I do not remember the exact day that I began writing "This is My Story". The truth is I had started writing it soon after God spoke to me concerning it. I began it in the notes on my phone, after a while I moved from my notes to a word document on my laptop. I ended up deleting 95% of what I had begun on my notes and basically started over.
I sat down to write and my mind would go blank... I quickly learned that as I walked in my freedom and relationship with God, the issues and pain I once had seemed to be erased from my recollection. I knew I needed to ask God for help.
When it was time to write, I put in my headphones and played worship music. I prayed, "God bless the work of my hands. Help me to only write what you want to be written, anoint my hands to write this book the way its supposed to be. Bring back into memory the parts of my testimony that need to be shared. In Jesus’ name amen!"
I would open my word document and God would bring back scenes from my past. I would close my eyes and God would show me exactly each situation. He would say, "Okay, put this in there," or "Write about this part," and "Talk about this relationship," or "Tell the story about when this happened."
As each part, story, situation, and issue came back into memory I wrote exactly that. I didn't have a certain plot or book layout that I followed. I just wrote what came to me. There were times where I would ask God, "Is this really necessary? Do I need to share this story?" He would tell me yes because he knew that even though I didn't want to share some things, it would help someone in the future.
Specifically, there is one chapter (Thinking in Silence) that I absolutely did not want to write about. My parents didn't even know this struggle that I had yet, and I definitely did not want anyone to know. I sort of argued with God about writing it and keeping it in the book.
The argument was short because God said, "Serena if you truly want to help people and reach teenagers today, this part of your story needs to be shared. Each part of what you overcame will reach at least one person, teenagers will be able to relate because this is something most of them are faced with today. The more real, raw, and vulnerable you are, the more people you can help!" I agreed and decided to look at the bigger picture.
As I wrote, it reminded me of where God had brought me from. It gave me a deeper love for Him as He showed me just how much He loves me. There were things He showed me that brought me to tears as I shared them. It also took me to experience more freedom.
Eventually, God helped me to put them into some sort of format. He showed me the 4 parts. He told me to put everything from my past in the 1st part as a representation of the old me. Then, the 2nd part would share the story of my transformation and how I encountered Him for the first time. Next, the 3rd part would share the wild ride of the house fire my family experienced in 2014 and would tell of His provision through it. Finally, part 4 would show how He took everything from part 1 and made all things new in my life, take you through some of my experiences and what I have learned since my relationship with Jesus began.
Once we developed the parts, it was pretty easy for me to separate the words I had written into chapters. God continued bringing even more chapters, scenes, and parts into memory that I added on and into each section of the book.
If I had to estimate how long it took to write the book I would say about a year and a half. It could have taken a lot less time but I was finishing high school, working, and other things that life entails. I believe if I would have sat down every day and wrote a decent amount and been diligent, it would have been done sooner. Although, I do believe that everything happens in its time and since God told me I was to publish at the age of 18, I didn't feel that much pressure.
If you're curious to know the backstory on how I knew I was supposed to write my book, you can read the introduction where I talk about what God spoke to me and where my confidence came for the book. Click the Home button to explore.
If you'd like a sneak peek of my book, click the button below and send me a question that you have for me (which I will answer in Part 4 of this blog series), and tell me your favorite one of my blog posts and I will email you back with the chapter of your choice.