Reluctant writer. These two words popped into my head and out of my mouth whenever I talked about my writing. They described how I felt about being a writer for I had begun to do it kicking and screaming - well at least shedding numerous tears as I started to obey God's direction to tell the story of our youngest daughter.
I felt inadequate. For decades I stuffed any enjoyment I once had about writing deep inside because of several comments that I took as negative. Looking back I realize I should have shared them with someone else and discovered what they really meant. I questioned how could I begin writing in my fifties. Basic writing skills faded over the years with disuse. Could they be refreshed and improved? The ugly four letter word 'fear' crept into my thinking. Fear of failure, fear of misunderstanding God's direction about telling the story and fear of beginning to write again at this stage of my life.
I began to write but the words did not flow. I knew the story but could not translate it into words on a page without getting stuck. Yet God provided help in the form of other Christian writers and the journey progressed.
My grandson challenged me one day when he said, "Grandma calling yourself a reluctant writer is too negative!" These words made me rethink my description of myself since I thought of it as being honest and never contemplated any negativity it conveyed.
I asked God to help me drop this self-imposed label and to give me courage to tell stories of amazing things and wonders God has done in my life and in the world around. He kept bringing to mind verses and passages from the Bible where he reminded and commanded the children of Israel to tell the next generation so people would remember God's working in their lives.
Psalm 78:1-4 says, "O my people, hear my teaching, listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my moth in parables. I will utter hidden things, things from of old- what we have heard and know, what our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power and the wonders he has done."
Psalm 105: 1-5 was another passage God kept sending me back to. "Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. sing to him, sing praise to him, tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name, let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength, seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced."
Then I read Psalm 71:17, 18 and it gave me the affirmation that we are never too old to tell the stories of all that God has done. "Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come."
Now I no longer call myself the reluctant writer even though the negative thoughts still invade my
mind and threaten to colour my world. Instead I get excited to share the stories with others, often verbally, but I do write down the thoughts and lessons God teaches me through everyday events. Now instead of them hiding on my computer, I share them with family and friends. I write family stories which include fun happenings but also times of testing and strengthening my faith. I have begun to be a good steward of the gift of storytelling God has given me.
Over that last dozen years of this writing journey, God has gifted me with wonderful people to offer encouragement, helpful mentors who critique, mentor, and encourage as well as the community of Christian writers in Inscribe. Through God's working in my life, these verses from the Bible and the people he has sent into my life I have moved from reluctant writer to excited to be a storyteller even when I am old and gray. The best way for me to celebrate this change of label is to thank those who have encouraged me along the way and keep on telling stories.
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 makes her home is Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.