A Collection of YOUR Stories #EETreasuryOfBlogs October 2015

Writing is lonely business. Especially for those of us who haven't received the "validation" of a book contract or thousands of blog readers, we may wonder if we can even call ourselves "writers." I was there. I wrote in obscurity for decades before people started reading my words with any regularity. Today, I want to use my space to encourage you. To highlight the beautiful work you are doing. This past week I posted a call for submissions and am happy to present these fine pieces to you. Please take the time to leave a comment and follow these writers on Twitter. Here's what my agent always tells me: "If you can't NOT write, then you are a writer." Keep writing, friends. Your words MATTER.

Dear Congress, I write you this letter so that you can see the face of a survivor.  I write you this letter as someone who saw with my own eyes the horror of a mass shooting, a shooting that took the lives of my twin and younger sister and injured my father at New Life Church in December 2007. And most importantly I write this letter to open a dialogue about the role that gun violence has played in our country. —Laurie Works (blog) and @LaurieWorks (Twitter)

When a woman tells you her story, please don't ask why she never spoke up before, what she could/should have done to avoid it, or why she didn't press charges...If they tell you their story now they are being brave and need you to listen, believe them and don't search for a way to make their sexual abuse or rape their fault. Please just allow them a safe place to free that painful, awful secret. —Carole Turner Smith (blog) @CaroleTurner (Twitter)

These are lovely Scriptures, really, and they make such lovely memes when superimposed over pictures of babbling brooks, majestic mountains, or sandy shores. And for some people, that's what they need. But when you live with chronic anxiety sometimes those verses are a reminder that you've failed. You are a Bad Christian. —Rea Tschetter (blog) @ReaTschetter (Twitter)

While time seems to fly by, a lifetime can be pretty long. Our paths may once again cross with people we have shut out years ago. We might even need to ask for help from a person we'd long forgotten. —Stephen Robles (blog) @StephenRobles (Twitter)

Racism’s heritage still exists in theological institutions beyond the issue of slavery or inerrancy. Whenever we associate purity with whiteness (the song “Whiter than Snow”, for example); when students of color feel uncomfortable in chapel service; when a majority of the faculty do not reflect the diversity of our nation; such racism continues to manifest itself. When white students aren’t challenged to read people who are different and think differently from them, they believe their theology and practices are correct and the norm, thus implicitly presuming a white perspective is the best perspective.Kate Hanch (blog) @KateHanch (Twitter)

With God on their side, many Christians take the liberty afforded to them from on high to run roughshod over any boundaries I’ve set, even over boundaries set by societal norms, in order to convince me to change my ways. After all, the Word of the Lord will not return void. So who cares if anyone has a problem with it, amiright? —Dani Kelley (blog)  @danileekelley (Twitter)

Bravery is waking up each day and still being here.  The gift of a day has become almost a curse with a body that is not willing to cooperate; however, he still opens his eyes to face the day. It's the face of a ninety-one year old veteran, who still shares stories of life in Italy.  It is this man who has bravely lived life fully despite the loss of a wife and son many years before.  —Janene, Everyday Extraordinary @Everydayeo (Twitter)

What I needed was not to figure out what to do in the silence, but how to be at peace with it. How to be at peace with empty arms, a quiet house, no cradle in the nursery, no stroller on the sidewalk, no baby at my breast. How to be at peace in the silence..."LORD God, please look upon your servant's misery and grant her a child. I am your servant. May it be to me according to your will." This prayer has changed me. Yes I still long for a child, deeply. But when I pray this prayer, the excruciating hollowness inside me floods with peace. True peace. —Jillian Burden (blog) @jillian_burden (Twitter)

The church is supposed to be a safe haven for the hurting, a hospital for the sick, a lifeline for the drowning. People should be able to walk through the doors of every single Christian church and feel accepted, loved, and a sense of belonging. They should be safe. An overwhelming “we are so glad you are here” should be the church’s response. People should be able to bring their doubts, fears, insecurities, and baggage and find refuge,  peace, and protection. —Angela Clavijo (blog) @angelaclavijo (Twitter)

Modesty culture teaches men that women are scaryAll of them. All the time. Yes, you should “treat them like sisters,” but really, you should be terrified of them. They could “reduce your life to a loaf of bread.” It’s really best to domesticate them. We don’t want any wild and free women roaming the countryside, luring unsuspecting holy men.Women are powerful, a force to be reckoned with, and if you’re not careful, they will ruin you. That’s why women need to dress modestly, cover their power. So be cautious. Keep them at a distance, lest you be snared. —Jonathan Trotter (blog) @trotters41 (Twitter)

Depression is not fair. I hate that I find both relief and unspeakable loneliness in isolation. I hate that I struggle to connect with people, to find deep friendships. I hate that asking for help sometimes feels like putting a burden onto people I love, so sometimes I don't ask. My depression cycles always end at some point. That gives me great hope, or at least enough oomph to carry on. —Brenda Marie (blog)  @justbrendap (Twitter)

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