I have cerebral palsy, and maybe that’s a reason I love to write. Because I have time sitting in my chair, words form in my head. I can’t help it. Sometimes it’s a curse. I know everything is right in my world when I can look at an ordinary situation and think, “How can I turn this into a story or a devotional? What Scripture Passage could I relate to this situation?” I am constantly writing in my head.
I think I was a teenager when I first really felt the bug to write. I have loved words and writing stories for a long as I can remember. One day I asked my mother if I were meant to be a writer. “It could be, she said. “Only God can answer that. Listen to him.”
I listened. God started to answer. I really started to write in 1990, when I was a sophomore in high school. I loved it. From English papers to writing for my school’s paper, I couldn’t stop writing. It became my entire world. I was introduced to the Writer’s Market that year and have kept an eye on it ever since.
That year also brought another big change to my life. I received my first service dog (which provided a wealth of stories for me). Because I was the first one to attend high school in Colorado with a dog, I was a prime subject for articles. I don’t know how many features were written about my dog and me. I remember doing a telephone interview with a freelance writer one time. After the interview, I thought I’d turn the table and ask the writer some questions. This was my change to talk to a “real writer.” As I recall, he was taken aback by my questions and fumbled around with answers. I do remember one thing he told me. “Write something every day. Even if it’s just a sentence.” That has stuck with me for twenty years, and I try to write something every day. Even if it’s just a sentence.
In another article, the writer asked my tenth grade English teacher to comment on how my service dog had helped me in the classroom: “Tait’s English teacher, Toni Morse, said that the dog is a source of genuine pride. ‘When Nouveau brings a paper Tait has written to my desk, Tait beams with joy, and for me it’s a thrill to see his skills develop. It almost brings me to tears to see what he can do with words. When he writes, it’s a fantastic expression of what he thinks. He understands words so well, and it’s as if the angel inside of him is helping get them out and through this the other students can see that he is a regular guy. He just can’t talk like they can.”
In my first book I reflect on her comments: “Mrs. Morse left Liberty before I could thank her, but her words meant a lot to me. Her words motivated me to become more and more independent, and, yes, they even drove me to start my writing career. My heartfelt thanks to you, Mrs. Morse.”
(I ran into Toni years later and gave her a copy of my book. We are now friends in Christ and still trade writing advice.)
My writing career blasted off at that point. I entered Guideposts’ writing contest for high school juniors and seniors. I worked two years at the local Air Force base’s newspaper. I took every writing class in high school and college and finally ended up getting my Associates in Journalism.
In the summer of 1995 I decided to write a book about my service dog. I kept it a secret but told a writer friend of mine. He agreed to look at a draft of a chapter but came back with some tough news. My writing wasn’t that good. If I really wanted to be a writer, I had a lot of work to do. He laid down some pretty high standards, and I had to decide if I truly wanted to be a professional writer or just write as a hobby.
Three years and thousands grammar lessons later I self-published my first book called “My Exodus” which is about how I achieved independence with my first service dog at my side and how God is using my life to bring glory to himself. I don’t know what I learned about more while writing that book – how to write, about myself, about God, or about how God wants to use my life. Since writing “My Exodus,” I believe my career has been just what God intended it to be. I have been published in the Quiet Hour and The Upper Room, websites, and local and international publications. I self-published a devotional called Capernaum Moments. I’ve been to American Christian Writers and the Colorado Christian Writers conferences, and have learned from some of the best writers in the business. I like to think they know me and would be there if and when I ever had the opportunity to really expand my writing ministry, but again it’s God who guides my steps.
My day job is the Church Relations Director for Mephibosheth Ministry (www.mephiboshethministry.org.) I work with churches to include people who have disabilities in the body of Christ. We are an internationally known ministry and our training is often requested. What we haven’t been doing, however, is spreading our message via the written word. I believe Mephibosheth Ministry can have a bigger impact when we begin to tap into the publishing world. My goal is to use my writing skills and begin to spread our ministry’s message worldwide through the written word.
Tait Berge, ASSIST News Service