– Hi, I’m Betsy, and I’m a hope*writer. Well, I’ve always been a writer. I don’t know that I actually
thought of it that way, but just, even as a
little kid, I would just I loved paper. I loved pens. Everything writing, I would collect them. I would sit in my room, and
I would just write things. I was a terrible speller,
but I didn’t even care. I just wanted to put pen on paper, and there was something
magical about that. I would write my prayers out to the Lord. So, I just have always
been intrigued by writing. And so, as I grew older, I think that just developed naturally
because I wanted to do it. And so, I, in college,
I would get in my room, and it would be so quiet, and I would just write my prayers out to the Lord. And so, I would feel like
it was our special space, and somehow God just developed that over time in His graciousness. And so… as I grew, I decided hey, you know, I don’t know much about technology, but I think I might like to try this blogging thing which is crazy. All I ever did was word
processing on a computer. And so, I stepped out and I started, and then I really felt
like the Lord was like, “Hey, I really want you to step up a little bit more with this” and I was like are you crazy? Do you know who I am? And so, not long ago, I stepped
into developing a website, and He just helped me all along. I had one friend who was a writer, and she moved not long after that, but she posted a thing about hope*writers. And so I thought, huh, Jen liked that, so I’m gonna check that out, and I did, and I was shocked at what I found when I got there. And I feel like that has
been an integral part in what I’ve done with my
writing is hope*writers. It’s made a world of difference. I found a community in
hope*writers that I did not have. I come from a small town. I have no creative
friends that write at all. In fact, when I tell them
what I do they go, “What?” And so, I came in a little bit skeptical. I was thinking is this going to be like a gym membership that I pay
for that nobody ever uses. And yet, I did it. I took the risk, and I did it. And I want you to know, I don’t even consider the money anymore. Like, it’s not even a
thought that I have anymore. And so, I came in and I got to thinking, you know I see other
people doing certain things with their work, and I’m observing this, and I think I’m gonna try to step. And so, one day, I was so scared, one day I posted on hope*writers and said hey I’d like to do a
summer series on my website. I didn’t even know what I was doing. I had no clue what I was about to do. And so I said would anybody
be interested in joining this? And I had several women
that jumped right on board, and there we went and since then we’ve done two other
collaborations together, and it’s been the neatest
community that’s developed between some women that
are all over the country. And we’ve gotten to be friends. We’ve helped each other. There have been days when I’m
writing and posting things on social media, and I’m thinking oh man I don’t feel like anything’s catching, and inevitably there will be a hope*writer that shows up and says,
“Golly, this really blessed me. I’m so thankful that you’re doing this.” And I go oh thank you
God for hope*writers. And so it’s been a huge blessing. It really was just the cost,
which really isn’t that much. And so, that was the skepticism, and it’s definitely worth it. I also was wondering
will I really connect. Is this a place of connection or not? And I think that people can come in, and they can be in the
edges, and they can watch from a distance, and they
can observe and learn things, and you can go away having learned, but I think that stepping, even
being afraid, toward people in the community is going to be worth it because I think that’s where
the difference is made. I think that people will be
surprised they can find people so welcoming and encouraging and helpful. If you have questions, people are ready and willing to answer them. It’s just a great place
to be if you’re a writer. I really think that the library, that taking the test and
getting to know exactly where I was personally
in the writing process was, actually, huge. It was an eye-opener for me. And going oh, so that’s
where I am as a writer, and having a library of
resources to work through personally on my own time whenever I could has been very, very helpful to me. I love that it gives me a
direction with my writing. I can start at the very first thing, and I could work through
it systematically. It took all the guess work out of what should I do next with my writing. What’s really going to be helpful? That library has been
a huge resource to me, and now I’m excited
cause I’m at the very end of my level in the library, and so I’m like oh my
gosh there’s all these other resources I can use now. And so, I’m excited about seeing what else is available
on the library as well. Do it, just do it. I mean, there’s only one way to know if it would be helpful
and that’s to try it, and I feel like it’s
been so worthwhile to me that I would encourage anybody just to try and see how it goes. My name is Betsy Pendergrass, and I write for Gathering Around, which is my website, and I
help people gather people. We see a need for people
to come back to the table, and so it’s our desire for people to learn to make space for each
other in order to be able to share the heart of the
Father with each other. (light music)