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Welcome to The Inkwell, the blog site of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) of Colorado.

Each week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you can find a wide variety of topics and insight
from inspiration to instruction to humor and more!

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Friday, April 30, 2010

Like Stained Glass Windows

Gray clouds press upon my windows. The day droops, heavy and weary. Not a day a strong cup of coffee can cure. The weariness is deeper. Physical, but more.

Still, there is grace. Grace to serve. Grace to love. Grace to wait for the sunshine.

When I was a little girl my aunt had a poem hanging above her big claw-footed bathtub. I read it over and over. Loved it. Held it to my heart:

People are like stained-glass windows
They glow and sparkle when it's sunny and bright

But when the sun goes down
Their true beauty is revealed
Only if there is a light from within.

In 2008 when my husband almost died from a serious heart blockage and a bunch of other stuff hit our family, I struggled. I so wanted people to see Jesus in me. I wanted to show the world that even though life was hard, I still loved my Lord and thought Him beautiful.

Today I feel the same. Watching the pain my children have been through this month (major surgery, a broken bone, two painful break-ups, the lists goes on) and caring around the clock for my eldest boy whose independence has been stripped away as he relies upon us to even get in or out of bed, has taken its toll. I struggle.

And yet I want to be my Father's daughter. I want His light within me to shine and draw others to faith.

The problem is I'm so . . . HUMAN. I never seem to handle these things the way I wish I did. The creative melancholy within me plumbs the depths of the pain. After several nights of little sleep I'm not always a nice person. And I find it's been hard to write encouraging spiritual words when I'm drained of energy.

I want to be superhero Paula, woman of God who leaps past life's storms with a single bound. Instead I'm just plain ole me. Paula who cries out to the Lord to make her faithful no matter what.

And maybe in that tiny little thing, some light leaks out. Just when I think I'm not shining at all something happens to show me He is still being seen. The other day my son said his dad and I were his latest heroes. You don't hear that from a seventeen-year-old too often. Maybe all that lifting his injured leg, bringing him food, and commiserating with him is showing Jesus after all.

When writing the spiritual thread in our novel, perhaps this is the key to reach out and massage the hearts of our readers. Instead of superheroes, we write real people who don't always react the way they want to. Instead of faces set like flint, mouths that spout "hallelujah," and emotions that never seem raw, we write characters who are human, yet whose light leaks out even when they don't think is.


Juanita said...

Paula...THANK GOD YOU ARE HUMAN!!! Because if you "spouted Hallelujah's" incessantly, I wouldn't read your words. I am soooooo human, and in the many crisis I have faced, have feared that my falling-apart is so...unspiritual. But it is then that I reach out to God and hang on for dear life. THAT is what people see. They see us clinging to Him amidst the muck and mire.
Paula...what a beautiful portrait of His daughter you are.

Elaine Clampitt said...

Reminds me of "in our weakness, his strength is shown". Thank you for sharing and reminding us all that we all need to come to the end of ourself and let others see Him. Love your honesty, Paula.

Diane Marie Shaw said...

I love the words, "massage the hearts of our readers." Being a real person who struggles with real things seems like it would be easy to write characters like that but I worry that I have a tendency to want them to be perfect, but that would make them unreal. Like you I hope that my writing can let some light leak out.

tonya said...

One of the things that I love so dearly about you, Paula is how sweet your voice is in in hardships. Personally, I have been in awe as I have watched you go from one trial to the next.
I find it difficult to see how we look from the inside, it normally takes someone from the outside to share how much you have influenced them for Christ. I only see your dedication, love, endurance, and faith through this. But hey, I am looking from the outside in.
Love you, my friend.

Julie said...

Beautiful word, Paula... I left a note at your blog!

Paula said...

You guys made me cry this morning. Thank you for your loving words.

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