One of the funny gifts of the internet are the friends I've never met. There are people who engage my writing and show up in my inbox, and each message feels like a reunion. I'm delighted to see their names that I recognize, and it feels like we're really going to hit it off someday when we finally meet in person.
S. is one of these people. We send each other quips and funny things, quotes and deep thoughts, and I delight in her existence though I've never met her. Recently, she wrote me this lovely letter, and I asked her permission to read it to you.
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Oh. My. Stars.
I'm writing to you with tears streaming, literally streaming, down my face (and eating chocolate, of course). First off, you know I am a fan, but you may not know that by day I am a mental health counselor. I work with families and marriages, particularly blended families and mostly women who've experienced trauma or abuse. It's my beautiful and painful calling.
I loved the line in You Can Do This where you said that Jana is your lighthouse. I very much hope I am that for my clients as well.
I just had to write to you today. I've "assigned" your book to half a dozen clients already, but today, one of my very lonely and broken gals came to spend an hour with me.
She's reading You Can Do This, and she's up to Chapter 6. She has done every single exercise in the book so far. She was so strong, far stronger than I have seen her in the past few months, most especially when she got to the chapter on six-word memoirs. She had written four, and she read them to me. Her voice was shaky, yet more confident than ever before.
Her final six-word memoir: "Took a Stand. I did it."
It was like she was a gorgeous lioness, shouting from the mountain. Seriously, the air in the room was different.
By the time she had finished proclaiming her truth, we were both bawling. I mean, like the ugly cry, right there together. I immediately stood up and hugged her. I affirmed her hard work, how deeply she is digging.
Listen to me very carefully here, my friend. Your words are changing lives, and you are making my life as a counselor so much easier. You will never ever know what you are giving people, how deeply they are digging, what revelations and truths they are discovering.
We literally ended our sessions in a prayer of gratitude for all the pain she is going through, but also for the discoveries, the truth, our connection, and for you and your words.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
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I am undone. I cannot believe God lets me be part of these stories, this healing, and his work. I am reminded that we never have to serve him, we only ever get to.
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"You know what you've written,
but you don't know what you've said until people start reading your book."
~ Emily P. Freeman,
blogger of Chatting at the Sky,
and author of A Million Little Ways and Simply Tuesday
Tricia, I am a former member of the Chapel and I know your lovely parents. I have followed your journey and have read all your books. After reading the last one, I purchased one for my younger sister who is recently divorced after 33 years of marriage, and has even been fighting for her life with with cancer the last year! She loved your book and I want you to know you have helped her to be stronger and more confident! Thank you for your heart to help other women through bad times!
I love this. I, too, went to Jana and I would definitely agree she is a lighthouse. Her wisdom directly from God continues to speak deep in my heart to this day.
Praise God for creating beauty from brokenness!
What a marvelous testimonial to the power of Papa God to use you as His pen to share His ink to those who are Holy-Spirit prepared and waiting. My advice is to keep a file of these types of letters for rainy days (we all have 'em) when you're considering taking the easy road for a change and quitting. I pull out my file from time to time and receive a special kick in the pants to keep going.
I read your book on a trip to a cabin with no internet or cell. It was you and me and you were sitting there talking to me and challenging me. Yep, you are changing lives! God talked to me through your book.
So so beautiful. This is why we write, Girlfriend! You should speak at a therapist convention!
Yes! You are making a difference. I sent you a private message on FB with a link to a FB live video my youngest daughter did and talked about how your words affected her.
Tricia - Wow !! How proud you should be !! You ARE making a difference - so awesome that all you've been through - YOUR healing is healing others !! YOU are SO SPECIAL !! Loved YOU CAN DO THIS!