I Blame You

I never meant to be a writer.

In fact, I became a writer quite unexpectedly in my thirties, and for a long time I couldn’t even say it out loud. It just felt so icky and self-important to have a job title that implies you have something significant to say and that somebody out there wants to hear it. So, when people asked me what I do, I used to tell them, “I work from home”, and then I’d quickly change the subject (which I’m good at, because I did the same thing for years when the answer was, “I’m a missionary”). But sometimes they persist and so I have to say the words.

“I’m a writer.”

And then my cheeks flush red with…I don’t know…embarrassment? Yes, I think that’s what it is. It’s an embarrassment of riches, and I want to explain it away, to tell them I don’t think I’m special, I know I don’t have anything great to say, I’m just kinda funny sometimes, that’s all, and, honestly, I fell into this life completely by accident ~ a life that many others only dream of ~ and truly I don’t deserve it. I just got lucky, that’s what I want to say. But I don’t, at least not anymore, because it makes for awkward conversation and then I feel like I have to tell the whole story of how I really had no idea I was a writer until someone else mentioned it a few hundred times.

Last year, one of my sons said something that I haven’t been able to shake. It was during one of those difficult talks, where your grown up kids say grown up things that are hard to hear because they highlight your parenting failures and you must choose to apologize when what you really want to do is defend — but it wasn’t all bad. At one point he said, “Mom, in some ways, I watched you grow up in Costa Rica, when the internet convinced you that you’re smart and that you can write. It was like no one ever told you what you were capable of until a bunch of strangers saw something in you and called it out, and then you bloomed.”

He was right, and I cried at the truthiness of it. In the beginning, I wrote, but it was you who first called me a writer.

For that, I owe you a debt of gratitude. And a beer. And a cheesecake. Because, less than one month from today, my very first book will be released into the great big world. It turns out, I’m not just a writer, I am a whole damn BOOK writer!

The Very Worst Missionary: A Memoir or Whatever  comes out April 3rd, and I hope it makes you proud. I hope you’ll buy it and read it, and I hope you’ll know that by showing up here again and again, as you have over the years, you played a part in creating it.

YOU helped me become me, and I really am a writer.

It’s what I do. It’s who I am. It has become, both as a practical career and as a healing art, my way forward.
In other words, I couldn’t survive without it. But I would never have found this path without you.
So, I guess what I’m trying to say is…

I blame all of this on you.


Your words are powerful, too.



  1. Bree on March 8, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    Preordered aaaaages ago, I’m so glad you exist in the world. Leaving a comment here because it’s always a *little bit nicer* (“as a writer”) to receive comments on posts, not just FB. Thank you for your blooming, your writings (circa 2012 onwards) were one of my lifelines out of a narrow worldview into a way more hilarious and exciting one. Can’t wait to read your ACTUAL REAL BOOK.

  2. Leah on March 8, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    I’ve read your blog and followed you on twitter for years. Can’t wait to read the book. Honored to have followed along on the journey. Thanks for speaking truth.

  3. Sarah Novak on March 8, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    I will totally take you up on that beer.

  4. Tina Patterson on March 8, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    Thank you Jamie for your brutal honesty about motherhood, wifehood, Christianity, mental health and all things life-related. As a clinician, I applaud your self-awareness and willingness to help others with your gift for words. Peace lady ✌️

  5. Jennifer Neyhart on March 8, 2018 at 7:32 pm

    I can’t wait to read your book! Ironically enough, I found your blog when I was doing my own stint as an unofficial missionary type thing in Mexico from 2009-2011. I had already started questioning some things in theology and the church… but i just remember how reading your words along with Rachel Held Evans and Sarah Bessey were giving me life and encouragement in all kinds of ways. So thank you for that. 😄

  6. Kate on March 8, 2018 at 8:22 pm

    I cannot wait to laugh (and all the other emotions) while reading your book! Get started on the next one, will ya?

  7. Belinda on March 8, 2018 at 10:06 pm

    Legit! Your book comes out on my birthday!!! That’s a spectacular birthday present. I’m 100% telling people my favourite writer released her book on my birthday. No one needs to know these two events are unrelated.
    PS I owe you a beer and a cheesecake – and I’m a salvo Officer so I can’t even drink the beer. I introduced a dear friend of mind to your fb page not long before she unexpectedly passed away, your musings gave us several snorting laugh filled phone calls “oh my Lord, did you read …”, “ Yes! How much is that like …”. Freaking fabulous memories you contributed too, cheers for that.

    • Jamie Wright on March 8, 2018 at 11:19 pm

      Happy April 3rd Birthday! And thank you for sharing that bit about your friend — I’m sorry for your loss, but incredibly grateful to have had a teeny tiny supporting role in your friendship.

  8. Stacy on March 9, 2018 at 5:18 am

    What Glennon Doyle said about your book — don’t bail on religion until you read this book, was totally ment for me. I have an internal battle going on right now, so I CANNOT WAIT to read this book!! I love your words and cannot wait for them to give me a big hug….Waiting anxiously 🙂

  9. Tina Kachmar on March 9, 2018 at 5:42 am

    Oooooh. Cheesecake and beer!! That’s why I’m here. Nothing better than honesty. Love reading your words and look forward to your book. Congrats!!

  10. Andy Perkins on March 9, 2018 at 5:51 am

    Jamie, I work in Liberia, West Africa. I still can’t get up the courage to call myself a missionary. Too lofty for me. You’ve brought me tears and laughter and freshness for years. You make me want to be a better servant of Jesus. Thank you!

  11. Alicia Ashley on March 9, 2018 at 6:54 am

    I preordered your book months ago. I’ve been reading your blog since about 2012ish, and I don’t even remember how I found you, but I got super excited when I realized you lived like 30 minutes away (I’m from EG, but I’ve moved now!). Your post about sometimes Jesus isn’t enough and sometimes we need Zoloft was the first thing of yours I ever read and damn if it wasn’t the most freeing thing I’ve ever read in my life. Thank you. I’m super stoked to read your book!

  12. Stephen on March 9, 2018 at 9:34 am

    John 15:19?

  13. Ashley Dyer on March 9, 2018 at 11:52 am

    I pre-ordered my copy months ago! It’ll be here just in time for my birthday! I can’t wait to hermit away for the weekend and read the whole thing <3 I’m glad you started writing because you are a breath of fresh air to the Christian women who have real thoughts and emotions, say bad words, and just need a drink sometimes. Much love!

  14. nerdywordybirdy on March 9, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    Preorderd for myself and for a friend, because your voice is so real and refreshing and beautiful! I’m so glad you took the leap to publish this and your blog, because what you say DOES have value. I’m at a point in my life where I’m coming back to Jesus after rejecting Christianity for several years and your voice reminds me that there are people out there who are more about Christ than religion, and that you can follow Jesus just as well when you’re doing something different from what a “good” Southern Baptist (or any other denomination) does. I love that, I love you, I love this, and I know I’m going to love your book!

  15. Deb from Maryland on March 9, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    I can’t WAIT to read this book. Congrats . It makes me happy to think we’ve been on this journey together. It is well with my soul.

  16. Dean Sault on March 9, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    Jamie, I have always known you have a gift for writing and honest expression. I deeply respect you and love watching you grow into the successful woman I always knew you could be. I look forward to reading your book…love, Dad.

  17. Suzanne on March 10, 2018 at 4:24 am

    During my first year “on the mission field” (It was almost six years ago and it still feels weird to say it. I’ve been breathing a sigh of relief for two years now that I’m just a teacher in the DR and not a “missionary.”) I found your blog and read the whole entire thing. I went back to the beginning and read every post. I am already this book’s biggest fan.

  18. Ashley Pansoy on March 11, 2018 at 6:20 pm

    I’m so excited for this book! You are one of my very favorite writers!

  19. Ashley Burns on March 12, 2018 at 8:41 am

    So excited to read your book

  20. Steve on March 13, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    You are rad.

  21. Wendi Nunnery on March 20, 2018 at 11:08 am

    I have loved your words for years! Since the Costa Rica days and my own wonky Church experiences. And when my family and I travel overseas next month, I fully intend on reading your book on the plane :). Congrats!

  22. Dave on March 26, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    Can’t wait to read the book. I listened to a podcast and read the reviews of the book on Amazon. And yes, we need to get past the ‘bad language’ crap (whoops! I cussed!) and fast. https://substandardseminary.wordpress.com/2016/07/30/cursing-in-america/

  23. Lisa on April 8, 2018 at 8:09 pm

    We have worked both in the church and in missions. Our experience sounds painfully very similar to yours. I have felt stuck and paralyzed since. Thank you for sharing your story- it helps…

  24. Lisa on April 8, 2018 at 8:10 pm

    We have worked both in the church and in missions. Our experience sounds painfully very similar to yours. I have felt stuck and paralyzed since. Thank you for sharing your story- it helps give words to the vagueness…

  25. Robyn Roberts on April 9, 2018 at 6:47 pm

    Jamie, I just read your book in one day! Thank you for giving words to all the thoughts and questions that have come up during a recent short term mission trip. It was life changing and God was visibly at work, but not in any of the ways I had anticipated. I loved your stories about the football team in Costa Rica. Thank you for being honest and real. We need so much more of that in the world.

    P.S. I also sported the Christian bob and made friendship bread back in the day. Those descriptions made me howl with laughter!

  26. Amy on April 10, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    I had preordered the book, I received it last week and I’m already done, AND I paced myself…haha. I loved the whole book, but the last chapter really spoke to my heart . I left “missions” 8 years ago and went through a rebellious angry stage after being hurt by those I trusted or should’ve been able to trust and returning home feeling completely used and burnt out. I’ve struggled to explain what it’s like to go through what I am and you described it perfectly in the last chapter, along with practical advice for getting yourself back into life and what God has called you to, love. Oddly enough Costa Rica was the country that “set my heart on fire for missions.” While I only survived 3 years, primarily in the States and shorter trips overseas, I saw and encountered enough to be turned off by what missions is. Thank you for your fresh perspective and ability to put into words what I couldn’t. I hope to one day be able to hear you speak or at least read another book written by you. You may feel like you are just an ordinary person, but God has equipped you well to help in leading today’s Christian church out of it’s comfort zone and realize the damage it has caused.

  27. Stacie Blay on August 7, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    Dear Jamie,
    I just finished listening to your book on Audible. I LOVED IT. You are THE SHIT! Honest and vulnerable, Laugh-out-loud funny and completely REAL. I feel encouraged and inspired. You are incredibly beautiful because of your genuine authenticity. I am very glad I stumbled upon your book! Thank-you for having the courage to share your life and insights with the world. I really like you. Alot. Big hugs.

Leave a Comment