Though I love writing full-fledged inspirational fantasy novels, I have these little stories that I've been hanging on to for years now.
I've always thought it would be fun to write and illustrate picture books. Did you know that I was not only a teacher's aid in an elementary school, but I used to run the children's ministry at my church back in it's early years.? I'm amazed over this, too. Ha!
During that time, when I was first called back to write stories, I'd get these silly little stories that would sometimes hit me at the oddest times. (Usually in the middle of the night, as usual) So, I'd get up in the morning and write them down. When our church was just a small gathering, the pastor would let me read these stories to everyone.
The kids enjoyed them. So did some of the adults.
That was quite nerve-wracking, let me tell you. But I learned something at that time. I learned that I could say things in stories that touched people's hearts. Even helped them at times. I learned the effectiveness of telling a parable.
Sheep's Tale, was the first one to come to me.
Time to brew...
I think there are times when stories need to sit on the back burner and stew. There are other times I need to be the one to stew...grow...get my head on straight...I don't know.
As I said before, I've always had a desire to write and illustrate picture books. I just lacked the courage to do it.
Over the past couple of years, though, those stories (there are several) started to demand to be brought out of the drawer I kept them in. The first, A Sheep's Tale of Psalm's 23, was the first to be let out. It's about a mischievous little clover-loving sheep that wants to follow his shepherd, but, oh... all that delicious, yummy to his tummy clover keeps calling his name.
It follows Psalm's 23- the famous telling of the good shepherd- with a lesson of grace and God's mercy tossed in.
The story is sketched out. I'm halfway through creating the art. And there will be a parent's page at the end. Something extra to encourage discussions, you know?
This picture book will be all digital art. My next one I'm going to bite the bullet and try to paint all the pictures. I have one story that I started a couple of years ago and have a few panels painted. I'm hoping to pick it up and finish it.
I've started this book. The set it aside in frustration and perhaps fear as well.
Let me explain....
Cooking Up Our Talents...
I've loved writing stories since I was a kids. But the Lord also gave me a talent to draw and paint. I'm not sure why I let these other talents fall by the wayside. But I have.
Sometimes, I think that as a child, I heard that art would get you nowhere. It was fun, but painting, drawing, and even writing stories, would never put food on the table.
But God is my provider, right? What a silly reason to not pursue what I so love doing. Don't you think?
The enemy is really good about dishing out half-truths when he wants to hold us back from being everything God has in store for us.
I'm in my 50s now and I still struggle with wondering if am I good enough to do this? What if it doesn't... just fill in the blank. I'm sure I've used every excuse to not use of all the talents I've been given.
What I've come to realize is that the talents aren't for me. God gives us talents to share with others, to build His kingdom with. And if we don't use the tools we've been given, then who will build the Kingdom for Him? Who will share His good news to the lost?
I suppose that's why I'm sharing all this with you. Maybe you have unused talents, too. Well, you're not alone. I hope my story helps to encourage you to get out those unused tools, dust them off, and put them to good use. For Him. For those of us who need your talents.
There is yet a way to go before I'm ready to serve up my talents to the world, but I'm mixing my ideas and turning up the heat to get to get these projects done and ready to serve.
Maybe they'll fail. Maybe my talents wont be good enough. But maybe not.
Maybe I'll end up becoming exactly what God created me to be. What a grand adventure that will be.
What adventure do you think might be waiting for you?
Don't tell me you have no talents. EVERYBODY has something they've been gifted with that they are good at. Trust me. It's there. You only need to open your heart and your eyes to what it is.
Who is ready for a grand adventure? Gather your tools and let's go!
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.