By Norma Gail
Sometimes life is like getting rear-ended, bouncing around like a rubber ball as the car does a complete 360, colliding with the median and curb, making you wonder if it will ever stop. The only question my mind can form is “God, why?”
The world around me became silent a little over a month ago. I can hear but I can’t speak loud enough to be heard over background noise. Unlike a similar experience in 2007, I can make a little sound and I’m grateful. Then, I made no sound for 4 ½ months. Unlike last time, I already have a diagnosis but it’s not easy to get in to but I must await my time with the specialist.
Living in the mountains, my days are filled with silence, surrounded by wind in the pines, bird songs, and the bubbling fountain. I’m more alert to little sounds when I can’t speak. I also panic in parking lots and garages where I couldn’t yell if I was attacked. My emotions are labile, always wondering if my voice loss will be permanent at some point.
I do know that God wants me to hear Him above the din of everyday life and the chaos of the world. In this silent place, my devotionals take on a deeper, darker tone. Job, Jonah, Jeremiah, become friends I identify with in suffering. Other relationships are more difficult. Relying on email and text messages for communication causes some things to become lost in translation. With God, communication is freer, continual, and less interrupted.
Writing devotionals often drives me to tears, as scripture challenges me to ignore feelings and rely on faith, a necessary exercise for understanding what God is teaching me. Writing fiction is my release, an escape into a world where characters do what I want, and happy endings are the norm. Talking to and role-playing make-believe characters is a safety net, a quiet retreat into a life where God’s answers are always what I want to hear, therapy for a heart grasping for hope.
Real life comes with labels that say things like “no return”, “do not reply”, “sorry, we are unable to fulfill your order at this time”. Readers need that escape too. As I undergo a long course of medical treatment, I devour books for escape. As I read, I learn to reach my readers more effectively.
As writers, we provide recreation, imagination, fun, creativity, and escape. As Christian writers, we also offer truth, played out in the lives of our characters in ways that we hope finds a home in their hearts.
No author can deny that a part of us inhabits the people we create. When our characters face conflict and struggle, we often create metaphors from our own problems to illustrate our points. My daily prayer is to learn my lessons well and portray them in ways that touch my reader’s hearts.
When life is hard, I ask the Lord to mold me through the struggle. I pray to survive the collision with a deeper understanding of God’s truth. My “why’s” become prayers for words which serve as vessels of truth to the heart of my readers, to change them as God is changing me. If my writing accomplishes that, it is to His glory.
Land of My Dreams is Norma Gail’s debut novel. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and Romance Writers of America. She lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 40 years. They have two adult children. Connect with Norma on her website, Facebook and Twitter.
©Norma Gail Thurston Holtman, May 24, 2016
“When life is hard, I ask the Lord to mold me through the struggle.”
That makes me think of being clay on a wheel, and God is the potter, shaping us into the image of His Son. Not an easy thing to endure, but when we do, we become the vessel God intends us to be.
Your post is one I needed to read today. Thank you for sharing your experience.
You are so welcome, Patricia! I believe God not only wants to grow us through trials, He also wants us to share the message of hope in Him to edify the body. Oddly enough, the last time I experienced a similar voice loss, I was leading a Bible study called “Becoming a Vessel Gid Can Use”!
Norma, I admire your gracious heart and attitude as I can’t imagine how frustrating this trial must be. I pray that you’ll be able to speak again soon and that God will continue to open more and more doors for people to hear your writing voice as well.
Blessings ~ Wendy