By Elizabeth Musser
I received my Huguenot cross in December of 1994, given to me by my beloved husband, Paul. We spent many hours looking for just the right cross because it was extremely significant to me. It represented the dreams of a lifetime, the answer to decades of prayer.
I was going to write a novel.
Many believers in the city in France where my husband and I served as missionaries wore this cross as a symbol of their faith in Jesus. For me, it was a symbol not only of my faith in Christ, but also of how He had answered my prayers over and above all I could ask or think. It was a constant testimony to the way He put me at the right place at the right time at my first writer’s conference in the US where I met an editor who had previously served in missions in France. I shared with him my desire to write a novel, and he reminded me about the intrigue of the Huguenot cross.
I remember the dizzy glee I felt when this editor called me (I was now back in France) to say I had been offered a contract! I spent days and weeks studying the literal history of this cross, first worn by persecuted French Protestants in the late 17th century. I experienced pure joy typing my novel as the sun sifted through the upstairs window in our little office, causing hundreds of dots of light to twinkle around me. The source? My cross that twirled ever so slowly from its gold chain around my neck.
I think of all the tears that are symbolized in this cross – tears of the persecuted, tears of my crucified Savior, as well as my tears, as I have walked the sometimes painful path of missions work as well as being a writer, with its roller-coaster ride of acceptance, rejection and so much more.
I think of the cost of being Christ’s disciple that this cross also symbolizes. At times I have longed for life to be ‘easier’, for more French friends to come to Christ and be healed and grow, for the church to be healthier, for my stories to sell better.
But pretty much everything in life that is truly ‘worth it’ takes time. Jesus never promised me something easy. Why would I want easy? Or is it more like I want comfortable? Or secure? And yet this cross symbolizes cruelty and horrible death and then….amazingly new life. Passing through the pain is the only way to new life. I cannot take a detour. I cannot have Jesus without the cross, and He cannot have my life without me taking up my own cross.
But the cross is also a wonderful reminder that I am not doing this alone. Jesus is with me. He is as near as this beautiful gold cross which hangs around my neck. I go with Jesus.
I am such a lover of the symbolic, and so I wear this cross to remember the One who gave meaning to pieces of wood, who gave me the possibility of new life in Him, and who knows me so very intimately that He would allow me to write stories from my heart that point others to Him.
And now, I want to ask you: what symbols inspire and encourage you in your writer’s life?
Elizabeth Musser, wearing the Huguenot cross, writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet (tool shed) outside Lyon, France. For over twenty-five years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in missions work with International Teams. Find out about Elizabeth’s novels (The Swan House, The Secrets of the Cross Trilogy, The Sweetest Thing…) at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook.