You know when an idea just drops into your head to do something that you’re entirely untrained for, but it is so persistent that you know it’s from God? You really have no choice but to act on it.
That’s what happened to me back in 2004. My husband and I were discussing the success of the Harry Potter series. “That’s what you need to do,” Craig asserted. “Write a book that’ll become world famous.” I just laughed. It was impossible. We were not only both engineers working full-time in Bangkok at the time, but we had two young children, aged three and four.
And then it happened. The idea just popped into my head. “You know,” I mused, “If I were to write a book, I know exactly what I want to write about.”
“Well, you should do it,” he encouraged, “but make sure it’s seven books!”
I laughed. “I don’t think my story is seven books long, but I think I can make it three.”‘
And that was that. The idea that I’d had was based on John 17:6-19 – that we’re in the world but not of the world. I’ve always loved the Narnia series, but it’s all very well when you’ve got Jesus (Aslan) right there telling you what to do. What about if you’re like us, living 2000 years down the track, trying to find our way to Jesus?
I’m an avid reader, with fantasy fiction being my favourite genre. Added to that was the sentiment around the Harry Potter books – that while they’re a darn good read, they’re not Christian. I don’t even remember making a decision about it: my story was going to be allegorical fantasy fiction. And the main character was going to be female. That was that.
Then I started dreaming the story. Literally. I would go to bed trying to figure out how to represent some spiritual truth in my fantasy world, and I’d wake up having dreamt it, so cool!
Of course, the problem was, that I’m not a writer. I actually never even got that at school, because my parents moved to Belgium when I was 12 and I did all my high school in Flemish. But that doesn’t seem to be a problem for God. My job was to be obedient to this task and get the job done. Easier said than done, though! It took me ten years to write the story for the first book, Medar. We had two family bereavements and moved back to NZ in that time, as well as being made redundant and starting a new career a year after landing in Tauranga. Then it took another four years to figure out how to get it edited, formatted and published. Another two years later, I’ve written the second book Tyrelia and am currently getting it edited. It may be ready to publish before Christmas 2018, I’m not sure.
My youngest has just finished high school, and next year we’ll be empty nesters. But my task is still not done. One more book to go. I don’t know what plans God has for it. All I know is that I need to be obedient and get the third book written. Without a doubt, if I hadn’t been so sure that this is a God-given task, I would’ve given up years ago. But the peace of God that transcends all understanding is at work here. Watch this space!