For those of you that faithfully read my incredibly sparse blog posts – I really do appreciate your patience! You may have noticed that this year, my blogging efforts have been practically non-existent! I am so sorry for this!
The Best-laid plans
I made a bit of a conscious decision at the start of the year, to re-focus my efforts on writing for children, with the aim of trying to get an agent or publisher for one of my Picture Books. Picture Book writing was where my writing hobby began around 15 years ago.
I work with children, four days a week, as a Childminder, and have always had a passion for Kids Literature. I felt a bit of a green light to re-visit some of my picture book manuscripts and maybe write some more. It’s been a bit of a lifelong ambition of mine to see one of my stories brought to life by the magic of an illustrator.
But almost six months into the year, and it doesn’t feel like I’m anywhere close to reaching this goal.
But I have made progress.
- I’ve completed a Picture Book Writing course
- I’ve written 3 new Picture Book Manuscripts
- I ‘ve submitted material to 3 or 4 agents (all rejected or ignored at the moment)
- And I’ve found a brilliant UK based Christian Kids Lit Support Group and God has opened my eyes to new possibilities – with the idea of writing a faith based novel for teens…
It can be so tempting to measure our success by a particular achievement, can’t it? We say to ourselves….”When I achieve x,y or z, then I will have accomplished my goals and therefore been successful.”
The trouble is, as many of you know, this writing malarkey is ohhhhh so hard! The Picture Book Market is a crowded one, and notoriously difficult to break into!
I’d be patient if i had the time…
Added to this difficulty, is the age-old problem. The limitations of time.
Working four days a week, and managing life with a family of six, is demanding. Time is always going to be a challenge. So often lately, I find myself feeling frustrated because my progress seems to be oh so painfully slow!
At the beginning of every weekend I find myself thinking…”Yes! FINALLY, I have some time to write.”
And at the end of every weekend, I find myself thinking….AAAAAGGGHHHH! I didn’t get enough done! I’ve blown it it again!”
This morning, I rose early, leaped out of bed and hurried downstairs with my lap top under my arm. I had planned to get a good chunk of writing done early doors. But a song started buzzing round my mind:
Oh my soul, arise and bless your Maker, For He is your Master and your friend Slow to wrath and rich in tender mercy Worship the Saviour, Jesus! (Oh My Soul, Arise and Bless Your Maker, by Stuart Townend)
What was I jumping out of bed to do? Had I forgotten my First Love? May it never be! First and foremost, I have been created to worship my Maker and bring glory to His Name. Jesus died to have a relationship with His bride – and that includes me! This blows any of my feeble attempts at writing stories right out of the water – surely this is the greatest love story that’s ever been written!
And then, I noticed my two Tabby Cats, Toby and Cleo chasing each other around the garden like a pair of loopy-loos. I don’t know what they were up to, but it looked like they were simply having fun. As I watched them prance about and play chase, I felt Jesus inviting me to cease from my busy striving. When was the last time I just allowed myself to have some fun? When was the last time I had no other agenda, than just to cease from all my striving and just enjoy His sweet presence?
I walked bare-footed into the garden with my cup of tea in hand. I perched on a garden chair and noticed the sights and sounds around me. A pair of Goldfinches, flitting back and forth, looking after their young. A pair of Swifts darting and swooping high above me.
Consider the birds of the air…they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet Your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?Matthew 6:26 ESV
Oh yes….of course! My value will never be found in my frantic activity.
Then more words came to mind (God often uses music to speak to me), this time from Amy Grant:
When the weight of all my dreams Is resting heavy on my head And the thoughtful words of help and hope Have all been nicely said But I'm still hurting, wondering if I'll ever be the one I think I am I think I am. Then You gently re-remind me, That You've made me from the first And the more I try to be the best The more I get the worst And I realise the good in me Is only there because of who You are Who you are. And all I ever have to be is what You've made me, Any more or less would be a step out of Your plan As you daily re-create me, help me always keep in mind, That I only have to do what I can find, And all I ever have to be, All I have to be, Is what You've made me. (All I Ever Have To Be, Amy Grant)
Tears pricked at my eyes as I just relished the fact that Jesus loves me. Right here, right now, just as I am. No amount of earthly accomplishment can make Him love me any more. And no lack of them can make Him love me any less. The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…
And then I found myself just praying, and once again offering my dreams and desires to Him. Sometimes we have to let go. Sometimes we have to swap our heavy yoke with His. The one that is light and easy. Sometimes we need to learn from Him, the One who is humble and lowly in heart. Oh how I need to let go and learn from this beautful friend.
In a moment, I was able to pray with clarity – Lord, anoint me to write the stories YOU want me to write. Help me to be led by You. Not driven into the ground. Lead me, guide me and inspire me, because You are the best author.
I felt Him remind me of the verse that says: “He is the author and the finisher of our faith! – Hebrews 12
God is writing the story of my life. He’s in control. I get frustrated because I’m not yet where I think I should be. But I’m right where He wants me. He is the author and the finisher. He doesn’t abandon any of the stories He starts writing. It’s the same for you. It doesn’t matter where you are on your journey of faith. Whether you’re at the gripping beginning, or the messy middle, or the awesome ending – He will never leave us or forsake us!
It’s all under control. Hallelujah, we can rest.