I thought were having an innocent marital conversation. But the Lord had other plans.
A seed had been planted in my husband’s mind from a devotion he had just finished reading. And there I was, chatting about the historical facts I had just discovered about a place I had wanted to include in my historical fiction story (facts that were disturbing, to say the least) and how I would now have to entirely fictionalize the place because there was no way I wanted to write THAT kind of story.
My little rant continued for only a few moments before my husband shocked me with the following words, “But maybe it’s the story God’s calling you to write?”
“But I don’t want to,” I confessed. “It’s not the sort of story I want to write. It would be so out of my comfort zone…”
My list of oppositions to the idea rolled on.
Then, he began to describe his devotional reading. It told the story of two sisters who housed Jews during WW2. Both sisters were inevitably arrested. One of the sisters was tragically killed. But the other survived and later explained how her courage as a Christian woman had come from words her father had spoken over her during her childhood:
‘When I was a little girl, I went to my father and said, “Daddy, I was afraid that I will never be strong enough to be a martyr for Jesus Christ.” “Tell me,” said father, “When you take a train trip to Amsterdam, when do I give you the money for the ticket? Three weeks before?” “No, Daddy, you give me the money for the ticket just before we get on the train.” “That is right,” my father said, “And so it is with God’s strength. Our Father in heaven knows when you will need the strength to be a martyr for Jesus Christ. He will supply all you need just in time.”‘Bible in One Year 2021 with Nicky Gumbel, Day 177, (Quoting Corrie ten Boom, in a letter 1974)
My husband then proceeded to tell me what he envisioned for my book and how powerful it could be if I had the courage to take on this difficult subject.
I then did what any apprehensive writer would do. I phoned a friend. Well, I recorded a voice message for my fellow historical fiction writer friend. I told her of the developments, exactly how I felt about them, and my greatest fears over tackling this. Then, I began to cry. I couldn’t make sense of it in the moment. But this subject had touched on something raw and unhealed within me. That was when I realized, I HAD to write this work. In fact, it was becoming so large, it was turning into a series!
By the end of my message, I knew what I had to do, but I was still terrified to do it. However, as our Sunday morning unfolded and our son happily went to kid’s church, my husband and I were together for the whole church service – a rare occasion in the realms of parenthood – and I was overwhelmed in the best way. Every moment spoke straight to my heart, even the pastor describing the winter fog in our little city and how sometimes our heads can become heavy with fog until we allow the sun – or rather, the Son, the light of the world – to ignite and burn up the fog.
I knew I needed clarity from the Lord to take up this call. It was a new approach of writing as worship. Not only did my heart need to be surrendered and postured in worship, but I needed to be actively obedient to follow this call that was entirely out of my comfort zone.
As it happened, the Lord had been preparing me for this moment for months, giving me words to encourage me in my obedience. Words I would need in this moment to remind me of how important obedience is. Even, in writing.
“When you don’t know what to say, simply obey and let God fill in the blanks with His divine presence! Charles Spurgeon said it right. ‘We are all, at times, unconscious prophets.’ … Simply by being obedient with our words, we can speak the future into the life of the church, a brother or sister in Christ, or even our own lives.”Darlene Zschech, Worship Changes Everything, Bethany House, 2016
“If God has given you clear direction… and your only real reason for resisting His is because you’re afraid of what following Him down this path might mean or cost or entail, then you’re not only on the threshold of being disobedient, you’re about to miss an opportunity to give God some fresh, new glory by doing what He’s wanting to do through you, which is the true impetus behind His invitation for you to join Him on this scary adventure in the first place.”Priscilla Shirer, Fervent, Broadman & Holdman, 2015
“… for believers, obedience isn’t the end of our freedom; it’s the beginning of our blessing.”Alli Worthington, Standing Strong, Zondervan Books, 2020
So, I’m writing this blog post now as a commitment to this call to obedience. And like my husband and my dear friend encouraged me, the Lord will give me the strength when I need it. In the meantime, I need to be obedient to this call. For God has not given me a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.
Is the Lord calling you into an act of obedience? If so, please leave a quick note in the comments and I’d love to pray for you!
‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.’Joshua 1:9
Heavenly Father, please give me the strength and courage I need to follow this call. Help me not to bend to the spirit of fear but remind me that through Your Spirit I have power, love, and a sound mind. In Jesus’ name, Amen.