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Saturday, 7 January 2017

'Really, God?' by Mandy Baker Johnson

Do you believe that your ability to write is a gift from God?

This belief has been a long process for me. I never really dared to believe it for myself until very recently.

I had a huge wobble about writing last spring. It was the latest in many wobbles over the years. This time, I determined to tackle it once and for all.

God, if You really want me to write then please let it bear fruit. And if I've got it all wrong, then lop the writing branch out of my life.

A hard prayer to pray, but I meant it. Even though I fully expected God to sigh with relief that I'd finally gotten the message and He could cut writing out of my life.

Within two weeks, Amy Robinson approached me about co-publishing a short book, and I had an email from the editor of a Christian mission inviting me to write freelance articles for their magazine and website.

I recall going into my husband's study, stunned from these offers, to share the astounding news. He gave me an 'I told you so' look before going back to his Mac. He'd never doubted that God wanted me to write. But I took a fair bit of convincing.

It was all very well for Christian writing, but what about stories? Somehow I couldn't quite grasp that God might be interested in fiction too.

I decided to have my first shot at doing NaNoWriMo but was teetering between two possible ideas. I sort of prayed about it, knowing with my head that God is interested in every detail of my life. But my heart suspected God might be finding it all a waste of time, what did it matter what I wrote for NaNoWriMo? It wasn't serious (for me) anyway.

But one afternoon as I was praying and enjoying God in my kitchen, I had a strong impression that He wanted me to go for a walk in the woods. It was a sunny October day, so off I went. I could sense His presence and we had a happy time together.

And then it happened.

I saw a tree and immediately knew this was where my Tree People lived (one of the WriMo storylines I was considering). It was a tree I've walked past loads of times over the years, but I hadn't seen it till right then.

The Tree People was my WriMo YA/children's novel. I loved writing it and learned a lot in the process. I think I grew as a person, never mind as a writer.

I've realised that the ability to write is God's gift to me and it's okay to use it. Indeed, it would be wrong not to use it. I want to push past the limitations I've placed on myself and use my gift to the full. This is my God-given adventure; I wonder what will happen next...?




Mandy Baker Johnson is a private medical secretary and freelance writer. She enjoys blogging and has recently co-authored her first book, Drawn from Words. She volunteers with a Christian charity working with women in the sex industry.

21 comments:

  1. I am very much looking forward to reading that book

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  2. So exciting to hear what God is doing with your writing, Mandy - keep at it! xx

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    1. Thanks Fiona, and thanks for keeping me company at the start of The Tree People :) x

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    2. It was good fun...and probably my most productive day!

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  3. Lovely blog Mandy. Thank you.

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  4. I like the sound of the Tree People already.

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    1. Aw, thanks for your encouragement Fran x

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  5. So inspiring for me to read this, Mandy. As well as our writing reaching others, I believe that God wants us to do what truly makes us happy. If writing makes us happy, then I'm sure He will encourage this blessed gift. I love how that gorgeous tree inspired your story. I also find inspiration in nature, especially when I'm not particularly looking for it. Can't wait to read about the Tree People!

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  6. Thank you lovely lady. You've inspired me. I'm going to pray more about my writing. X

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    1. I'm so glad you've been inspired Pam. Isn't God fantastic? x

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  7. When I first felt the urge to write ten years ago, I asked God what he wanted me to write: overtly Christian stuff or secular with Christian values? I felt him say quite clearly: just start writing and I'll tell you when I'm ready to use you and you're ready to be used. It was about five years, two novels and lots of short stories later that I found myself writing spiritual poetry and thence on to prose pieces as well. Now I lead a Christian writing group that has just produced its first anthology. So my advice would be just let God lead you, write what comes easier and best but always be open and ready to respond to God's call.

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  8. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing Mandy.

    That was very encouraging to read, especially as I'm in a similar place - starting out and "finding my feet", as I open up my gift for the world to see and glorify God.
    I'm immediately reminded of the Scripture in Matt 5:16 - "In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven".

    God bless,

    Kemi

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    1. Amen to that Kemi! God bless you richly in your journey with Him x

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  9. Very encouraging post, Mandy. Keep going!

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