On 4th March this year, our fourth grandchild was born—a little girl called Maxine. Of course, she is
I thought of Maxine recently, in the midst of writing my second work of non-fiction. This book was conceived towards the end of last year and is taking some time to develop. It is another memoir, but, unlike Soul Friend, it follows a particular thread of my journey from my earliest years to the present. As well, each chapter contains some teaching on one facet of that journey and some reflection questions for readers. At the moment, I am unsure if it will work—and whether it will even be considered suitable for publication. Some days, I want to forget about the whole idea, because this book is proving quite difficult to bring together in the shape I envisage. But I press on. After all, it’s my baby—it has a name already and I can visualise that cover even now.
I remember a time in 2005 when I was looking for a publisher for my very first novel Heléna. I had almost given up and shared my dilemma with some Christian women leaders at a retreat. As we prayed for one another, one younger woman prayed specifically that I would find a publisher and that Heléna would in fact be birthed safely. I was touched to the point of tears that she understood how this first novel did indeed feel like a real baby to me. It had actually gestated within me for years and years—and I longed for it to see the light of day. Later, she quietly told me she had seen an ad for a new Christian publisher in a magazine at her mother’s place and would send me the details. I knew she was a busy, young mum and doubted she would remember—but she did. Many months later, this was the publisher who released my first novel Heléna.
Yes, sometimes it’s exhausting work, coaxing those books inside us into being, helping them take shape in the way God wants. But I take heart as I watch our little Maxine develop more and more as a little person. As I put time and effort and prayer into this current writing project of mine, it will come together, if God wants it to touch others for the Kingdom. As I nurture it carefully and as God breathes life into it, it will grow and blossom, just as God has reminded me through our little granddaughter.
If you too are in the midst of wrestling with a writing project, may you take heart today and keep going. May God give you great joy as you watch that precious baby grow and develop—and eventually stand on its own two feet!
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 three grandchildren. For more information, please visit www.jo-anneberthelsen.com or www.soulfriend.com.au.