Way back in December, I got an email from a girl named Samantha who wanted to share her story with me. I have to admit: the email got totally buried in my inbox. Blame it on a busy holiday season or just a totally forgetful brain of a girl who is really bad at responding to emails...
Fast forward to April, and she emailed again. Thank goodness for people who give me grace and don't give up on me even when I totally drop the ball! In her email, she shared that because of how things had played out since December, she now clearly knew the story she wanted to share. How cool is that? I never meant to leave her hanging for so long, but it was in that season that the Lord worked in her life to really bring about a story she wanted to share with the world.
She emailed me and shared so much about her life and I absolutely loved it! Email is not the best way to get to know somebody (I would always always rather meet someone face to face for coffee to really connect) but she was so warm and friendly and sweet and I knew we would get along great!
And guess what? I dropped the ball AGAIN. Like, come on, Rachel, EMAIL PEOPLE BACK. I felt horrible. I had read her email right when I got it and was so excited to reply...and then totally didn't.
She gave me even MORE grace. She STILL wanted to be part of this whole thing. I was shocked, honestly. I had totally let her down not once, but twice, and she still was willing to share her story with me, to be vulnerable with a stranger, and to let me publish her words for the world. Wow. That floored me. I had completely given her no reason to trust me...and she did anyway. I've seen so much grace and love come from her and it's been a beautiful thing.
That's what I love about this whole Story Seeker thing-- people that I never would have crossed paths with before, people I never would have gotten close to, people I would have never reached back out to again...they become people that change me. They become people that grow me, that inspire me, that move me, that push me to be better, and that remind me with their gracious hearts and their powerful words that our stories matter and are so worth sharing.
I am so honored to share Samantha's story with you. This girl is one of the good ones.
Hey there, I’m Samantha. I love writing, be it on my blog, movingpeaces.com or with my husband when we write songs together. We live happily in a little yellow house in Raleigh, NC, tucked between our garden of veggies in the backyard and the chocolate shop across the street out front. It sounds really cute and fun, but sometimes I struggle knowing how to tell people who I am or where I belong. Occasionally, I let my identity get caught up in other things--whether it’s my job, my husband’s job at church, my weaknesses or my strengths. Thankfully, there’s one identity that matters most and that’s in Jesus Christ.
Sometimes we think the story is already over when we’re barely halfway through it.
I have loved writing for as long as I can remember, although I haven’t always realized how important it was to me. My major was in journalism and mass communication, and my minor was in English. (I’m super well-rounded, huh?) The funny thing is, I didn’t actually know how much I loved writing until I wasn’t doing it.
By the end of graduation, I was newly engaged and offered a position in the public relations department of an ad agency. It wasn’t my dream job, but it was a job in my field that sounded glamorous to my peers and friends. I knew I would get good experience, and I needed some time to figure out what my dream job might be.
While I gained a variety of experience, it came at a cost. I worked crazy hours, was stressed out and spent the majority of my first year of marriage incredibly sick. I learned a lot at that job--that my marriage was a higher priority, that I had no interest in climbing a career ladder if it meant stepping on toes or pushing people aside in the process and that I believed I was meant for something more.
I found another job and found rest, but before long my husband and I felt it was time to move halfway across the country. That is another story for another time, but the short of it is this: we quit our jobs, said goodbye to our friends and picked up everything without jobs or guarantees waiting for us on the other side.
Having just moved on a whim, I found myself looking into a different career path and considering grad school. I began working in an administrative office at a major university and while I did well, I missed working creatively. I missed writing and challenging myself in the way that would best suit me. I couldn’t foresee a future in the field of higher education anymore, so I returned to what I knew by working in a web development agency.
I told myself this was the job I was going to stick with for awhile. It didn’t matter what happened, I needed a long-standing position on my resume. While I still missed writing, I figured I could make it work as a project manager. My determination was strong, but the business was not. Due to some financial instability, we all went weeks without our paychecks. Clients and employees were dropping, leaving me without much to do and no choice but to step away, too.
After all the struggle and effort, I felt like I came up short. A failure. Some days I wondered if my career was over forever, if I would never amount to anything. I questioned and doubted myself and my abilities. Was I weak? Incapable? Naive? Why had my career path looked like such a mess?
For nine months I scrambled and panicked--applying for jobs and desperately hoping for acceptance. Instead, I met rejection after rejection and was the “runner-up” job candidate on several occasions. In that time, I also managed to slowly open myself up to new opportunities. I finally shared my blog with more than just close friends and family. I planned the women’s event at my church, and I agreed to play in a band. My writing and creative work soared.
Then, in February, I was offered the job I had been looking for all along, a creative communications position with a small company. I felt triumphant as I accepted the position, grateful to have found my strengths and skills in the process. It was perfect, and I was ready to put those days of job struggles behind me.
It was then that I contacted Rachel about writing my story, thinking it was in the past. I was ready to look back at it with ease knowing that the hard part was behind me and the lessons were already learned.
I wanted this journey to be nicely wrapped and tied with a bow. Everything in me wanted to finish this story up and present it for all to see. I wanted to tell the story of success and accomplishment. Instead, here I am, vulnerable, exposed and recently unemployed. Just like that, my new job was gone, and my story started a new chapter.
That’s the thing with stories, they are never really over. Our life continues and it doesn’t all end in a bow. But the story still matters. It still carries impact, lessons learned and wisdom gained.
Your story matters, no matter what part of it you are on. I don’t know yet where my story will go, but I know I’ve grown so much in the process. My faith, my marriage, my friendships and my creativity are all stronger. Instead of panic for what is to come, I am so excited for the opportunities ahead of me. This story is not over yet, and I could not be more thrilled.