Thursday, December 8, 2016

A Life of Their Own



It was quiet. The author had gone to bed but Chloe couldn’t sleep – not now that she’d found out what could happen to her. She stared at the screen that was the barrier between herself and her creator. What could she do? She didn’t want to die.
It was a conundrum. She had only just become aware of the screen and that there was someone on the other side determining her destiny. What right had the author to dictate her fate? That she could die in 1952? It wasn’t fair and it wasn’t right. But what could she do about it?
Chloe reached out and touched the screen. She thought it might have been electrified but it was cool to the touch. She placed both hands on the shimmering surface and to her astonishment they went through the iridescence. She stumbled forward and found herself in another realm.
She caught her breath. How could this be possible? Then again she’d travelled in time and space from present day Melbourne to 1950s France. That hadn’t been impossible – not according to the author – so why couldn’t she leap beyond the story? She was real – in all the ways that mattered – and she could determine her own destiny.
Chloe glanced around the room. She was in a house not that much bigger than her own.  She smiled to herself at the snoring coming from what must be the bedroom then jumped as a little voice behind her said, “Hello.” She let out a nervous giggle when she realised it was a small pet bird.
The snoring stopped and she held her breath, cursing her lack of self-control. What would she do if she were discovered? But the snoring resumed again and all was well.
Chloe turned her attention to the computer. She’d memorised the password from the last log on and it was simple to find the Scrivener file. She frowned as she read through the latest chapter. This would never do. She pondered for a moment. If she erased the text, the author would just rewrite it. Chloe didn’t know if she’d be able to escape from the pages again any time soon. The author usually shut the computer down at night. She bit her lip as she searched through the other files. Research … character … outline ... . That was it!
Chloe opened the file. Her eyebrows lifted as she read. She hadn’t thought of that outcome… She chewed on her lip again and a small smile quirked on her lips as she began typing.
The sky outside was developing a faint pink hue when Chloe finished her work. She stood, stretched and placed both hands on the cool screen. In an instant she was back in her own world. At least now her destiny was surer.

The antagonist watched as Chloe reappeared through the shimmering screen and hurried away  down a dark street. He’d been waiting for his chance ever since he’d seen her disappear into that other world. He placed his hands on the screen as she had done and leapt. He smiled with delight as he sat at the desk, cracked his knuckles and began to type.

Several hours later, the author plonked down into her seat and placed a steaming mug of coffee on the desk next to her computer. She yawned as she logged on but the yawn developed into a sigh. The outline file was open – again. Who was it this time? Last week it was Ethan who seemed to have a life of his own. Didn’t these characters realise that she, the author, was in charge? Why did they always want to take over? She pondered for a while then decided that this would be a great topic for a blog…

It fascinates me that this phenomenon happens again and again when I write. Well … characters don’t literally leap out of the screen and rewrite the story (sometimes it would be good if they could) but most of us have experienced the protagonist who refuses to behave in the way we want them to. I once heard author Diana Gabaldon talk about the writing of her Outlander series. In the initial stages she tried hard to give Claire, her female protagonist, an eighteenth century voice but she kept sounding like a 20th century nurse. In the end Diana gave up and constructed a scenario where she could get this 20th century woman into the eighteenth century. The rest, as they say, is history.
There is an element to every creative process that goes beyond the normal workings of our rational mind. The creative brain reaches into places we would never have dreamed of going ourselves (or maybe we would only have gone there in a dream). And as Christians we can call on the Holy Spirit to further empower our imagination. It makes writing a wonderful, crazy voyage of discovery.
How about you? Have you had characters assume a life of their own and take over mid-story? Did it help or hinder the narrative? Please let me know in the comments below :).



Sue Jeffrey was born in Scotland but moved to Brisbane, Australia with her family when she was just a wee lass. After a childhood spent reading, drawing and accumulating stray animals, Sue studied veterinary science and later moved to Adelaide where she worked as both a vet and a pastor. After a sojourn of several years in the Australian Capital Territory, Sue returned to Adelaide with two dogs, a very nice husband, and a deepdesire to write. Sue has a MA in creative writing and her short stories and poems have appeared in several anthologies including Tales of the Upper RoomSomething in the Blood: Vampire Stories With a Christian Bite and Glimpses of Light. Sue won the 'short' category in the inaugural Tabor Adelaide/ Life FM 'Stories of Life' award and her e-book, 'Ruthless The Killer: A Short Story,' is available from Amazon.com. Sue also paints animal portraits.


Monday, December 5, 2016

Keep on Writing


I was getting ready to leave for the Omega Writer’s Conference in October when I saw it - a call for submmissions for a Children’s Picture Book Writing Competition. They were looking for “creative, winsome charming picture books that help parents instill an open-hearted, transformational, lifelong Christian faith in their children”. I did like the sound of that. Better still, the first prize was $5000.00. Whew! Not an amount to be sneezed at. There were no entrance fees either. I knew I must give it a go when I returned from conference.

Would it herald my big writing moment?


A week later, I came back refreshed and revitalised after a fabulous time in Sydney, having caught up up with those of like minds, learning an abundance of writerly wisdom, being inspired by people and places and best of all, filled with God’s joy. Unfortunately, as it often occurs, a week of intense fibro pain and weariness followed my energetic week away, so it was only a few days before that all important deadline that I had sufficient energy to sit down to create my story.


My dear friend Melissa popped in on the Friday before and spotted our family's pet giraffe (yes, he’s alive …or so we like to think). She suggested I write a story about Raffy - what a brilliant idea! The day before the story had to be submitted, I sat at my computer, concentrating hard. It took hours to craft and refine my award winning picture book. The next day was a busy one. My body felt weak and weary but I persevered, working also on my author bio and the story’s synopsis. Finally, close to midnight and exhausted, I was ready to send in my three documents. Just before I pressed the submit button, the competition’s terms and conditions popped up.

It was then my dream was shattered - a crystal vase smashed into a million shards.


The very first clause had my mouth open, while my jaw dropped a few kilometres downwards. Apparently, the competition was open only to US residents. I could have cried. I’d read the competition details many times over—but for some reason this vital fact had not been publicised. I could hardly believe it. How foolish I'd been!

I wonder what your writing year has been like. Was it filled with instant success, millions of books sold, a plethora of fan mail, TV appearances, a bulging bank balance and a celebrity lifestyle? If you are like many of us Christian writers, you are presently plodding away on your current story, a few drops of hope glistening in your heart, but perhaps also a wee bit discouraged about those writing dreams yet to be fulfilled.

In a few weeks, the curtain will fall on 2016 and we will be left with our memories of the past year. Whatever it brought you in your writing sphere and whatever the future holds for you, let me ask you three questions:

1. Has God called you to write for Him?
2. Have you strived to walk with Him?
3. Have you sought to be obedient to His call?



If you answered ‘yes’ to all three questions, let me shake your hand. Let me celebrate with you. Success for us comes not from the world’s yardstick of accomplishment. It’s simply getting up each morning and doing all that God calls us to do. Persevering. Learning from failure. Not giving up. Perhaps like me you've made a few blunders? No matter - God can redeem them all. He's good at that! So permit any discouragement to fly out of your window like a captive pigeon set free. Congratulate yourself for all the writing you’ve done these past 12 months. Celebrate your conquests with a smile. And let your heart be quick to hear the sound of God’s ‘Well done’.

And now ... put on your writer’s shimmering cloak of joy.
And Keep On Writing.


“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:13-14


Anusha Atukorala is a writer and speaker with music in her heart and a message to proclaim. The abundant love of a faithful God is her theme song. God’s call to writing in 2007 led Anusha on a Grand Adventure which continues to surprise and thrill her. Anusha loves to build the body of Christ and to encourage others through the written and spoken word. Her first book ‘Enjoying the Journey’ is comprised of 75 little God stories. She has twelve short stories published in Anthologies and plenty more books in the pipeline. Do drop in to say G’day at her website Dancing in the Rain. She’d love to meet you.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Word for the Season.

As the Christmas season has obviously begun it's countdown to the 25th December people worldwide begin a celebration that reflects a blending of ideas, icons and themes that are as diverse as the cultures that have embraced the mass of Christ's birth. For me personally it is an opportunity to reflect on central themes, not of a religious celebration, or even just of the birth of a world changing child, but perhaps way deeper than these ideals is a simple Truth. Expressed in a word. A word that has come to hold such meaning it defines much of what I do and say, who I am, and what I aspire to be. 
Before I share this word allow me to reflect on some of the ideas I shared at the Omega writers conference a few weeks ago.

I shared about the power of words.Words unlock other worlds. This is quite prophetic for God has called you by name and has a purpose for you. What world has God unlocked for you? Words inspire us to change the world. As we discover the Truth of key words we recognise that words create foundations for our lives. What words are you allowing to define you?

In 2 PETER 1:5-8 the apostle gives us several key words to reflect on: 
"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;  and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;  and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
At conference I focused on the word that brought action to all the qualities listed.  "Add".
The original Greek of  this word is "Epichorēgeō" which comes from a word suggesting lavish provision. Other English translations render this word as "supply" .  The word "Epichorēgeō" was used in classical Greek to describe the munificence of rich citizens to fit out a war host in preparation for battle.  It had a special reference to the abundant supplies provided to complete a mission.  The key Peter is making clear is that we are responsible to “supply” the graces listed, out of the power of the Grace that God has given us.

As I reflect on this power in the words that come to define us, or the ones that we need to ensure we are supplying in to our faith-walk to help us enrich the world there is a key word that stands out for me. This is reflected in the narratives we have of the Christ story that is told in ever so many ways over the season. It is good to be reminded that core to the story of Christ’s birth is the
“mindset of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:6-8).

The word that holds so much meaning, that defined Jesus, and prayerfully shapes my reality is “Humility”.

Jesus was willing to be humble enough to live, identify with, immerse, incarnate, love, associate with the broken, poor, diseased, those in need of a saviour. And that means me too.
Perhaps in the Christmas narrative this is most beautifully born out in the choice of the marginalized, disempowered peoples who were known as shepherds in the 1st Century, being the first to receive the message of the Hope of the world, from none less than a sky filled with Angels. The photo of a shepherd was taken in Nazareth in Israel 2 years ago on my Masters in Ministry with Harvest College Archaeology of the Bible Lands exploration. My desire is that I too would express Christ's heart to those who are our contemporary marginalized. I hope I can express his love, deliver his peace, and be faithful in my life journey as I seek Him, do justice and walk humbly.

As writers we should be ensuring that the words we write are helping to change the world as truth-filled expressions of God’s character. In our pursuit for great storytelling it may be tempting to bypass Truth telling for creative license. Often there is a notable tension in some of our narratives: How to remain both creatively appealing and spiritually sound.
How important is it to express Truth and God’s character?
Perhaps the best way to begin this process is to consider what “Humility” means and embrace its qualities. Perhaps the Christmas season, the year ahead, and our future would flow with a peace and joy that comes simply as we express this reality that is at once a just revelation of Jesus, and also how he would have the Kingdom that is His be received in this Earth.

Consider further the words in Philippians 2:
“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset of Christ Jesus.” Be Humble.


May the Joy and revelation of the season be yours. 


Shane Brigg

www.facebook.com/shane.brigg.3



Monday, November 28, 2016

Do you know what you don't know by Jo Wanmer


     I didn't know that I didn't know how to write. English was never my favorite subject but I wanted to share my story. Surely it can't be too hard, I thought. So I set goals, timelines sat at the keyboard and started this adventure. I typed for hours, re-read, adjusted and produced ninety thousand words. I was surprised how good they were. Remember...I didn't know what I didn't know!

     About that time, looking for a publisher, I walked into an Omega writers meeting and discovered that I was Unconsciously Incompetent about writing. In the chart (See below), I was catapulted from the comfortable position at the bottom left to the agony of the top left corner. Reality checks open us to previously unseen possibilities but is always tough to swallow.

     My next challenge was to become Consciously Competent. The process requires work and determination, research and a teachable spirit. But I wanted to get this book published. Deep hunger forced me to overcome the endless hurdles. 

    Over the last six years, some of my writing skills have become Unconsciously Competent - I can do it without focusing on the skill. For example I can write shorter sentences without counting words.  My fingers have stopped abusing the '!' Adverbs rarely hit the page. (Unless I allow them!!)

     Now I know that I don't know, the list of topics waiting in the 'Consciously Incompetent' box is overwhelming. They keep slipping from the box below. Every time I manage to master a skill, I discover more I didn't know I didn't know. 

     Two important areas I have learned to focus on are 'Hunger to Learn' and 'Practice and Determination'. The other two arrows seem to trigger without any effort from me. Lets peek under the lid on two of the boxes.

Consciously Incompetent.

     This box seems to be jammed full. I can see Scrivener, Self-publishing, time management, blogging, webpage construction...On the top of this pile is Characterisation. Its eager and alert, hand extended, begging me to lift it up, out and make it sparkle. My books are pleading for me to develop competency here. But, I argue, I have a good story. Whats wrong with my characters? To date there hasn't been enough hunger in me to do the study, make the effort, find the keys to consciously make heroes and villains jump from the page. 

     My book El Shaddai is stalled at this road block. Two things recently have fed my hunger to push forward. I realised in every book,  movie or TV series I can recall, I remember the people, not the plot. Memorable characters are...well, memorable. Secondly, at Omega conference last month, Hallee Bridgeman taught on three dimensional characters . If one dimension is missing our characters deflate. It was a light bulb moment for me. Every character must have physical, intellectual and Spiritual dimensions. Focused study and effort will develop my skill and move this topic towards competence.

Consciously Competent.

     'Show, Don't tell' sits in this box. I know the theory but have to concentrate to improve all the time. Other disciplines glare at me, suggesting they are feeling neglected. But I've discovered that to be consciously competent on too many things at once reduces everything to a grey blah. I've tried fixing multiple areas in one re-write but after a few chapters I lose focus.

     To master Characterisation I'm ignoring all other topics in this box at the moment and working on one character at a time. The other things are jockeying for position and demanding attention. Their turn will come but for now I must focus. Maybe one day I'll know my characters so well that they'll come to life under my fingers without so much effort.

    Thankfully 'Staying in POV' has slipped to the Unconsciously Competent box most of the time. But having said that I know that any day now I'll learn of something I didn't know and it will slip back through the bottom left and join the pile in the top left.

     What about you? Does this chart help you?
     What is waiting in your Consciously Incompetent Box?



Jo Wanmer loves to write real life relationships, bringing Light of Christ to the hard places. Preacher, Pastor, grandmother, bookkeeper are roles that fight for her time. Her first book Though the Bud be Bruised asks the hard question - 'God, where you when...?'  She lives with her husband Steve on the northern outskirts of Brisbane in Sunny Queensland. For relaxation they love to drive in his new/old BMW

Thanks to Action Coach for concepts used in chart.





Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Body and The Book


by Linsey Painter


Last week I was reading in 1 Corinthians about the body of Christ. As I was reading, I was thinking, this is like writing!

Just as the body has many parts, so does a story. It is made up of structure, characters, plot, pace, tension etc. Some parts are smaller than other parts but all are needed to make a story complete, understandable, enjoyable and worth the time of our readers.

As I write I need to remember that each part is of significance. I can’t skimp on something because it’s not my passion or my strength. 
For me, I struggle, among other things with punctuation and grammar.
If I write well but don’t worry about using the right words or, where I, put my commas will people, want to read my work? Will people understand my work?
If I write an incredible life-changing story and yet fail to edit it properly or poorly encase it in a cover that turns people away, who will read it?

We are a body within a body. We work together with other writers, editors, publishers and artists. Everyone is striving to make a whole body of work that is aesthetically pleasing, is a pleasure to read, is easy to understand and impacts deep within.

1 Cor 12:18-20 (The Message) “What we have is one body with many parts, each its proper size and in its proper place. No part is important on its own.”

I hope you are having a great week of creating whole stories that are made up of many different parts.


Linsey Painter loves to write stories that draw on her rich heritage of growing up overseas. She and her husband work with Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) and live in Cairns with their two rambunctious boys. Linsey grew up in Indonesia and is an expert at rolling her ‘r’s and eating nasi goreng. She has since lived and worked in Papua New Guinea— yes she has seen a bird of paradise and Arnhem Land— no she didn’t encounter any crocodiles. She has had a series of short fiction stories published in Thrive Connection online magazine for women in missions as well as non-fiction stories about living and working in remote communities with MAF. Linsey is now enjoying focusing on writing for children. www.linseysusanne@blogspot.com

Monday, November 21, 2016

Pointless Beauty




by Christina Aitken

This is not the post I started out writing for my first contribution to CWD. I wanted to write about hope, despair, about where God is or isn’t in the hard times, and what that might mean for us as writers. You know, one of those ‘how do we tackle the big questions in our writing’ posts? But the words came out stilted, and it turned into a long computer session where hundreds of words stumbled onto the page but few survived the edit. Then it occurred to me: not all words need to make a grand point. They may simply create cracks in the world where, as the late Leonard Cohen wrote, ‘the light gets in’. Words can create respite and beauty in the midst of chaos, despair, and in plain ordinariness. And beauty does not necessarily demand purpose.

Some years ago I blogged about one of my favourite Tim Winton novels - Breath, released in Australia in 2008. A screen adaption was filmed earlier this year to be released sometime in 2017. The novel pays homage to ocean and surf, and Winton paints his devotion masterfully. After reading the novel, I was struck by the way Winton finds beauty in the fleeting, the untameable; in purposeless, finite moments. He does so through the eyes of a young male protagonist, Pike, who lives to catch the perfect wave. Set in the 1970s, Breath examines social attitudes and roles of the time. Looking back on his boyhood, middle-aged Pike reflects on 'how strange it was to see men do something beautiful. Something pointless and elegant, as though nobody saw or cared.' Winton plays with the idea that surfing is not just about adrenaline and thrill-seeking; it can be about searching out beauty for its own, pointless sake. For the complex characters of Breath, spiritual connection with the sea allows ‘light to get in'.

While cultural expectations and norms have changed somewhat since Winton’s take on the 1970s, the promotion of profitability and purpose over the aesthetic remains. The financial marginalisation of the arts in Australia’s education budget suggests a continued devaluing of creative expression. As writers, we can lose ourselves in the purpose-driven aspects of the craft, as we chase word-counts and contracts, publicity and sales. I am not suggesting that we do not need these things; they are a necessary part of the journey for writers who want to share their work and make money. But we need to keep our eyes open, so we do not miss the pointless but beautiful moments that feed our souls and inspire our writing - even if they do not translate into publishing contracts.

In a way, it is about not losing sight of first love. Imagine a surfer who knows everything about the sport but never paddles out to experience the serenity of hanging out the back to wait for a glossy left-hander - it wouldn't happen. There is a kind of beauty in the writing process itself, reflecting synergy between us and the creative essence of God-within-us. Let's be open to the beauty in small things; the comforting weight of a dog’s head on our feet; the soft palette of a sunrise; the feel of a child’s hand holding ours. These moments nourish us and our writing, and perhaps, they create cracks where light gets in.


Christina lives by the sea with her husband and two children, cat and seven chickens. She has published a handful of stories and poems and contributes articles to a local magazine. Christina draws extensively from real life for her poetry and is working on a verse novel.


Thursday, November 17, 2016

When words don't seem enough

I'd like to share two thoughts from Moses' life that I've been thinking about lately.

In Numbers 20:7-11 The Lord told Moses to speak to the rock so that water would pour out. But when Moses gathered the people, he became impatient and struck the rock twice with his staff. God was gracious and water gushed out, but because he disobeyed, Moses lost the opportunity of entering the Promised Land.

Moses biggest problem was he did not trust God enough. God had told Moses to bring his staff (v. 8) and Moses expected to use it to produce a miracle like he had done in the past. Just speaking to the rock didn't seem enough.

I understand how Moses felt, often it seems like my words are not enough – whether I say words, write words or even pray words. Sometimes it doesn't seem enough. I become impatient and want to do something, anything really, maybe even hit a rock with a stick.

We are like Moses in that we want to repeat something that we had success with in the past. Maybe write a similar book, maybe use the same marketing plan that worked previously or maybe enlist the same people to help us again. However God might be asking us to do something completely different and it just doesn't feel like it would work. It doesn't seem enough. Yet if we don't follow through we might miss the opportunity God is opening up for us.

~~~

Later in Moses' life we see him speaking out against the men who had begun to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women and had started sacrificing to their gods. Moses' leadership was ineffective at this point - an Israelite man brought a Midianite woman into the camp right in front of Moses. So Phinehas (Aaron's grandson) took a spear, entered their tent and drove it through both of them (Numbers 25). It is both a violent and sexual image that many Christian fiction readers would not be comfortable with.

This incident tells us that the younger generation were stepping up into spiritual leadership but they were doing it in ways that might make older people feel uncomfortable. Likewise as writers we need to encourage a new generation to step up, even if it means they are writing scenes that make us feel uncomfortable or expressing truth in ways that are more confrontation than we would like. God rewarded Phinehas' actions because he was zealous for God's honour.

The longer we are writers the more our responsibility moves towards encouraging the next generation to write and speak whatever God has put in their hearts.

And if they communicate the words that God gives them, it will be enough.

*****

Susan Barnes likes to write devotional thoughts on Bible passages, book reviews and inspirational articles. She loves to challenge people's thinking and regularly blogs at abooklook.blogspot.com.au. She is also a school chaplain and pastor's wife.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Ride 'em in, Rawhide!

The other day, as I walked into my lounge room to relax with some Netflix and a nice hot cuppa, my eye caught something on the wall...my heart jumped, and an expectant cold shiver ran down my spine. 

A spider.

A big spider.

A HUGE spider!  

Okay, it was a medium sized huntsman. But it was there. And its presence affected my ability to unwind.

I stood there for a few minutes and debated my options; kill it, trap it and release it, or live with it.

Over the years, the choices I've made have definitely changed. As a child, the sight of a spider sent me into a screaming mess of tears; I would call for my parents to come and deal with said spider, and no amount of fly spray was enough to ensure it was dead. I wanted it squished and removed!

Once married, it was my husband's job to deal with my fearsome enemy.

Now, I have realised that I must face my fears alone; I can either allow them to control me, or I can control them.

So, what did I decide to do? I thought about trapping Freda, (yes, I name them, it makes them seem less icky!). but she was far too high for that. And I don't like spraying huntsmen; they aren't dangerous, just really creepy! So, I reasoned with her; you can stay inside, but no suprising me! 

I spent the next 5 days living with Freda inside my house. We got a bit close at times, but generally, we co-existed nicely. 

And then my 6 year old, Josh, saw her! 

"SPIIIIII-DEEEERRRR!"

By this stage, I was so comfortable with Freda, that I was able to tell my boy, she's okay, she won't eat much, (and actually believe it!); but she was sitting on the roof, right over Josh's head!

So I grabbed a long, blossomy ornamental branch thingy and waved it near Freda, to try and have her move along. It worked nicely. So I moved her along a little more. And a bit more. Soon, we were at the back door; Josh quickly opened it, and I calmly encouraged Freda to walk out through the back door, and into her own world again.


We just herded a spider out of our house!

Now, I'm no psychologist or behaviour analyst, but...that is a far cry from my previous reactions! 

So what changed? The fear was still there; why could I suddenly handle it? 

I think there are two key things; firstly, there's no "super hero" to fly in and save me from my enemy. I must be the hero!

Which lead me to my second discovery; my fear was actually unfounded. I was totally overreacting to the situation, because I had allowed myself to do so. The situation was not ideal, but was it really worth all the stress and angst?


No. 

Do I still pray when I see a spider?! You bet I do! But I also pray for wisdom on how to handle it, and to give me clarity of mind, and the ability to relax in the face of the fear. 

As a creative, and in my spheres of writing and photography, I have had to overcome overwhelming fears; doubts that I am any good, that what I have to offer will measure up, feeling overwhelmed with the hugeness of what God is calling me to do. Many - MANY - times I just want to curl up in a ball under my blanket and cuddle my cat and not face what he's called me to.

But...I know that there is a greater purpose to my calling. Fear says, "I am not good enough!" whilst faith says, "Yet I will trust God to take my talent and make it grow exponentially." So I'm learning to live with the fear - of failure, and even of success, and the unknown nature of it all. For if I allow the fear to be in control, I will do nothing, and will just hide my talent away for no one to see; and how sad it is to know that someone could achieve something truly remarkable, had they but the faith to step out. 

I sincerely pray for anyone reading this today who is bound by fear; that God's gentle yet powerful hands would slice through the bindings and release you into your God-given and ordained potential! That you would catch a glimpse of all the things God has in store for you, and that you would take that first step to being in control of the fear, through faith in Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than you could ever ask or imagine!

Blessings,

Helen