Life and writing are full of challenges that can overshadow everything else and make us miss opportunities God is nudging us to embrace.
As I thought about this month's prompt of the interaction between faith and writing, I must admit that other life activities and challenges kept me longing for the proverbial light bulb moment of inspiration so I could sit at the keyboard and compose words worth reading. I searched through memories, verses and photos for inspiration or maybe even a tool for procrastination. I remembered this photo which spoke to me to the tenacity of seedlings growing in less than ideal circumstances.
I have often wondered how a pansy, my favourite flower, can grow in an area covered by stones and yet one summer two pansies greeted me each morning in our small grassless backyard. Each time I looked at their bright colours I felt a smile crease my face and imagined them thumbing their noses at the adverse growing conditions.
On our recent train trip across Canada I marveled at the trees and shrubs growing out of the rocks in the Canadian Shield and clinging to the steep cliffs of the Rockies. How did they grow in such harsh conditions. How did their roots find the exact crevice in the rocks to search for nutrients and stability?
This picture, the pansies in the rocks and the trees growing where nothing should survive all remind me of possibilities beyond the challenges. They also serve as reminders of growing my faith, with God's help, by sending roots into the Word of God and spending time listening to His direction, His voice and then listening to those nudges he gives, even when I do not understand His purpose for me, my life or my writing.
I thought back to a conversation I had a few months ago. Adrienne, one of the founders of a group called Consciously Woman, interviewed me as a possible weekly contributor to their blog. She said, "I looked at your web page and its all about christian faith. This community has women with varied beliefs. Do you think you can even write something that is not preachy or is more general in nature?"
I must admit my first internal reaction to her words, not said in anger, included wanting to end the conversation and not bother about the rest of the interview. But I paused and trusted God to give me words to say. We finished the time with my agreeing to be one of her writers because I realized as we chatted that not everything I write or have had published is Bible verse quoting, devotional style, geared to one audience material. Yet no matter what I write, my faith colours what I say for it is an integral part of who I am.
My faith is a work in progress with ebbs and flows of strength. Even when I struggle with challenges and the question why pops into my mind, I beg for growth in that area of my life. My faith should not be put on like an accessory when the mood strikes. It is an integral part of who I am and should be reflected in every aspect of my life, through my attitude, my actions and my words whether written or verbal.
My writing too is a work in progress. I need to keep learning from others further along the journey, practice what I have already learned and listen to God's still small voice for directions in this area of my life. Some writing remains hidden from the eyes of all but God and myself. My journal contains reflections, memories and yes sometimes questions about faith and life. God has directed at least one short story to be shared with people at certain times and I did not understand the reason. I had written it as part of a healing process. I obeyed and God used it to touch the life of someone else. In return my faith grew and strengthened.
Not everything I write is devotional style with Bible verses quoted and expounded upon or other Christian based faith writing. But the words I choose, the attitude portrayed within the story reflect who I am and whose I am. Faith helps me survive the challenges and opens my ears to hear the opportunities God nudges me to accept. I like how this poster sums up my life and my writing. May it inspire you as you take on the challenges and opportunities of life and writing.
As a speaker, published author and storyteller, Carol Harrison is passionate about mentoring people of all ages and abilities to help them find their voice and reach their fullest potential. She shares from her heart, telling stories from real life experiences and God’s Word to encourage people and help them find a glimmer of hope no matter what the circumstances. She believes we need to continuously grow in our walk with God and lives out her storytelling passion by speaking at women’s events and retreats, Bible Camps as well as school assemblies and church events. Carol is a wife, mother of four adult children and grandmother to twelve. She makes her home is Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.