A few years ago I was encouraged to put my name forward for the position of school board trustee. I felt God prompting me, but I argued. My kids are young; they need me at home. Besides, what do I know about being a trustee? For several weeks I argued. Then, like Gideon, I put out my first fleece. OK, I'll ask my husband about it. If he supports the idea, maybe. When Kendall and I discussed it, he told me he would fully support me if I decided to put my name forward. Still I hesitated. Still I made excuses. Then came the second fleece - I'll ask some people I trust. If they all support me, I'll do it. My friends ALL encouraged me to go for it. Not one voiced any doubt. Finding no excuses left, I filled out the nomination papers and handed them in. I became one of four candidates for the position. Two of the candidates had experience in politics and were well known in the community. I was definitely "doing it afraid"! The vote was held, and I was elected. I continued "doing it afraid", leaving the safety and security of my position as stay-at-home Mom and wading into the politics of education.
A month after I was elected to the school board, we received a phone call. "Hi, this is Brenda. I'm phoning to let you know that the boys you adopted have a baby sister who is just a week old. The department is wondering if you would consider adopting her." We were told the baby had heart problems. We were also informed that we could become foster parents and have her join our family within a few weeks. Although we had four children, our youngest was seven. Because our children are all adopted, we had never cared for an infant before, let alone one with heart problems. As my husband and I walked into the hospital, I clutched his hand and shot quick prayers heavenward. We were taught how to care for her, given heart failure signs to watch for, and handed emergency contact numbers. Another opportunity to "do it afraid".
The next spring, I decided to enter The Word Guild's God Uses Ink Novice Contest. After I wrote my submission, I shared it with family and friends and asked for constructive criticism. It was the first time I had ever shared my writing with anyone other than immediate family or writing instructors. Many people told me they thought my piece was great. A few brave souls gave me suggestions to improve my writing. Many re-writes later, I submitted Gifts from a Loving God. Several weeks later, I was thrilled to find out I won first place in my age category. The prize was a free Write!Canada conference registration. My husband told me I had to attend. In June 2009, I said goodbye to my husband and children and flew to Ontario. At the conference I had the opportunity to learn different options for book publishing, interact with professional authors, network with publishers and editors, and pray about next steps in my writing. One of the suggestions was to start working on my author "platform", using Twitter.
Fast forward to today. I am still enjoying learning and serving my community as a trustee for Northern Lights School Division No. 69. Our family now consists of seven - our youngest daughter's adoption was finalized in 2009. I continue to tweet (@wwjdr). I have discovered Twitter is a wonderful way to network, find information, and have immediate contact and feedback with others. Through a Twitter friend, I received an invitation to be part of a panel at the Learning Disabilities Association of Alberta conference. The other members of the panel are the Minister of Education for Alberta and the Alberta Teachers' Association President. My gut response was, "Why me? Who am I?" But, now I am seeing it as another opportunity to "do it afraid".
How about you? What are you choosing to "do it afraid"?
|Ruth L. Snyder|
Follow Ruth on Twitter @wwjdr