The journey to publication for Sophie Topfeather has taken about fifteen years (with about three months to go). I remember feeling bugged about the idea for the book for about a decade prior to starting it, and I prayed for the courage to do it for about a year before I wrote a single word. The prompting to begin became so urgent that I remember saying “OKAY! I’ll do it!–if you are sitting beside me the whole way!” out loud, in my office.
Even though I had always LOVED to read, I knew that I was a complete novice when it came to character development, plotting, story arcs, and even getting my characters from one tree to the next without boring the reader to death. I needed HELP, for the writing, for the time management, for courage to write something on topics I knew next to nothing about: world religions, owls, deer mice, pirates–you name it–and make it all fit together for the glory of God.
Even though I asked for God’s presence and help, I’ve always been amazed at ways that God has shown me that he is with me through it all. Big ways and small ways, and always with “just-in-time” ways. Some day, I’ll make a list.
The most recent way that I felt God’s presence in this novel journey happened this week. As the release date gets closer, I’ve been thinking about visits I could make to classrooms to tell them about the book, and about hands-on materials I could show kids to bring the story to life. Muslim prayer beads, for example, factor into one of the scenes. But how does one go about finding a set of Muslim prayer beads? We have a large Muslim population in our area, but I’ve never seen a store that might carry something like that. Just last week, I was wondering how to get a set and had given it up as a lost cause.
God provides, though! We went to a meeting at church to hear about our pastor’s recent trip to the Middle East. Everything was beautifully decorated, we had a great meal of hummus and lamb and other such food, and each table was draped with a scarf–and prayer beads. At the end of the meal, the pastor invited each person to take a set to remind them to pray for the Muslim people and the conflict between Muslims and Christians around the world. First time I’ve ever even seen a set of Muslim prayer beads, and now they were mine.
A Muslim girl at school has promised to tell me all she knows about them. She seemed quite pleased to be asked, and even though she doesn’t know a lot about them, she “knows half” and her sister “knows half.” When I started writing this book, I didn’t know any Muslim children to ask. Now? Lots. I guess God knew what he was doing all along!
Want to go on an adventure? Invite God along for the ride!
You have made known to me the path of life;
You will fill me with joy in your presence,
What adventures have you been on with God lately?
Image credit: http://www.familyholiday.net.
For friends new to this blog, “Wednesday’s Word” is a weekly Bible audio clip that rotates between Genesis, Luke and Psalms. Occasionally, I post “Wednesday’s Word to the Free,” a short Bible passage on what it means to be free. Freedom is a very big concern to Timley Mouse, the tiniest character in my upcoming novel, Bon Voyage, Sophie Topfeather! On Sundays, I post an article-type post on themes in the novels: faith, friendship, diversity, etc. Please join in the conversation!