Thursday, January 31, 2013
LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE
LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE
Sandra here to welcome you to another day in this new year. Can you believe it is already the end of January? And one of my favorite months is coming up. February.
Valentine’s Day should be a national holiday for romance writers and readers.
Don’t you think?
I mean a celebration that includes love, chocolate and flowers. Wowza.
But on a more serious note I want to talk about something that has been heavy on my mind. After the tragic shooting of the children last month I read a statement that has been rumbling in my head. The question was, “Where were you God?” and the answer was “You took Me out of your schools.” I can’t remember where I read this but it has been haunting me.
It is a question I have been dealing with as a writer. By writing for the ABA market, am I taking God out of my writing? Or am I bringing Him where He needs to be?
When Current of Love was due to come out, I signed with writerspace.com because they are touted as being a wonderful publicist. They represent many best selling authors who are friends of mine. But if any of you joined me on some of my chats you could see that they also represented authors who wrote genres that most Christians wouldn’t want to read.
So I’m thinking to myself, should I be here?
When I met some of the personnel from Amazon Publishing at the RWA conference in Anaheim last year, one of them made the comment, “Oh I bet you are glad that you will be able to write a lot of sex now.”
So I’m thinking, is that what Montlake wants? Is this where I want to be?
When I was writing for Avalon, they had me take out obvious references to God. They wanted wholesome stories that didn’t have controversial elements such as religion, sex, violence. As a Christian author, I could certainly show God’s presence without telling. This was done by the actions of the characters, their values and their love.
Even though God wasn’t named, God was still there. It warmed my heart when Vince said in one of his comments on our blog that he thought Price of Victory was very spiritual. God was still there and He reached a lot of people through that book.
I believe He is at Montlake as long as I am there. My stories will continue to be wholesome and my characters will show Christian values and love.
And I believe He was at writerspace when I was there. I didn’t mention Him, but I showed His presence by my comments and how I responded to the publicity.
God has a way of reaching out to the lost that we can’t even begin to imagine.
I grew up as a Christian but I rebelled and left the church when I was an adult and didn’t return to a relationship with the Lord until I was in my forties. When I realized I needed a relationship with Him, there was no way I was going to go to church to find Him. I walked the park every morning and He sent a Christian to witness to me. See, He caught me where I was—in the park. And thankfully there was a Christian available in the park to be that witness.
And when I found that relationship, the Lord found ways to use me where I was. I taught in a public school at the time. Well as mentioned above, we can’t mention the Lord in a public school. But the LORD WAS THERE. I insisted on the minute of silence and explained very explicitly what that meant. I would explain to the students that in the old days we prayed in class to start the day, but now that there were so many different religions in our country and we have the first amendment to the constitution, we had a minute of silence instead. They were allowed to pray to whomever they wanted to and if they didn’t want to pray, they could be silent and think positive thoughts about their day. Then I would go on to explain that since I was a Christian, I prayed to God the Father, in the name of His Son, Jesus and invited the Holy Spirit into the classroom. They also came to know that I took that minute of silence very seriously.
As time went on, the students would really get into that minute of silence. They would ask for it all the time when a friend was ill, or if there was a problem in the class. One time I couldn’t find my keys and one student advised “Teacher, you need to have a minute of silence.” Sure enough we did and the Lord was always faithful to show the students what the minute of silence accomplished.
And ALWAYS there would be students who would ask questions that I couldn’t answer about prayer, the Lord, etc. But ALWAYS there would be a student in the class who would volunteer to answer and I would tell them to talk about it during recess.
And there were Christian parents on the board who insisted on maintaining Christian values in our schools. One school I was at had astrology signs painted on the walls in the hallway. Christian parents went to the board and insisted the walls be repainted.
Are you getting my point? Even though technically, we couldn’t bring God into the classroom and school, because there were Christians in it, He was there.
And this goes for writing too.
I remember the national RWA conference in Reno in 2005. Debbie Macomber was the keynote speaker. It was not a Christian conference, but Ms. Macomber’s speech was all about how God had worked in her life. She barely mentioned God, just in a brief reference that she had prayed about her decision to write. But all of her actions, decisions, behavior were a bright witness of God’s love. No one was expecting that. The whole audience was given a taste of the Lord because she is a Christian and she was there. She wasn’t trying to convert anyone nor was it on the agenda as a Christian event, but it happened and lives were impacted.
That is what He has been reminding me of whenever I begin to doubt the path my writing is taking.
I belong to both ACFW and RWA. I belong to the local chapters for both. And while I love being able to pray before a conference or meeting, I also feel it is important to continue to attend the RWA meetings and conferences. By my presence there, the Lord can be there also.
I don’t talk about Him all the time, nor do I evangelize. Those aren’t my gifts. But I must reflect Him somehow because whether I’m at school, at writer’s meetings, on the pickleball court or with family and friends, people come to me and ask me to pray for them or they come and talk to me about problems, etc.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t isolate yourself because you are a Christian. Get out there in the world and let your light shine. You will be used in amazing and miraculous ways. It isn’t an accident that all four of the Gospels have the command to not hide the lamp under a basket, but to let the light shine. Think of all the ways we can show God’s love in our actions, reactions, lifestyle, interaction with others.
My word this new year was to listen and obey. So I will continue to participate in the world activities where I am led. I will continue to write what I am inspired to write. And I will stop questioning where my work goes. Hopefully by staying close to Him, His light will shine through me.
How is your light shining? What ways does the Lord use you? I love all the testimonies I hear in Seekerville.
God does love variety doesn’t He?
Please help yourself to a cup of steaming coffee or hot chocolate on this chilly day and share your stories.
Commenters will be put in for a drawing of their choice of one of my books. As announced in the Weekend Edition, CODY THE COYOTE is now out and all of my picture books are on ITUNES. Remember that I write my children's books under my maiden name Sandy Wardman.
Or if you prefer, I will make a $100.00 donation to your charity of choice. I received my first check from Amazon and was pleasantly pleased. So I have to find more places to tithe. smile