Monday, August 14, 2017

The Novel

In memoirs and biographies I have read that writers lead interesting, often solitary, lives. I've read accounts of authors who sit for hours and smile at blank pages as the hours tick by as if they were mere minutes. Writers must live in the real world but they flavor it with a hearty helping of fantasy. They are present yet absent; engaged yet disconnected.
This view of the writer's life is one I used to have only from afar but not anymore. Not since I became a writer. Well, not a published and printed "writer" but still a writer. I haven't sought the input of a literary agent for confirmation on that status. I haven't needed to. My writer's designation has been God-given, flowing from the thoughts He has pouring into my mind and nurturing my spirit. He has given me this duty to put a pen to paper and it is an honor to fulfill that call.

It has taken seven years for me to release my need to "be" something and someone according to the world and let being a writer be enough. It took the schooling of life and the experience of struggle to shape me into a writer. Patiently, God has been molding me for this position by teaching me how to listen, obey and follow. I've far from mastered the art of these principles but God is faithfully honing my writing skills, and, more importantly, honing my heart to be fixated on Him alone.

As God has been teaching me, pruning me and perfecting my writer's hand (a process that is destined to be life-long) He has entrusted me with little projects to work on along the way. It began with telling the story of Pippy and her training. Or, more accurately, my training. When I look back on the revelations experienced in those writings, the truths found in teaching a puppy how to sit, stay and refrain from peeing on the carpet, I see how God had a much bigger plan for Pippy and I than I ever imagined. He used my Pippy Love to train and discipline my heart, not just my Schnoodle puppy.

Over these seven years my writings have numbered into the thousands and an overwhelming number of them have been born out of sickness and illness. So many of my writings have been laments of physical anguish. My pain poured out on the page. Writing as been the avenue in which I've been able to best explain the unexplained and process the confusing. God has transformed writing into an act of spiritual renewal where I lay my burdens down and pick up His truth, His faithfulness and His promises.

Over the past seven years my hand has scribbled with ink in countless lined journals and written every thing from one-liners to entire (unpublished) devotional books. On my computer I've typed in the morning, in the evening and occasionally in the middle of the night. In writing I have exposed my heart and been witness to glorious glimpses of God's.
In all of this writing, over all of these years, I've explored writing in many forms but never fiction. The very thought of writing a novel has intimidated me. How does the novel writer ever come up with a thought that will capture a reader's attention for hundreds of pages and dozens of chapters? How does the author keep a consistent voice and weave story lines and character plots into one cohesive book? How do they remain dedicated to the process? How do they know where the novel is going to go? Do they know where the novel is going to go?
Overwhelmed by the thought of such a literary endeavor I never even contemplated writing a novel. Little did I know God would hand me a pen and tell me to get going on the task during year seven of my never-ending writer's education.

As I've heeded the command the most remarkable truths have been revealed as I've embarked on this writer's journey. More significant than the answers to my questions about writing a novel, God has been answering questions of my eternal spirit and heart. Questions about following Him, walking with Him and making it to the end of His story.

That is so like God, isn't it? He doesn't come right out and answer our questions with points A, B, and C. He gives us a task, a challenge, and promises to help us complete it. Meanwhile, in the completing of it, He assures us that all of our questions will all be answered in the end. We don't get the answers at the start. In fact, we usually begin with absolutely no idea where the story is going. The plot and course of our life's journey is revealed much the same way a novelist's story is revealed as they put pen to paper. Novel writing, like traveling through life with God, requires dedication, trust and faith to see the process through to the end.
God is writing a story with each of our lives and He has filled our pages with the unexpected. He's written for each of us a page-turner to keep us on our toes, captivated by the possibilities of what's to come next. Is a new character about to enter our plot? Is the scene about to transition into an entirely different place? Is there a climatic chapter up ahead or is the next chapter simple and sweet? Will there be a lull in the action or a predicament on the next page?
God doesn't give us hints. He likes surprise endings. He likes twists and turns. He likes to include the unexpected. He takes great pleasure in filling the pages of our stories with riveting tales that give testimony to His goodness and honor to His great name. 

When God is given the pen and entrusted with every line, we can rest assured that the plot is going to be riveting and the ending is going to be glorious. With God as the Author we need not know how we get to end. We can simply rest in the journey and let it unfold, page-by-page.
That's how novels are written, one page at a time, and that's how life's journey with God is written, too. 

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