What does it take to write a book? What are the characteristics you think would be of utmost importance? What about illustrating a book?
If you’re like me, your answers may fall along the lines of being focused, intelligent, passionate, well-read, and computer literate. For illustrating, you might have thought of graphic design or someone who sketches or paints.
But what if you have many of those gifts, yet have never typed or put pen or pencil to paper? What if you can’t see well enough to draw? How do you use your God-given gifts and passions in a body that functions differently than others?
The answers vary. One of those who confront this challenge with grace and dignity is our friend, Paige Snedeker.
Riboflavin Transporter Deficiency Type 2 (RTD) is the disability she was born with. As Paige matured, RTD affected her motor and sensory nerve cells, slowly taking away her ability to talk, hear, see, and even to eat or breathe independently.
But Paige was born with something else, a love of writing and art.
“I’ve been interested in writing since I was young. I always loved to write my thoughts and my memories. And I have a very creative mind. So, I like to write things I was thinking about, and come up with stories for fun.
As I got older, I thought I would love to encourage others with my writing and do it for the glory of God. I started out with storytelling, but I know God called me to become a writer, even from a young age, and I wanted to follow what he called me to do.”
God blessed Paige to with a family who helped her develop routines and patterns that allow her to not only have her physical needs met but also make the way for the support she needs to exercise her gifts and talents.
“I depend fully on other people to work with me . . . to type or write or anything. For example, I cannot see all that I’m writing on a computer. Because of my vision, I have to have the font huge, Times New Roman 150 point. I can only see one or two words at a time. It’s very challenging for me to edit because I can’t see what I’ve already said before, or how it’s formatted or anything. I depend on whoever’s working with me. And I have to trust them to help me make the entire story the way it needs to be. It’s really frustrating for me to not be able to do it myself, but I have to give myself grace.
Also, my deafness impacts my writing a lot because I can’t hear English being spoken. It’s a bit of a language barrier. That was a challenge for me. In particular, it affects my tenses; I struggle a lot with saying the right tense. That is something I’ve had to learn to work on through my writing.
I’m not able to use my hands and move around. So, when I’m writing the story, I have to really think of how I can show my story and body language without telling so much. Normally in stories, you’d want to show what the characters are doing, but I can’t use my body to show what it looks like. I have to describe my feelings without being able to use body language.
Those are some challenges I have. But these trials inspire me to overcome and also make me more passionate to write. I want to share my stories with others and encourage them. I know I’m able to do anything with God’s help.”
Working with an art teacher, Paige illustrated the two books she’s written to date. And she is the illustrator of a children’s book by another author. You can read about how she illustrates on her website. While there, look at her books and purchase a copy or two to share with your family and friends. Then click on the speaking page and consider if she would be an apt speaker for a group of which you are a part.
Is there something in your life that seems impossible? What can you do today to begin to develop in that area? If God gave you the gift and passion, He wants you to use it for His glory.