By Jenny Glazebrook
|Tahlee Ministry and Training Centre, Port Stephens|
Last month I spoke at a Christian High School Writers’ Retreat at Tahlee on Port Stephens. It was exciting to see the next generation of writers God is raising up in Australia. The passion, the willingness to learn and the young dreams all reminded me of my own heart and reason for writing.
In my time lecturing and mentoring, I encouraged the young people to see purpose in everything that happens in their lives and to use each experience for God’s glory.
We talked about the fact that if we live the depth of this life, experience all the senses, enjoy the richness of both joy and pain, we have more to offer our readers, more to help us connect.
A student was able to put this into practice one afternoon as I sat mentoring her. We were discussing her writing idea when a mina bird landed above us. There was the sound of a plop, and there on her felt iPad cover was a huge bird mess. She gasped in horror and I raced to find some paper towel.
As I wiped it up as best I could, I reminded her that nothing in this life is wasted if we choose to use it. ‘Can you use this experience somehow?’ I asked.
Her eyes lit up. ‘Yes! My characters are auditioning for a theatre production. Yes, something like this would fit really well!’
And in that moment the bird dropping on her iPad became an exciting idea rather than an inconvenience.
Imagine if we could live this way?
I try, but I admit I often fail.
As I wait in hospital rooms or in medical waiting areas I try to watch what is going on aroundme. To feel everything, observe everyone, and soak up the moment. And in doing this, ‘wasted’ time becomes valuable. I grow to understand more about people and the world we live in. And in doing so I learn more about myself and God.
Not only is this good for my writing, it is good for my life. If I can let my life story be God’s story I know there is purpose in everything. When I spill toothpaste on my clean shirt, rather than become irritated and stressed I can see it as a valuable experience. If I truly believe God is in every detail, I can trust Him with it all. When tragedy strikes I can know that God is working out the story of my life for good.
The second thing that struck me anew in my time with the High School students is that if we want to be a writer we need to write! So many of the students told me about ideas floating around in their heads. Some of them were brilliant.
‘Have you written them down?’ I asked time and time again. Most hadn’t. So I couldn’t even have a look at their ideas and help develop them. If they’d at least written them down, even if they needed work we would have had something to work with.
It occurred to me that over half these students will probably never write a book. Are they capable? Absolutely. They are gifted, intelligent writers. But what good is a writer who never writes?
And so I came home and started the project I had been putting off.
My prayer for each of those students, and also for us as adult writers, is that we will see God’s hand in every experience. That we will live the richness of this life, put it down in words, and connect with our readers. Above all, that we will connect with our God who valued relationship with us more than His own life.
Jenny Glazebrook lives in the country town of Gundagai with her husband, Rob and 4 children along with many pets. She is the published author of 7 novels, 1 traditionally published, and 6 self published. She writes because words burn within her. She is an experienced inspirational speaker and loves to encourage others to walk closer with God and hear His voice each day. She has a Diploma of Theology and is a 3 times CALEB finalist. Jenny’s website is: www.jennyglazebrook.com