Except that my friends, who were in the collection with me, didn't see it as just a dumb ol' story. Nor were they going to allow me to back out. Bless them. Fine if I went over the word count, they insisted, just finish the story. Get it completed, then see if it's really dumb or not. They insisted the parts they'd read in our little critique meetings weren't dumb at all.
But aren't friends supposed to say things like that?
Finally, I resorted to doing the very thing I probably should have done in the first place. I went to God with it. Help! I prayed in exasperation. I don't know what to do with this monster. I don't even know it's purpose.
He is faithful and true to answer His children when they seek him.
He was quick to help me realize it wasn't just a dumb story. As I talked with my friends about what I was struggling with, they allowed me to brainstorm a few ideas and eventually the story's purpose became clear. Words like Restoration, Forgiveness, and Solidarity began to surface and take shape within the story. And finally, I was able to finish Candy Lane Sweet Shop. Yes, it's still over the word count, but the earth didn't end because of that. Every one agreed it was fine.
Why am I telling you this? Because telling stories is the gift I was given to share with the world. Some people are given musical talents. Some artistic talents. Some are hard workers, others have a caring hearts. So many various gifts.
I was so wrong to allow myself to get discouraged over what I was trying to write because there was a story that kept trying to come out of my ramblings. I was missing the real story by my arrogance in thinking that the story is my doing. Yes, I write them, but the gift comes from God who created me, who knit me together, who set a purpose on my life. Just as He's done for all who He calls His own.
We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light.
Exactly. We are each gifted in a unique and important way.
When I let my fears and doubts creep in, then I douse the light I've been given to help illuminate this world. I honestly believe that's why God bestows gifts on His children. Some big, others small, but each gift is a bit of light in this dark world. Don't snuff it out!
Once I gave the story back to God, he took me by the hand and began helping me to see with clarity so I could find my way through the scrambled plot.
“In a futile attempt to erase our past, we deprive the community of our healing gift. If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others.”
If you're curious about this story, it'll be out this holiday season. I'll share more about it later.
Don't be afraid to allow your own light to shine. Find your God-given talents and boldly hold them high. Set aside any lies you've heard in the past that attempts to smother your light. Grasp on to it. Learn to wield it. Then let it shine!
Enjoy this little clip from Luminosity where the Elderad Riyah tries yet again to train Alyra. (She's a little stubborn and lacks confidence- any of us resemble that remark? I'm holding my hand up.) We learn step by step and sometime circumstance draws it out and other times, we seem to fail. But it's not really failure when you're learning how to use your talents. It's simply finding ways that don't work so you can focus on what does. Right?
Blessings and Peace - Be Kind to each other!
From Chapter 20 of Luminosity
“Alyra, I want us to try something different tonight.” Over the past weeks, (Riyah had) worked with her on projecting her light shield and trying to illuminate things without touching them. She’d managed a few flimsy shields, but not casting her light as of yet. “Please retrieve your brother’s sword from beneath the wagon seat.”
She obeyed finding the weapon heavy and hard to handle. Pulling the sharp, glinting blade from the scabbard, she grasped the hilt with both hands.
“Good. Hold it steady now and illuminate yourself.” Riyah instructed.
She glanced nervously toward the wagon.
“They sleep soundly, I assure you. However, if it will help you concentrate let’s move into the shelter of the trees.”
Once partially hidden within a cluster of cedars, Alyra found she focused better and was able to light up rather easily.
“Very good. Now, I want you to send your energy into the weapon.”
“My what into what?”
“Child, this is no different than lighting up a stick or the white rocks. Please. Think about how you feel when you create a light covering.”
“Ri, I’m still not very good at making a solid shield. I’ve only made that one good covering when I was provoked.”
“Perhaps if I lose my patience that would provoke some fear in you?” His voice had the sharp edge of frustration.
She shifted her feet, wondering if his threat had substance. She lit up until she saw him clearer. His glaring pale blue eyes reminded her of thunder clouds and sheeting rain. His white hair waved about his hard face and thin set lips as if a brewing storm blew around him.
Perhaps testing him would be a bad idea. She’d already driven him to the edge of his patience. Maybe they’d have better results if she quit asking questions and simply did what he said. For a change.
She swallowed down her uncertainties. Taking a deep breath, she imagined her light into a tangible ball rolling down her arms to the hilt of the sword. She grinned as the ball moved up along the blade and stopped on the tip.
“Not quite. I want you to illuminate the whole blade.”
Perplexed, she thought a moment, picturing the sword glowing like an ember. “Like that?”
“Better. Let’s try a little test. Strike the tree’s trunk with all your strength.”
“Ri, if anything happens to Ethan’s sword, he’ll kill me dead. You know that, right?”
“If you are doing this correctly, you will not damage his weapon, but cut the tree in half.”
She gasped, and felt her energy drain. “Really?”
“Focus!” He roared, causing her to flinch.
Closing her eyes, she gathered every ounce of energy into the sword. She desperately wanted to please him. She needed to prove to herself she wasn’t completely hopeless. I can do this. I can. Shaydon, help me do this!
Opening one eye, she swung the heavy sword in a wide arc with all her strength. The blade hit the trunk with a loud clang. The reverberations shot up her arm causing her to bite her tongue.
“Hey, hey, hey!” Ethan leapt from the wagon and marched toward them. With each step, he yelled, “What. Do. You. Think. Youaredoingwithmysword!” His anger charged words all melted together as he snatched the weapon from her trembling grasp. “My sword. Never, ever, never use my sword to chop down a tree. What’s wrong with you, anyway? Have you lost your mind?”
Even in the darkness, she saw his eyes were wide and wild with fury.
She pointed at Riyah. “He made me.”
Jackie Castle is an author, artist and dreamer. She lives in Texas with her husband, two grown children and her dog, Banjo. She looks for the extraordinary in the ordinary in everything she experiences.