I have friends and family whom I hold quite dear to my heart who believe everything I do, some of what I do, and absolutely nothing of what I do. I respect them all the same and love them all the same, because a person is not what she believes. A person is how she treats her neighbor, how he contributes to the world, how she’s a friend to me in times of joy and times of trouble.
Here’s a snapshot of what I believe, in case you haven’t been here before.
When I first started writing stories, I included nothing about my faith. When I started Making Room, I began writing a love story between Elizabeth and Nathan but it had nothing to do with God. I wanted it to be as widely appealing as possible, and I thought that including God would severely restrict readership, even among my own family. It was simply boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, obstacle obstacle obstacle, happily ever after. I believe in all of those things. I love love stories. I love love. I love romantic comedies and long-term romance narratives over multiple seasons of a television show. Most of which do not include any part of the Father, Son, or the Holy Spirit.
I’m okay with this for a couple reasons. Most of all, because by and large, it’s all for entertainment purposes. I’m not looking for spiritual encouragement from How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days or The Proposal. If an author can wrap me in, I’m there. I’ll take a good story any day of the week.
But when I went to finish my own novel, and I mean really finish it, like, have it ready for publication, I can’t even tell you how many hours I spent either staring at my screen or staring into space, all to wonder why the heck I couldn’t write another good word. I knew what I wanted, I knew the foundation of the story, I knew the characters and setting and details, etc. But nothing was working. It was the old adage: square peg, round hole. Nothing fit. Everything was awful. Now, this is a common writer’s belief, that everything she writes is awful. We’re a moody folk. But trust me, you wouldn’t want to read the rubbish I was coming up with.
In all my blank staring, whether into space or my computer screen, I realized it was because God was missing. My relationship with Christ is so fundamental to everything I do, that nothing I create can exclude Him. It would be like baking biscuits without the butter, chocolate chip cookies without the chips, lasagna without the noodles.
I believe God is the foundation of love in this world, and that it cannot exist without Him. Even when His name is not mentioned and those present don’t believe in Him or His creation of the world, I believe every human on this planet loves because He first loved us. I believe we have the capacity to care, to give, to share, to serve, to love, all because He did those things first. I know all of my readers don’t believe that, and by writing my stories, I’m not trying to push you into one way or the other. I’m simply telling a story with the only foundation I see fit. When the characters are heartbroken or frustrated with life and they reach out to God, after being encouraged to do so by a loved one, it’s because I see that happen in real life on a regular basis. I see broken hearts restored, devastation and disappointment redeemed, truths revealed and souls set free, when they are all surrendered to our Savior. One of my biggest, grandest hopes of this life is that you all experience God’s amazing grace. So I’m telling real stories, in the form of fiction.
I’m pretty close to finishing my second novel, tentatively titled Everything’s Better When We’re Together. I pray every morning for the words to write this tale, and I hope eventually you (and many more of your friends and family!) will enjoy Sarah and Adam’s story.
Why do you write what you write (or create what you create)? What gives you your foundation? I’d love to know!