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Posts Tagged ‘Isaiah 42’

I was standing in our local Koorong bookstore, promoting my latest novel, when I noticed a lovely young couple nearby. Initially, I thought they might not be interested in talking or looking at my books, but how wrong I was! I cannot remember now whether they approached me first or vice versa, but I do remember their smiling, relaxed manner and how intently they listened as I explained why I was there. Soon we were deep in conversation about writing and about my books. Then after buying two, they said goodbye and moved on.

Not long after, however, the girl came back.

‘Tell me, how did you actually start writing?’ she asked me. ‘How did you know that was what you should do?’

I explained how I had always loved writing, but never considered becoming a writer and opted for teaching instead. I told her too how, twenty years before writing my first novel, I had declared to my husband I would write a book ‘one day’, never truly thinking I ever would. Then I began sharing how, when I was in my fifties, God used some words from Isaiah 42 to challenge me to start writing while visiting a friend in Turkey—at which point she stopped me in mid-sentence.

‘Um … this might be a weird question, but … were you on the radio recently?’

For a moment, I was dumbfounded, but then remembered my Vision Christian radio interview in January about a short story I had written and about my writing in general.

‘Well, yes I was earlier this year, although I understand the interview was re-broadcast a few weeks ago too.’

She was stunned, but eventually managed to tell me how, as soon as I mentioned Turkey and Isaiah 42, she remembered hearing someone share this story on the radio. She had sensed even then that God was nudging her to start her own writing journey—and now she was overwhelmed that she had ‘randomly’ met me in person and was standing there hearing that same story again.

We stared at each other, both blown away at what had happened and how surreal it all felt. Yet it soon became clear too that we both knew we were on holy ground. Now she could not ignore that nudge God had given her already to start writing—now, through our ‘random’ conversation, she was not left in any doubt that this is what God wants her to do.

What an amazing God we have—a God who continues to love us and reach out to us and challenge us to step out in trust and do the things God has put in our hearts to do! When I think how I almost missed talking to this couple because I felt they would not be interested, I cringe. Yet God overruled—and I am so grateful.

It’s about listening to God well, rather than those negative, discouraging voices in our heads, and recognising God’s hand in those ‘random’ encounters, don’t you think? And when we do, God will surely will make the way forward so clear for us.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

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I wish I could tell you the number of times people have shyly come up to me after I have spoken somewhere to tell me they would like to write a book too.  Some have a clear idea of what sort of book they hope to create.  Others, however, are much more vague.  Some, I suspect, like the idea of being published, but not all the hard work needed to get there.  But for the majority, it’s more that they can’t seem to allow themselves to actually name their dream, to commit to a goal they believe in their heart of hearts they will never attain.  So it would be foolish – a waste of time really – even to try.  Better to forget about it and go and do something useful.

My heart goes out to these people, because I felt like that myself once.  Before I began writing seven years ago, I had wanted to write for at least twenty years and often talked about it with my family.  At one stage, in desperation, one of our daughters gave me a pile of books on how to write, accompanied by a homemade bookmark, bearing the inscription ‘Write your own!’  However, it took the ending of a ministry I loved, followed by six months’ break, before I finally realised that the moment had come in my life when the dream to write and the call of God were in fact one.

It happened like this.  I was holidaying in Turkey and was sitting reading Isaiah 42 in my bible one morning.  I had read verse 9 – See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare – and noted in my journal that I knew my old role had gone but now I truly wanted to hear the ‘ new things’ God had for me.  Then I read on – and stopped in my tracks at verses 18-20:

Hear, you deaf, look, you blind, and see!  Who is blind but my servant, and deaf like the messenger I send?  Who is blind like the one committed to me, blind like the servant of the Lord?  You have seen many things, but have paid no attention; your ears are open, but you hear nothing.

Yes, it was a strong challenge – a rebuke even – but so patient and kind too.  It was as if God were saying with a big sigh: ‘Come on, Jo!  How many times do I have to show you?  Go home and start writing the book!

Well – I did! That was what it took for God to get through to me that yes, it was okay to write – that this, in fact, was what I was being called to do at this stage of my life.

So what is God calling you to do?  Is it perhaps the very thing you’ve been dreaming of doing all your life?  Could God in fact be giving you permission to bring your dream to reality?  …  Could you possibly have a book in you too?

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