Forgiveness and belonging. I’ve noticed these two recurring themes in my writing over the years. Of everything I’ve written, my three (unpublished) novels show these themes most obviously, I think because I put my heart into my fiction more than anything else I write.
I want my stories, devotions and blog posts to say please join us, feel welcome, we like you, different is okay, you are the same as me, you are forgiven and acceptable , we are not better than you. As I stop to analyze why it’s so important to me that readers get this message, I remember the words of one of my favorite authors, Francine Rivers, in a response to a letter I wrote to her. “Write what you need to read,” she said.
I haven’t intentionally set out to do that, but I’m sure that sub-consciously I’ve ended up writing what I need to read, and maybe more so writing what I need to hear coming from the lips of others. I have probably felt this way all my life, but recently more than ever, I sense a longing to belong.
Just yesterday I finished reading a novel that’s been on my shelf for a long time, A Delirious Summer, by Ray Blackston. I couldn’t always relate to the escapades of the twenty-something characters, but I found myself envying their little summer community. When there was a crisis with two of their missionary friends, several in the group even formed an emergency short-term mission. So whether vacationing at a beach, or facing the challenges of the jungle, they still had their “peeps” surrounding them and providing support.
Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t remember growing up with a focus on group activities like I see in my kids’ friends and my young co-workers. Maybe I’ve always been too determined to be independent. But now I’m starting to gravitate in the direction of community and belonging, and I notice other people who feel that same need.
I hope that my writing will help some of the people in the world who may feel ignored, unimportant or left behind to see how valuable they are, and also know that they can belong to the always-accessible family of believers. I cherish the blessing at the end of Francine Rivers’ letter:
“May the Lord use you in bringing light and love to others.”
Posted by Ramona