Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Novel

I've always wanted to write a novel.  When I was 17 I even dug out the old typewriter and started typing.  I didn't get past the first paragraph.  It wasn't that I lacked a vivid imagination, it was that I lacked the words to express that imagination.  I didn't know where to begin.  How to start.  I also admittedly at that time lacked patience to sit there and focus on writing.  Now you may say that was because I was 17, however, its something I still struggle with.  I have many studies where I started them and have never finished them.  I'm a Martha and have to be doing rather than sitting.
Last week at Babes, one of the questions posed by Beth Moore in the study guide of  David - Seeking a Heart Like His, was: 
Imagine a book recording the history between you and God - things you have been through together, seasons you've experienced.  You don't have to know Him long to have some kind of history with God.  What would be the title of the book?  List the name of five chapters. Moore, Beth. "A Great Celebration." David: Seeking a Heart like His. Nashville, TN: LifeWay, 2010. Print. 
I loved this question.  It spoke to my imagination.  My writing juices started flowing (ok, raging).  I immediately started thinking of songs that I love or have loved about love and relationship.  About longing and lost.  About hope and despair.  These songs, though many reflecting about eros love, reflected my love of God.  My relationship with God.  My longing for Him.  My running from Him.  My embracing Him.  I have always expressed myself in song through my life.  Music is often the mode of expression that I use to praise God.  I've used it in prayer, in worship, and in teaching.   While reflecting more on the question, my "book" started taking a  life of it's own, just as my relationship with God did.
My title would be "After All."  My relationship with God has been a continual dance with God.  On again and off again.  I was first introduced to God formally as a child when my family moved to a small isolated military base.  My mother decided that we should all go to Cathecism at the local Catholic church, although we never went to Church.  In the turmoil of the my mother's marriage to her second husband this actually was a blessing.  It introduced me to the peace and sanctuary that God provides.  I would go to church and sit with my friend's family.  I actually often beat the Priest to Church.  Now reflecting on this, I wonder what He thought of this little girl.  I wonder if he ever wondered what would lead me to church that early on a Sunday morning so enthusiastically.  I loved being part of this community.  It was embracing.  It was joyful.  It was a great introduction to God.  After a year and a half of living in the tumultuous household I was living in, I returned to living with my grandparents who did not attend church at all.  

Therefore that would be the beginning of the first chapter "The Continual Meet and Greet" (I couldn't find a song to express this).  When I moved back with my mother a few years later, again I found sanctuary in the Church.  However, this congregation was not as uplifting of me as I needed.  When I think back, I think this is where I experienced the hypocrisy of the Church body - the bench warmers, the judgers, the know it alls.  This was the beginning of my teen years, which are so formative and of which I could have used God's truth, love and grace to get me through.  The Church failed and I floated away.....
When I was in my mid twenties I met my husband, who was a Chrstian and attended Church.  This lead to my "Formal Introduction" to God.  I started attending church with my husband and his family.  I even attended a Franklin Graham Crusade.  I still wasn't ready to accept, but I was open to hearing more.  
My next chapter would be called "Getting to Know You".  Can't you just hear Deborah Kerr singing in the back of your head to all the children of the Siamese king in the King and I.  It was like that.  I was getting to know about God through Alpha.  I had left Christianity and looked in other places, specifically Wicca.  I was as you can say "Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places."  I know I need to stop.  I tried to fill the emptiness of my heart with sex, alcohol and wrong beliefs.  The me was more important.  Through Alpha, I learned about God and His love and ultimate sacrifice for me.  I learned that I was loved and forgiven no matter what I had done.  That I was recreated.  I was clothed in new clothes.  The more I got to know about God the closer I wanted to be with Him.  It was at that time that I accepted Him as my Father.

However, once the honeymoon period was over, I started to float in my faith.  I tried to do it on my own.  I wanted to be in control.  I was "On My Own."  I ran ahead of God.  I didn't follow where He wanted to lead me.  I wanted everything promised the easy way.  As many of you know there is no easy way.  There is only His way in His time.  So I floated.  I did do some studies, but it was not a time of deep relationship with Him.  God was kept at an arms length not within me.  

I finally came to place where I had to admit that I needed God way more than He ever needed me.  I had to acknowledge that I needed to immerse myself in His word so that He could teach me where I should be go.  I had to allow Him to take the lead.  I was finally back where I belonged, "Back in His (Baby's) Arms" (I know cheesy song).  I was home.  I was with my Father and He wanted me there.  Not that I haven't strayed or tried to play out in the world, but He is always quick to draw me back in.  

I know my book isn't finished yet.  There is still a lot to learn and God continues to lead me to places where I'm not comfortable.  However, He doesn't just drop me there without any supplies or help.  He is there with me, through all my joy, through all my pain, through sunshine and pain......did you think I wouldn't end with a song. 

What book are you and God writing together?  What songs are the two of you singing together?

I am joining in with Jen at Finding Heaven for Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood.


Jen said...

Oh, Michelle, I just love this. The idea of the book, the idea of a song that I'm dancing with God to -- it's all just so...good.

I love all your chapters and the songs are fitting to the titles. I'm terrible with song names (I'm a terrible singer, too) but I think the theme song for me right now would have to be one about overcoming.

Tammara said...

i loved this post. It was a great read and I loved the concept of naming the different chapters of our lives (and using songs) - what a great idea and exercise for budding writers!

thanks for the inspiration.

Aurie said...

What a fantastic and creative post! I love the thought that you put into this :)

kendal said...

ahhhhh. you think like on eof my best friends who has students complete simialr assignments! my favorite of your was "getting to know you." like jen, i'm not so great with song titles....

Andi said...

Beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

~Rain``` said...

Your story shows God's beautiful grace. Thanks for sharing.

Natalie at Mommy on Fire said...

Michelle! I'm doing the David study right now, too! How funny...We are week three so I haven't seen this one yet...

Right now God and I are writing a book about gratitude, pride, and humility. It's all kinds of fun.

Song? "Empty Me" by Chris Sligh. "Awakening" by Chris Thomlin. Many others but these are the first two that come to my mind.

Love your book, girl. I would totally read it, just so you know. :)

Katharine said...

I love this! What a beautiful way to look back at our journey and isn't it wonderful how faithful God is!

marlece said...

first time over here....love that I got in on a little bit of your testimony. I also loved this study of David. It sure showed me that our Lord doesn't take the 'perfect' to call him a man after His own heart, as long as our hearts are there with His. And your book? I LOVE THIS! In fact these songs, so many bring back 'moments' in my life. I love it!

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Alberta, Canada
I'm a 39 year old (oh yeah I'm telling you my age) Stay at Home mom. A former Bad Girl now reformed sinner, I'm married to my Y2K guy and raising 3 great children from God. Proudly Canadian, however, missing the West Coast, I currently live in the prairies watching the farmers fields produce as I learn how God produces the fruits in me.

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