When she writes “literally,” she means it. The two slipped discs in her neck and lower back caused by the fall required 15 months of neck traction and a cervical collar.
“Not welcome news for this mom (of four teenagers) in high gear,” she says. “There was little choice but to settle into my new contraption and learn to listen to God all over again.”
After a few weeks, she began to look forward to the time alone behind that bedroom door, reading God’s Word, listening for His voice, and just resting. “The perfect escape,” she called it.
“Within a few months the strangest thing would happen,” she writes. “Something like a song begging a voice echoed from a place before unknown. Day by day, it drifted through forgotten rooms in my soul where faces and voices I’d once loved still lived. I longed to bring them to life again, to listen and linger over ideas once muffled by my busy life.”
What, she wondered, was she to do with this? Tell someone was the answer.
So she told her husband the stories that bubbled from her heart and soul—in the morning over coffee in the bathroom while he shaved. Steve’s interest surprised her. “Tell me more,” he’d say. One day he said, “You need to write these stories down. Our children need them. Others need them.”
And so she did. Mothering Upstream was published in 1990 by Victor Books. The song had found a voice.
Today Virelle is the author of six nonfiction books, a retreat and conference speaker, and a writing teacher and mentor.
But she’ll be the first to tell you it isn’t easy. Writing, especially nonfiction, requires a transparency most find uncomfortable. Opening your heart and life to an unseen reader, hoping your words will reach across time and distance and touch another’s life, means being vulnerable. But that’s the only way to be authentic, she says. Because it’s in the sharing of your very real pain that others identify with you. They know you’re real.
Says Virelle, “Writing became my song to sing back to God.”
Adapted from her memoir, The Best Life Ain’t Easy, But It’s Worth It (Moody Publishers, 2008) and published in the Upper Case, the newsletter of the St. Davids Christian Writers Association, Winter 2010
"No eye has seen, nor ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV)
Virelle's book, Meet Me at the Well: Take a Month to Water Your Soul (Moody Publishers, 2008) has spawned three satellite ministries: Virelle's "Meet Me at the Well" women's retreat, a companion Meet Me at the Well Bible study, written by Jocelyn Hamsher, and an inspirational music CD by Lisa Troyer. You never know what God has in store for those who trust and obey. For more information, click here.
Michele and Virelle, Fort Pierce, Florida (March 2008)