In a flurry of emotional overwhelm, I rested my historical fiction writing project aside to work on the second book in my Spirit Flame young adult series. It was just… well… easier. The historical fiction felt like a heavy burden to carry, and was all the more heavy for the fear and uncertainty and insecurity the project represented. Working on a brand new shiny story seemed like a breath of fresh air for my soul and I managed to write a small excerpt, an epilogue for book one which would act as a segue into book two. Amazing! Just what I needed to finish book one and hopefully leave the reader wanting more. And it seemed like the perfect opportunity to concentrate on working on the Spirit Flame series. There was only one problem. Other than that short epilogue, no other words were coming. Every idea suddenly felt stale. I thought, if only I could do this or that, then I would be able to write it. I just had to plan more, pray harder, strive for it.
Note to self – that’s not writing as worship.
And deep within myself I knew I didn’t want to approach my writing from a place of striving. I wanted the Holy Spirit to stir. I wanted to sense the God moments exploding like fireworks as He brought together the details of my book. I wanted to posture myself in praise and gratitude. I wanted to rely on Him and to honour Him with my words. I wanted to write as worship.
In order to do this, I knew what I needed more than anything. More than the thousands of words on the page, more than a full night’s sleep, more than an hour to myself… More than anything, I needed to soak in God’s presence. I needed to sit at my worship desk, take communion, bask in His presence, write His Word on my heart, and I needed to pray from a genuine heart and need for Jesus. I needed to brace with my spiritual armour. I needed to resist the enemy who whispered that I wasn’t good enough and that I ought to be afraid to put my writing out there. The same enemy that said writing was a waste of time, after all, what did I have to show for it…
So I did exactly what I needed to in that moment, I rested in the presence of God.
I stopped listening to the lies of the enemy.
I don’t know how long I sat there in prayer and reflection but it was the refreshment my soul needed. So desperately. There were no words written – besides the four from Scripture I penned on my forearm – but that didn’t matter.
The evening drew on and as I prepared to go to sleep, I listened to worship music through my headphones. I continued to listen as I went to brush my teeth in the bathroom. I was gently led to the song ‘Surrounded‘ by Kari Jobe, and in to my surprise and awe, the song wove into the lyrics from the old hymn ‘Rock of Ages’.
I paused the electric toothbrush.
And I remembered the words I had penned all those weeks ago…
So like those nights when she wasn’t sure if the patient would last, she recited the Psalms she knew by heart. And when those ran dry and the lamplight was too dim to read the Word of God, she would sing the hymn her mother sang over her as a child. ‘Rock of ages, cleft for me… Let me hide myself in thee…’A Desert Rose (Prequel Novelette)
Lily slid into the back pew as the service began and a trio of singers led the modest congregation into Rock of Ages.
‘Rock of ages, cleft for me… let me hide myself in thee…‘
How Lily wished she could hide now.Shades of White (Work in Progress)
I smiled to myself. And I knew. The Lord was calling me back into my historical fiction project. I knew He was surrounding me. I knew He would help me fight against the fear and insecurity that I felt was surrounding me.
And then there were those words written on my forearm. Power. Love. Sound mind. Words taken directly from His Word. Three gifts from Him that opposed a spirit of fear.
No more overwhelm.
No more fear.
I was surrounded by Him.
I could rest in His presence.
Then, this morning as I opened my Bible to my favourite corner of Scripture – the Psalms – I turned the page to find an untouched, unmarked page. And then the following words washed over me…
Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds His people both now and forevermore.Psalm 125:1-2 (NIV)
There was that word again. Surrounds. He was surrounding me.
I was surrounded by the armour of God. The presence of God.
Just as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord’s wraparound presence surrounds His people, protecting them now and forever.Psalm 125:2 (TPT)
So, if you need me, I’ll be working on my historical fiction project… surrounded by the presence of God.