25 writers tackle over 40 subjects important to women. I write a column on “Finding Freedom Through Surrender” and recently signed on to write a column about striving for marital oneness.
Although the blog that started it all is called “The Surrendered Scribe”, I confess there is nothing surrendered in me yet. I’m in a constant state of surrender, and, I think I’ll always be. Just as I get comfortable, I feel the call to try something new. Even now I’m praying on the right timing to join American Christian Fiction Writers. Each new step I’m afraid. What if people make fun of me? What if I’m rejected? Those same little girl thoughts go through my mind. This time though, I don’t let fear stop me. Although I have awkward knees and turned in feet, I run like a girl when I write. Why? Because I embrace the idea that God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. I’m living proof.
Julie Arduini started http://thesurrenderedscribe.blogspot.com/ as her baby step to surrender her fears and write for the Lord. A graduate of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christians Writers Guild, Julie is also the Sunday “mommy” blogger with the http://www.christianwritersforum.com/Blog/. She also blogs with http://thenarrowgateinvites.blogspot.com/ and is a member of FaithWriters. Julie and her husband of nearly 12 years have two children and they live in Northeast Ohio. Beyond writing, Julie’s heart is for family, prayer, encouraging others, Beth Moore Bible studies and anything mocha.