Saturday, March 17, 2007

A Writing Journal I

March 5, 2007

The contents of this journal are the ruminations of three days in April 2006. I was over halfway through After the Leaves Fall and nearly paralyzed with fear, insecurity, and doubt. Some of the uncertainties that attacked my heart and mind may be familiar to you.

I can’t do this. I am going to fail.
Am I really doing God’s will for my life?
I’m not good enough.
I’m not strong enough.
I’m not smart enough, talented enough, disciplined enough…
I don’t even know what it means to be a Christian,
much less a Christian writer.
What exactly is a Christian writer?
What does God want from me and how do I do it?

Right about that time, a dear friend of mine handed me a copy of Madeleine L’ Engle’s Walking on Water. I was drowning. A little water walking sounded pretty darn good. Hey, I would have been happy with some water wings.

Fortunately, I was about to leave on a quick trip to Vancouver, British Columbia for my Canadian citizenship exam. I halfheartedly grabbed the book--frankly, not expecting much--and boarded my plane.

What happened was (at the risk of sounding melodramatic) life changing for me. I devoured Madeleine’s words, leaning and growing and most of all finding a voice for many things that my soul had known all along. I found that I absolutely needed to dialogue with the book--I had to experience it with my pen. What resulted was part conversation with myself, part prayer, part essay, and at the very root, essential to my concept of what it means to be an artist who is also a Christian. I’m sharing those musings with you.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am no intellectual. I am no philosopher, theologian or even anyone that you should take advice from. I am a fellow sojourner, an explorer who found a rare gem and was somehow transformed by unexpected beauty. If you find any wisdom here, I take no credit for it. You can thank Madeleine, Rob Bell, Donald Miller, C.S. Lewis, Brennan Manning, my father, my husband, my mother, my friends, my professors… basically anyone who has ever influenced my thinking. By the way, read their books. You won’t be disappointed.

But back to the journal… For the sake of brevity, I have organized and titled my thoughts. Only the very odd word has been changed, erased, or added (and only because in my haste I occasionally neglected to make sense). I tried to leave everything exactly as I felt it those three days in early spring. If you do end up reading these words, I hope that they lead you to wrestle with the indescribable presence of the Almighty God in your own life. He longs to use you. Your life is filled with meaning and purpose and he just plain adores you. How’s that for awesome?

As for me, I don’t have it all figured out. I never will. I still ask myself those painful questions and I sometimes find myself frozen in fear. But I have taken a step towards understanding and it has been nothing less than thrilling.

Thanks for joining me.

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