Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Retreat
One of the biggest frustrations of a writer during a Christian Writers’ conference, I’ve observed, is knowing if this is her season to embark on a journey to write with complete devotion.
We seem to collectively believe that because God has called us to write, we must do everything in our power to publish immediately- whether it be a larger work or a shorter work. We begin to think that if we are in this place, right here, right now, then all outcomes will turn into victories.
We begin to think that we can pursue success and triumph through our own strength and thus, we lose sight of the One who has our lives in the apple of His eye and in the power of His hands. We dress our writing endeavors in checklists and opinions from others while abandoning the very audience of One, the Lord, whom we serve and adore.
The better part of my experience here at Mount Hermon has consisted of learning from other writers about how the Lord has ushered them through their writing journey. I am curious to learn about what they are writing about, how God has delivered them from traumatic events in their past, and most importantly, how they live out their faith through their printed words.
I sat on a kayak this morning in the Santa Cruz harbor. I awoke at 5 am to meet with my group at 6 am and we drove together through Ocean Avenue to get to our destination. While the sun rose, we passed Marianne’s Ice-Cream parlor and Ferrell’s’ doughnut shop, two places I used to visit the most late at night with my roommate from the campus dorms during the old days of freshman and sophomore year. On the kayak, I sat in total serenity and observed the wildlife: a sea otter on his back over the surface, and a sea lion basking in the morning light over a deck. I saw fishermen going out to sea and buoys covered in algae and rust.
I needed to pause to contemplate God’s grandeur as we drifted over the ripples and I considered this thought: I may never do this again.
In just a moment, it would all be over. It would become a colorful photo captured with little detail locked into memory. I will be nostalgic for this in five years, I thought, if the Lord allows me the time to contemplate it. I will long for this moment again just as I do for those longings of years past.
I heard that faith is taking the first step before knowing the second step.
Today, I stretched myself by faith, unknowing what would become of me out to sea. Being away from land, whether in the air on a plane or on a boat in the water, is unnerving to me. Although we remained in the jetty, it was a profound experience because we could have been taken by any act of God! Although we know any act of God that can devastate us could take place about anywhere: on land, sea, or air.
Our life is a landing stage, like a jetty—a pier at which boats are moored. Likewise, we are moored to the word of God, to His plan for us and we can remember that as we are called to write, we write for an audience of one. It would be foolish to bury our talents in the ground and conceal them from being fully realized for His purpose. If we are called to write and don’t do it, it is disobedience, even when we delay it all together.
Jesus walked on water, and he calmed the seas. God formed the oceans and the earth and he formed me – and you. And thus we need to write for Him, as if we may never be able to do it again or get a second chance.