Nine thousand, one hundred, and seventeen.
That’s how many pages I had written toward my third rewrite of my book. By hand. All my book needed was time, character development, and a meaty storyline. I’m pretty sure God gave me all of that when I went on this retreat a few weeks ago.
I’d signed up for reNEW (retreat for New England Writing) over the summer. One of my friends from church invited me after she saw that I wanted to pursue a career as a writer. The three of us from church who traveled together on Columbus Day Weekend did not know what to expect.
The retreat took place at Holy Family Retreat Center in West Hartford, Connecticut. Having been built in the early 1950s, this retreat center has served as a source of hope, recovery, and a renewed love for Jesus Christ.
Believe it or not, this is what my book was missing!
As you know, my book is about a young woman who struggles with anxiety and learns to deal with the wounds from her past. My book started as a testimony of how God healed me of anxiety. Because I wanted to minister to a non-Christian audience (so that they can also find freedom from anxiety), I made God a symbolic, ambiguous character in the story. When people read the story (even Christians!), they had no idea that the King was supposed to serve as the God character.
Before going on this retreat, I had been wrestling with how much of God I should put in my book. On this retreat, I learned that God should be where he always was in my life, my marriage, and my writing: right at the center. After walking through the Stations of the Cross, I could imagine my character walking along the trail, seeing her anxiety through the eyes of her Savior who literally moved Heaven and Earth to save her. That experience brought healing not only to my soul, but to the soul of my main character, Tori.
If you never read anything from me again, may this message stick with you: Jesus Christ died for all of our sins, defeating death and all that it entails, and rose again three days later, carrying with him the hope of eternal life. We think that eternal life begins when we die. Well, we die when we surrender our lives to Christ, and He gives us new life right now. And that’s how I was finally able to understand how to overcome anxiety, when I realized how dead I was before Jesus came and breathed new life into me. Now my anxiety has no power over me. And that’s the message behind my book Kingdom of Truth (title pending).
I’m thankful for the people who made reNEW possible. I’m so blessed to have met some wonderful ladies who are now encouraging me in my writing and are giving me some interesting material to read as well! I felt like I was a spark plug in need of an outlet, and this retreat truly helped me get connected and revived.
Now that I’m back to “the real world,” please pray that I would take the time to really invest in this book. I have very little free time in my schedule, and when I actually have time, I’m tired and just want to curl into a ball and drink some tea. But the desire to write has been burning within, even more now that I’ve attended this retreat. My goal is to finish the book by the end of this year. I’m celebrating each time I write even a hundred words (a paragraph) a day.
Thank you all for your support and prayers!
Photo courtesy of Green Chameleon on Unsplash.