This story was actually for my Children’s Literature class, not my writing class. We were assigned to take a classic fairytale and put our own spin on it, and then had to record it as we told the story.
I told the story of Snow White
I once had a mother that I very much wish I knew. But if she was still here, I probably wouldn’t be telling this story to you. You see my mother died right after I arrived and that was that. My father moved on, married another woman, and forgot my mother all in a drop of a hat. You see, this new mother was beautiful, but it was all a game. She would never be a mother to me, all because of my name.
Anastasia White is what my mother deemed me right before she passed. I had beautiful black hair, ruby red lips, and porcelain skin just like she’d asked. Anastasia means resurrection in Greek I’m told, but we’ll talk about that a little later. Let’s get back to my step mother and I’ll tell you how I came to hate her.
Gazing into the bathroom mirror my step mother would stand for hours. Marveling at her beauty I suppose as if the mirror had some special powers. I walked by one day and thought I heard her speaking.
“Mirror, mirror,” I snickered, but just maybe the truth was leaking.
My step mother never liked me, but as I got older her temper had become much worse. She could no longer bear to look at me, for when she did my father would have to buy her a more expensive purse.
“You sure have grown to be beautiful,” my father said just once.
“Your mother would be proud.”
Indeed, I was very beautiful, but not the way my step mother was. My beauty didn’t have to be so loud.
On the day I turned seven my step mother started mentioning boarding school.
“Let’s send her away to Europe,” my Father agreed. Assuming his role as the mesmerized fool.
So off I went to boarding school that offered seven prestigious courses. Each one helped the other one to make me wiser than the next, possibly wiser than my step mother’s evil forces. I thrived as I learned with a mind that now matched my beauty. A servant’s heart I now had earned as I made friends and helped others as if it were my unspoken duty. But when summer break arrived and I was all set to go home, my step mother had found me a summer camp where I would be sent all alone.
At first her depictions were cleverly sweet and I thought that camp might be exciting. But once I got there I found that it was for troubled kids and it was more terrifying than inviting. I asked myself what I’d done to deserve this marooning. Little did I know she’d been feeding my father stories of skipping classes and failed grades, but that she had found a special school perfect for my pruning.
How did she pull this off you ask? Was my father just that blind? Well her beauty served as her mask, you see. And somehow it made my father lose his mind.
School days went on and summers at the camp did too. But having me away wasn’t enough and my step mother’s hate still ensued. She had received all of my A’s, my accomplishments, and my dazzling school pictures. I knew she had hidden them all from my father and imagined her again in front of her favorite bathroom fixture.
“Mirror, Mirror, show me one more fair.”
And in the mirror again I appeared with my ruby red lips, porcelain skin, and my flowing black hair.
She tried to take my life from me. She hid my success and trap me in her little glass case. She tried to keep control of me, and then tortured me because she was jealous of my face. Years went by and I felt like I was fast asleep. I had no real mother that would hear my cries, not even a shoulder on which to weep.
One day along came a young man. He was smart and kind and he supported me and then he asked me for my hand. We planned to marry as soon as we could. I told him all about my step mother’s evil schemes and we both wanted her gone for good.
We invited her to the wedding not knowing if she would come. She couldn’t stand to see my face anymore, but she still had a battle that must be won. We knew she would try to steal this day for her own glory. And that’s why we planned very carefully, so that we could give new life to my life story.
She and my father arrived with the other guests and the wedding was truly grand. We turned to face the world together as husband and wife, my hand in his hand. The night went on and the other guests started to leave. Now it was time to make our move, a new breath of freedom I would soon breathe.
“Father, Step Mother come here, we’ve planned for you a special treat. Sit down now, he’s coming over, I just can’t wait for you all to meet.”
We all sat down with Doc, a professor from my college. He was a professor of English and we’d asked him to share some knowledge. We told him of my step mother’s game, and he was the one to show me the meaning of my name.
“You may think you’ve lost your life to her, Anastasia, but you have just begun. Your name means resurrection my dear, and your new journey is going to be so much fun.”
Doc told my father and step mother a story of an evil queen. The queen tried to kill a princess who was more beautiful she. Eventually the queen was caught and everyone saw her for what she was and what she was not. The queen’s life rightfully ended and the princess had prevailed. The evil queen was made to dance on hot coals until she died, no matter how she wailed. My step mother couldn’t sit still, as the story set in. She knew I was not so dumb, and that this battle she would never win.
We said goodbye to them that night, and it was the last of them we would see. I thought my life had ended as Anastasia White, but now I was free to just be me.
Hey, I’ve missed you readers! You haven’t heard from me in awhile, but not because I haven’t been writing. I’ve been writing a lot! More than two thousand words a week actually! And now I actually feel like a writer! A for real writer!
This semester one of my classes is a fiction writing class, and you know what? I LOVE IT!!! Each week we are assigned to write the first page of a short story while following a prompt with narrative crafts we learned that week. It is actually the most fun I have had while writing in, well, ever! So…I decided to share some of my fiction writing with you! Love it, hate it, read it, delete it, do whatever you want with it. It doesn’t matter because, it ain’t even true!
Story one prompt – Juggling Craft: The setting should be a physical activity you are familiar with. Use 3 terms specific to that activity. Switch back and forth 3 times from physical activity to internal emotion. Include a flashback and a song lyric.
I started classes at the end of August and they’ve kept me crazy busy. I’ve been writing thousands of words a week and am being challenged more than I imagined, but I really miss this blog.
I reminded myself today that I asked God for this. I asked for the challenge and trials to make me brave. And now it’s right here in front of me! I get to read and write, create, dream, and share.
But as much as I am thankful my prayer was answered, I still get a little bit scared. It was so much easier saying I wanted to be a writer, but now I actually have to come up with real words!
I’ll try to share some of my projects with you as I complete them, but they are mostly fiction. This is a new thing for me, I always thought I’d write more self-help and motivation. But as I dig deeper into the craft I really like them both. And maybe fiction isn’t your style because it’s all made up. But I’ve learned it holds some lessons inside that we can apply to so many situations.
Give it a chance! I am!
I’ve been long distance running for 6 years now. I’ve completed several half marathons, 5k’s, 10k’s, and completed the 1000 miles in a year challenge. I love running so much that I will run through almost anything. But lately I’ve been having some hip pain and have been doing more walks at night instead of running. This is thirty, friends, when things start to hurt, and ache, and swell, and break. I worried about what could be causing my hip pain, and thanks be to Google and WebMD, I decided I probably just needed new running shoes.
So over the weekend I bought a new pair of running shoes. I asked the salesman for a pair of Brooks that were supportive and comfortable. He came out with only one box of shoes and went on to explain all the levels of support and the addition of something called Guide Rails on the midsoles. He laced them on my feet, I stood up, took a little walk around him and said these are comfy, I’ll take them! Out the door we went and I made a mental note to Google Guide Rails.
As I think on it now it’s kind of funny. How I worried over this pain and pushed through it to prove nothing other than I was stubborn. And all I really needed was a more supportive shoe. But isn’t that what we do so often when we feel aches and pains in our lives?
We worry, we stress, we crumble, and then we try to push through, we hustle, we persevere, and we fight. Sometimes we succeed with these patterns and sometimes we fail, but let me ask you something? Could the pain have been more bearable if we had more support? If we had a guide rail?
According to the Brooks Running website, “GuideRails® allow your hips, knees, and joints to move within their unique motion path while you run – all without traditional posts. This innovative new form of stability doesn’t “correct” your stride. Instead, it assists your body in finding its natural path, or Stride Signature.”
I LOVE this definition. You know what this is saying? It’s saying it’s ok to ask for help when we need it friends, and just because you do it doesn’t have to correct you and say you were doing it all wrong. Instead it redirects you and says let me just run right here with you.
God provides Guide Rails in His word, in our relationship with Him, and in people He sends our way. So stop being afraid to ask for help. Stop walking with a hurt hip. Get support. Find your Guide Rail and run in faith.
“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters wherever You would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander. And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.” Oceans – Hillsong UNITED
I’ve sung this song so many times and prayed this prayer over and over again. I’ve asked God to use me. To let me be a part of His plan. To give me words to speak, words to write, and songs to sing that mean something. I’ve asked God to give me a purposeful life that brings others closer to Him.
And then He did.
God gave me the desire to start this blog and gave me words to fill posts. God gave me the opportunity to go back to school to pursue a degree in English. God gave me stages to sing on. And God gave me a women’s ministry to share in leading. God delivered my Oceans.
God called me out into every ocean I wanted to walk upon, but as soon as I looked down to see where I was, I started to sink. These were new waters for me. These were deep oceans full of unknowns and I quickly found myself very afraid. I could no longer stay above the waves that all seemed to hit one after another. I began to choke on my words and my prayers and doubt the depth of my faith. I was afraid that my words weren’t enough. I was afraid going back to school was the wrong decision. I was afraid my voice didn’t need to be heard. And I was afraid that I wasn’t qualified to lead women. I was letting my lungs fill up with the ugly lies that float all around us. These lies tell us that we are not who God says we are. And I was so afraid of the unknown that I believed them. Finally, as the lies kept flowing in they were building and building, and soon they began to choke out my breath of life.
You see in my desperation to stay afloat I had missed the whole point.
My struggle to swim was necessary.
Joseph Habedank sings a song called, “Deeper Oceans,” and the lyrics reminded me that God’s love is hard to believe and it’s hard to explain because He can use both. He takes both sin and strength to deliver a blessing. God’s mercy is sweet and His forgiveness washes over us with waves of His forgetfulness. He is the God that digs deeper oceans that carve out a way for us. No matter how deep, no matter how dark, He goes lower and He shines brighter. So what if I’m in deep. God is not surprised when I sink into the Oceans I’ve prayed to walk on. He’s got me. In fact, He’s digging my ocean even lower now to hold me, grow me, and show me that only He can bring me up when He says it’s time.
What this time of questioning and uncertainty has taught me is that we need both. We need the setbacks to forge on ahead. We need suffering to experience joy. We need criticism to champion life. We need the heartbreaks to love others well. We need to fall down so that we can help others up.
So now I’ll take both. Give me the uncertainty if it means I’ll know God more. Give me both.
Push ‘em away!
You know those little lies your mind tells you? Lies that say you’re never going to get there. Lies that say you’re not strong enough to change. Lies that speak loud to all of your insecurities and can crumble you in four small words. You. Are. Not. Enough.
Push ‘Em Away! Don’t believe them for a second because they don’t know you. They don’t know where you’ve been and how far you’ve come. And they don’t care. All they want is your fear. They feed on it and the more you hand them, the more powerful they become. I’ve given in to them. I’ve let them eat away at my confidence, and gnaw on my strengths. Until one day, someone reminded me that I didn’t have to hold on to these lies anymore. All I had to do was Push ‘Em Away!
Look at this semi tire that I’m lifting up and then slamming to the ground over and over again. It’s heavy. It’s hard work. And it hurts. But I get a little stronger with each flip. Now, look at those lies again. They’re heavy. It’s not going to be easy to pick them up and take control. And it’s going to hurt. But you’re going to get a little bit stronger with each flip.
So lift up those lies, see them for what they are, and then Push ‘Em Away!
Yesterday I decided to take the day off of work and not because I was sick, but because I was worn down in a lot of ways. And then in true B fashion, I immediately started feeling guilty about it all day. I kept thinking everyone else at my job is tired too, but they aren’t staying home. Everyone else at work has worked longer hours than me and they showed up. I am being an emotional woman. I am being a silly woman. They are so much better than me. They are pushing through.
But sometimes I don’t think we should just push through.
Sometimes I think we need to purposefully stop what we are doing and take a breath so that we can make sure we are going the right direction.
Yesterday I needed quiet, I needed rest, I needed my babes, and I needed time to refocus my priorities, goals, and my emotions. And I think that’s ok. And I think if someone else doesn’t think that’s ok, then it’s still ok because they don’t get to decide.
I have struggled so much with what others are going to think of my decisions. When I say so much, I mean so much it eats me alive. I lay awake at night worrying about what I could have done better or what I could have said differently. I go into every situation with hesitation because someone could think I’m making the wrong move.
And I know I’m not alone. I know some of you are feeling this too. So let me tell you something. It’s ok to assess the feelings of others when making decisions. It’s really good to do that, but when the opinions of others rise above God’s voice in your ear, it becomes a sin. When you get so wrapped up in obeying the demands and meeting the emotional needs of those around you, you are acting on behalf of yourself instead of truly being a woman used by God. You are not trusting God to be God. Believe me, I know this is true because I’ve done it. I’ve lived it and called it God’s work. But it’s not. I realize that now and want to tell you it can get better.
If we want to be women on fire for Jesus we need to stop sometimes. We need to feel sometimes. We need to talk sometimes. We need to quiet down sometimes. If we want to be women leading other women to Jesus instead of to the world, we need a day off sometimes to check our maps.
I saw this shirt worn by one of my favorite speakers and servants of God, Christine Caine, and knew I needed it. I don’t always live up to these adjectives, but I want to try harder. I want to stop being so afraid of the voice God has stirred up in me because someone may not be ready to hear it. Thank you to my girl, Cassie, for making me my own version of this shirt to remind me that there is so much freedom when we give ourselves a day off to see where we are.
If I could add just one more description to this shirt, it would be Willing Woman. Let’s be women willing to do the work in our hearts. Willing to process our emotions even if it hurts, even if it inconveniences someone else, even if no one else notices, even if it means we have to make a change. I want so badly to be a Willing Woman. Willing to give up acceptance of others, but even more willing to give up myself.
“Owning your story is the bravest thing you’ll ever do.” – Brené Brown
We spend a good part of our lives trying to hide the not so good parts of our stories. We hold in our struggles and sins, our hurts and brokenness, and our fears and failures. We do this because we worry about what people might think of us if they knew the truth about who we are. But when we do this we are only hurting ourselves and missing out on opportunities to speak into the lives of the people around us.
Being brave is really hard, but I have learned that it’s also incredibly freeing. The more I open up, the more freedom I pass on to others to do the same. As I’ve let down some of my walls and shared words that I’ve been afraid to speak, I have been met with acceptance and understanding, and many of my relationships have become the strongest they’ve ever been.
Our stories matter. They’re what makes you, you and what makes me, me. We shouldn’t be afraid or ashamed of our pasts or our current situations. We should only be thankful for the testimonies that are being lived out and the opportunity we have to be restored.
I want to be the most real with you now, and I might show you a Brooke you’ve never seen. I don’t fully know what that’s going to look like, but I do know what I want it all to mean. I hope to show you grace I’ve found in some different places and hand you the freedom to do the same. I hope to show you that letting go is so much easier than playing game after game. I hope you can take something from this that brings you closer to who you should be. And really I just want to thank you for reading and for letting me be B.
Today was Rove Spring Day. Rove is this budding new thing that Bethany and I simply marvel over with open hands and open hearts to God. God has given us a vision for Rove. He’s asked us to take this tiny seed and plant it in the hearts of the women in our lives, the women in our communities, the woman at the grocery store, the woman at the gym, the woman who is lost, the woman who is hurting, the woman who is searching, and any woman that asks to come.
We asked women to come sit with us today. Come sit with us and be challenged. Come sit with us and let your heart be stirred and your faith be renewed. As we planned this day we didn’t give much explanation to what was going to take place, sorry ladies! “Just come,” we said because honestly we didn’t know what was going to happen, but we knew God was going to show up today. And he did.
Today we were asked to trust God in the unknowns. It was in the message given by our first speaker, Tiffany Nardoni, in the plans Bethany and I laid out, and in the uncertainty each woman felt as she stepped into my front door. The unknown is scary, and it keeps us from doing the things we are called by God to do.
Our second speaker, Chel Garrison posed us with two questions.
What is the one thing you would do if
there were no obstacles in your way? And
What in your life is keeping you from doing that thing right now?
These were scary questions. But Bethany and I didn’t witness fear as we looked in the faces of the women present today. We saw beauty. We saw the most beautifully vulnerable and strong women sharing their testimonies and owning their stories. After everyone left we were still in awe, and we thanked God for shining such a brilliant light on all of life’s uncertainties.