Unless you know me well, I’ve probably been keeping something from you—at least until now. You see, there’s a hidden aspect to my life. A mysterious pursuit. It involves long hours of solitary effort in a garret room. Painstaking research into obscure topics in untraveled reaches of the world-wide web. Weekend excursions to far-flung places to meet with others who share this esoteric interest.
Some of you have been subjected to my painful recounting of the ups and downs of this double life. But to most of you I’ve said nothing, out of fear. Fear that all my hidden effort would never really amount to something, ummm… “worth writing home about.”
Yes, friends and colleagues. For the past five years or so I’ve been…
Writing a novel.
Okay, it’s out there now.
I’m hardly alone. There’s a whole subculture of those who share my affliction and a whole ecosystem out there to minister to them. In fact, the reason I decided to go public with this now is that I’m headed to a Christian writer’s conference in Nashville. Yes, I am finally willing to take the first of the twelve steps. I am finally willing to put this into words.
Hello. My name is Linda Thompson, and I’m a writer.
When I started my novel, I had no idea this would become a five-year pursuit—I thought it might take a couple.
And I had no idea what a jealous love interest a novel would prove to be. How it would push out other interests (such as a tidy house—God bless poor Michael, my long-suffering husband!) and consume every extra odd corner of time I could devote.
My apologies go out to friends who wondered why I quit buying up Groupons for ladies’ nights out and stopped meeting you for coffee as often.
But now that the painful truth about my secret life is out, I can move on to my real message. This novel thang has had a long, quiet period of gestation. And it’s not at term yet. I’m going to be re-writing for several more months. And I’ve been pretty discouraged—pretty often—at how much more time, effort and emotion this journey has required than I expected. The conversation with the Lord has gone something like this: “I didn’t know this would take me five years, Lord. But You did. Was it worth it? Was this novel really Your calling on my life? Or have I been spinning my wheels all these years.”
But at a Christian writer’s conference I attended, the Lord really spoke to me about this. At a breakout session, we did an exercise where we were supposed to go out and pray and meditate in the grounds of Warner Pacific College, where the conference was held, and then write something to share. Something poetic and spiritual. To share with a bunch of writers. Thirty minutes.
Once I got past the initial panic and stilled my heart to listen, I noticed a couple things. The spear-shaped leaves of a grouping of bulb plants, not yet in bloom. They didn’t look like much. They would have been easy to overlook among the more spectacular work the Lord was doing in that flowerbed. But I got to thinking about how much preparation was going on below the ground, where I couldn’t see it. Those bulbs, quietly swelling, gathering strength from the soil and preparing to shoot out stakes full of dazzling blossoms in a few short weeks.
The press of petals within a rosebud—beauty about to burst at the seams. How many dozens of petals were “hidden” in there?
The Lord spoke to me about how active he is in the formative times. In times of gestation. In the hidden places where His work cannot be seen or measured, but where He is preparing to accomplish His purposes according to His timetable. With Moses in Midian. With Jacob in prison. With me in the solitude of my office.
Maybe He’s most at work there.
Jesus is there in the public things of our lives, but He is there in the hidden things as well. (“…your Father who sees what is done in secret…” Matt 6:4, 6:6, 6:18)
A rose doesn’t have to ask when and how it will glorify God. It just blooms in its appointed time, and it does.
I Cor 2:9: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived—the things God has prepared for those who love him…“
So guess what? I marched back into that room full of writers, iPAD in hand (of course, all those artistic types had spiral notebooks). I didn’t quite have the nerve to read what I actually wrote, but I shared the gist of what the Lord spoke to my heart. I suppose I wasn’t the most poetic person in the room. And certainly not the most spiritual. But I was whatever the Lord is making me, and that will be enough.
And so my inaugural blog post is born.
And… look, Mom! I’m a writer!