Time to Soar

Mar 16, 2016 by

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My friend Xochi and I relaxed on a bench, occasionally hopping up to hug friends goodbye as they headed to their cars or the airport shuttle. It was the last day of the 2015 Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference—always a bittersweet time. We’d spent four and a half days learning, connecting with editors, agents and fellow writers, and hearing from God in unique ways that seem to only happen at Mount Hermon. Now it was time to come down from the mountaintop and put what we’d learned to good use. Both of us had spent the long weekend regaining confidence for different reasons, and receiving reminders that God had a plan for us, that He loved us deeply, that it was time to push past the fears and insecurities that so often held us back and write brave.

Xochi grabbed my hand. “It’s time to soar, sister!”

We prayed together right there on the bench, that we would hold onto this courage and renewed strength once we got home and real life met us at the door. After we said Amen, I realized where we were sitting—right across from the gift shop.

“You know what we need to do?” I looked at Xochi. “We should buy something to mark this day.”

“I was just thinking the same thing. Let’s go!”

We headed into the shop. I immediately went for the jewelry and Xochi searched for a plaque with a verse on it. I had no idea what I wanted, but I trusted I’d know when I saw it.

The saleswoman asked, “May I help you find something?” Xochi had chosen her plaque, so she piped in on my behalf.

“Do you have anything that represents soaring or spreading your wings . . . like . . .” She smiled at me, “a butterfly?”

Yes! That’s perfect! I added, “Maybe a necklace?”

“I think we might.” The woman led us to a case filled with the usual selection of crosses. She turned the case and opened it. “What about this?” She handed me a box.

I looked inside, and immediately knew I’d found my It’s time to soar reminder—a silver butterfly with a cross in the center. “It’s perfect.”

I hoped this moment would prove to be as significant as it felt. Xochi and I both really needed it to be!

photo 2-1 (2)

It turned out that it was, and that butterflies were about to become my theme for the year.

When I got home I decided to buy a special journal for writing brave. I spotted one with butterflies soaring out of a typewriter.

I already had a box on my desk with butterflies on it, and a gratitude journal covered with them.

I wore my butterfly necklace almost every day, and always on writing days.

A few months after the conference Xochi sent me a butterfly made from shells that looked like stained glass. I sent her a butterfly journal. Our gift included notes reminding each other to write brave—to be brave.


We needed those notes as we learned how scary it can be to try out your wings when you’re used to living in a cocoon. It’s scary even when exciting things are happening!

“Remember, butterfly, you’re soaring now!” Xochi reminded me more times than I can count.

In two days I will be at the Mount Hermon Writers Conference again, and so will Xochi. Things are so different than last year, for both of us. Not only am I taking a box filled with the rewards of writing brave, but my heart is finally feeling the wonderful effects of leaving the cocoon behind. Life is settled, and so am I. For the first time in many years I will arrive on campus with a reason to celebrate. I can’t wait to do that with the many friends who have been part of my journey over the past few years, and celebrate their soaring moments as well.

Thank you, Lord, for providing a place to grow—a place to soar!

How has God helped you spread your wings since this time last year? In what ways has it been scary? In what ways has it been exciting?

You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever.” Psalm 30:11-12 (NIV)

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  1. cheryl Phillips

    I love the “Your wings are ready” picture with the story. Made me really pause to consider what and how I need to be brave–and for what reason (s).

    • Jeanette Hanscome

      It’s one of my favorite graphics! I pray that God will make you brave today. 🙂

  2. What a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing. ..

  3. I need to link your story into my Mt. Hermon post Jeanette. I love the butterflies (and you)!

    • Jeanette Hanscome

      I would love to have you do that! Thank you so much!
      Love you too, precious friend :).

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