That’s an excellent question. I’ve asked myself the same question a few times since my book was published in April. In honor of my first book signing tomorrow, I thought I would answer this. The reason I wrote a kid’s book is very simple; God. I never wanted to be a writer. I never dreamed about it. Writing was nowhere on my radar.
It all began with a character my husband created many years ago. We were newlyweds, and Tom showed me his drawing of this character, and shared his dream of creating a children’s picture book. I thought it was a really cool idea and encouraged him to make it happen. I was excited for him to pursue his dream and happy to help. My role, or so I thought, was being the good, supportive wife. I was clueless that God had other plans.
Tom and I would talk about his book, and character, and dream of “someday” as life was happening. Our first house was a fixer upper, so that took lots of our time and energy, yet we still dreamed of “the story”. Then our first baby arrived, and eventually Tom went back to school. Life and all of it’s pressures, and responsibilities, took priority over any frivolous dreaming. I just couldn’t shake it though. This idea of some story coming to fruition never left my head. Tom’s character needed to come alive, but how?
One day, while praying about Tom’s book idea, God said, “Just write the story.” I thought there is no way that was God talking to me. That was one of the craziest things I’d heard. I decided to forget it and move on. Well, the next day, I was praying again and heard, “Just write the story.” Now things were getting really weird. “Just write the story,” was repeated to me many times, over several days. I didn’t know what to do with those words. I wasn’t even sure they were God’s words to me. I decided to file those words away and I didn’t tell anyone. That was just crazy talk. It couldn’t have been God. Why would He want me of all people, to write? Nope. It didn’t happen. Move on, and so I did.
God has a funny way of getting our attention when He has called us to do something for Him. I thought I could disregard any bizarre notions of writing a book for children. I mean, come on, that was Tom’s dream, not mine. The notion never went away. When I woke up, it was there. When I went about my day, it was there. I could not get rid of this constant nagging feeling that I indeed was supposed to write this story. Every time I would try to ignore what I was supposed to do, God would speak to me through a circumstance or even my children to remind me to write this story. He even gave me a couple of dreams/visions that shook me to my core, in a good way. His message to me consistently was, “write the story.”
This all probably sounds pretty strange, and I would agree with you. I did not understand why God would tell someone like me to write. It made no sense. This wasn’t my dream. Why not ask me to do something I was good at, or at least enjoyed. Please don’t have me write. And not fiction. After years of me questioning God, I was convinced I had to accomplish this task. I knew I could not live with myself if I never even attempted to do what He was so clearly calling me to. I wanted to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Summer 2010, my writing journey began. I’ve homeschooled for years, and knew summer break was going to be the only way any writing was going to take place. The thought of typing everything out on a computer sounded dreadful, so I grabbed a spiral notebook and sat on the living room couch. I said, “What do I write? I don’t even know where to start.” He gently told me, “Just write.” I put pen to paper and words started coming out. It was the beginning of a story. I was so excited. I could not believe there was something there. Right away I saw that this little story was not meant to be an illustrated children’s book. It was going to be a middle grade novel. And here’s another crazy thing that happened; I was having these amazing spiritual highs like I’ve never had before. It was the most exciting thing I’d ever done. I was doing the thing God asked of me, and I needed Him to accomplish it. I felt so close to God as I wrote. He was doing it all through me.
Of course there was opposition. When you pursue God’s dream for you the attacks come. The enemy would do everything in his power to stop me from writing. Sometimes, his tactics worked. But, he lost. God’s plan for me has prevailed. It has been one of the hardest things I’ve done. I’m not a natural writer, and children’s fiction has been a huge challenge for me. And my story is a Christian story, so that has it’s challenges as well.
My writing journey has been long. It took over seven years, writing mostly during the summer, to complete my little book. I was juggling many other things, like most people. Writing is hard! I had to fully rely on God to give me every character, every word, everything! He did! God is faithful! Only God would take a nobody like me, and write a book for kid’s with His message. He gets all the glory.
There are lots of other pieces that God took care of along the way. Like editing, publishing, and all the other details in the journey of a completed book. Every time I would come to a place of not knowing how to get to the next step, He took care of it. Like blessing me with a beautiful cover by a very talented artist, and friend, Nick. I could go on and on, but I’ll save some of that for another time.
I still don’t know where this is all going, but I don’t care anymore. I am running after God’s plan for me instead of running from it. Every day, there’s a new opportunity to promote my book, or step out in some way, and I’m taking those steps. Sometimes, I feel pretty foolish. Especially when I put myself out there with little to no results. I think, “God, why did you have me do this? I don’t get it.” My Heavenly Father reminds me of His plan and tells me to trust Him. If I fall flat on my face, it’s OK. He’ll pick me up. And I’ll keep running my race.
What hard thing is God asking you to do? Have you been running from Him, like I did for years? Stop running from Him. Go for what He is asking you to do. It will be hard. You will be uncomfortable and you will have to rely on Him to accomplish it. There are rewards waiting for you unlike anything you’ve experienced. I’m not talking material things. I’m talking spiritual. Those are the ones that last.
Maybe you are already pursuing His calling for you and are discouraged. Keep going! We’ve got Kingdom work to accomplish! We are to spur one another on. Maybe you don’t know what God wants you to do. Ask Him. He will reveal it to you. The God dreams are from Him. It’s not the stuff you and I think up. The things He calls us to require Him to achieve them.
God is asking for your willingness and obedience. You don’t have to have it all figured it out. He will equip you and do marvelous things through you, if you let Him.
”May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21, NIV)
Thank you for who you are. Perfect. Holy God. You are sure. Reliable. Constant. The Rock. Thank you that we get the joy of being involved in your work. I lift up all those who know what you have called them to, but they’ve been avoiding it, like I did. Give them courage to pursue the God sized dreams you gave them. For those who don’t know what to do reveal your plan to them. And for those who are discouraged in their call, bring encouragement, strength, and a new perspective to keep going.
In Jesus name,
Love you all,