Wednesday, 16 July 2014

One book too many?

The moment had come. I had finally arrived at that very last chapter of my current work in progress—another memoir entitled Coming Home to Myself. One would think I would fly through it at this point. But no ... it was a slow, hard journey, with many stops and starts and much use of the cut and paste function on my laptop, as well as that delete button.

There are several possible reasons for this, I believe. One is that some physical pain has intervened. In January, I had a back operation, which helped greatly. But of course that does not solve all the problems. I need to walk and exercise—and I need to remember to get up off this office chair at my desk at regular intervals and do something else.

Another is much more pleasurable and that is the arrival of our new grandchild in March. There is nothing like sitting at my laptop, cuddling our cute little granddaughter in one arm, while typing with the other! However, it has not been all that conducive to thinking clearly about how to round off that final chapter of my book.

A third factor that has come into play is one I should have known to guard against by now, having written seven other books. In this current manuscript, I have referred to several excellent books on related topics and quoted from some, probably reading and enjoying much more of them than I should have at this point. But then I made the mistake of leaving them piled up around me on my desk, within my line of vision. As a result, when the time came to write my own final chapter, those huge doubts began assailing me. What am I doing, writing this little book of mine when I see these great classics around me here? Surely these other wonderful authors have said all that is necessary—and said it so much better than I ever could? Is my book one too many?

But I believe there is a fourth reason for the depth of confusion I experienced in finishing that final chapter—and one that must not be overlooked by any of us. I believe the enemy does not like to see us putting our heart and soul into writing those books that say something significant about faith in God and that have the potential to make a difference for God in this world. So, at one particular point in my struggle to complete this book, I got to my feet and prayed out loud, taking a literal stand against what I sensed was happening. To my amazement, things changed dramatically. Almost at once, I knew what I had to write in those last few paragraphs. And writing them was sheer joy, as I sensed God’s Spirit filling me and freeing me up so that those words flowed again.

One book too many? Hopefully not! As God enables, I will keep writing—and praying. And I encourage you all to do the same.


Jo-Anne Berthelsen lives in Sydney but grew up in Brisbane. She holds degrees in Arts and Theology and has worked as a high school teacher, editor and secretary, as well as in local church ministry. Jo-Anne is passionate about touching hearts and lives through both the written and spoken word. She is the author of six published novels and one non-fiction work, Soul Friend: the story of a shared spiritual journey. Jo-Anne is married to a retired minister and has three grown-up children and four grandchildren. For more information, please visit www.jo-anneberthelsen.com or www.soulfriend.com.au.

10 comments:

  1. Interesting how the enemy strikes us at our our vulnerable times! Well, Jo, I'm sure this memoir will be used by the Lord. And when you think about it, it surely was a testing time you've been through. I believe that can only strengthen the message contained in your work for Him.

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    1. Thanks for your very wise comments, Rita--all so encouraging. Everything weaves together in our lives under God's hand, for sure--and God can bring such good out of those testing times in all sorts of ways.

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  2. Hi Jo-Anne. Thanks for your encouraging post. It is a good question isn't - why write my book when not only are there already so many great classics but also whole tribes of aspiring authors. Is my book one too many? Yet each writer has his/her own unique voice which will speak to different people and each author has his/her own unique sphere of influence. If God is calling us to write, it is perhaps not our business what others are writing - rather we need to be obedient to the call. So, I love your last point - that this is also a spiritual battle. Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. Yes, Jeanette, I totally agree we need to write what God has put on our hearts and called us to write, and that we each do have our unique sphere of influence. I had to come to terms with that back before I even started writing in 2003. I used to walk into a big Christian bookstore near us and think 'Why would I add to this mountain of books already here?' But then others said to me: 'But none of them is YOUR book!' Still, sometimes, when those other books surround me on my desk here, I still fall into this trap! The enemy still prowls around and doesn't give up easily!

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  3. Great testimony, Jo-Anne, on the power of prayer and how it knocks the enemy away and fills us with inspiration.

    Congratulations on completing your seventh manuscript and all the best through the editing process. Keep batting the enemy away with those prayers of yours.

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    1. Thanks, Ian. One would think I would remember the amazing power of prayer more than I do, having been very involved in all sorts of prayer ventures over the years in ministry. This recent lesson to stand firm and pray was such a clear reminder to me--God is very gracious!

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  4. Glad to hear the results of your prayer. Look forward to reading another from you.

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    1. That's so encouraging, Dale--thanks! I look at this current book and wonder if it is sufficiently dissimilar to my earlier memoir 'Soul Friend' to find a niche in the market--I think it is, but only time will tell.

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  5. Jo-Anne, great post! Self doubt can be crippling and I agree with what Jeanette said in her comment. I'm glad you're now experiencing less physical pain and I'm looking forward to reading this book :)

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  6. Thanks, Narelle. Very encouraging to hear you're looking forward to reading this next book that doesn't even exist as yet! I'd better shake a leg and get it finished, in that case.

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