“My beloved responded and said to me,
‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one,
And come along.
‘For behold, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
‘The flowers have already appeared in the land;
The time has arrived for pruning the vines,
And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.
Song of Solomon: 2:10-12
My struggle to articulate the deep love for Jesus in my writing stemmed from a number of personal difficulties. I could easily write from passion, but I could not advance to the next level because I could not frame my feelings in ways that the market could understand. I could easily write from the pain that I felt in my daily life, so my work had an air of confusion and anguish. I could easily empathize with tortured characters, but I could not help them find their way out of their painful circumstances. I found plotting to beyond the short story to be very difficult, ultimately because I could not find my way in my own life.
In the 1990s I pitched an alternate worlds comic book to several independent publishers. I got nibbles from two of the three publishers and felt that I was at the edge of great beginnings as a successful fiction writer. One editor wrote me a wonderful letter of encouragement, taking the time to explain why they were not interested. In his letter told me that although the concept was great, he couldn't see where I was going with the story. With a start, I realized that neither did I.
There have been a number of wonderful creative works born out of personal difficulty. Four come immediately to mind: George Frederic Handel with his magnificent Messiah, St. John of the Cross and his wonderful Dark Night of the Soul, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra and powerful The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha, John Bunyan with his masterful The Pilgrim's Progress and his insightful work on prayer, Praying with the Spirit and with Understanding too.
These men had one thing that I lacked -- a clear sense of identity. Looking back, I see that although I had the technical skills to be a fiction writer, spiritually I simply did not know who I was. So, ten years ago, during a time of deep personal stress, I called to the LORD and he began to show me His identity as the Lover of my soul. Since returning to fiction writing this past year, I have experienced a greater freedom in my work now that my identity has been firmly established in Him.