My wife is a gifted and brilliant writer. She is very well-read and has an excellent command of language. However, she lacks the courage, confidence, and/or discipline to actually put her great inspirations and ideas into print. Over the years, she has shared some marvelous story ideas with me. When I encouraged her to write them, with only rare exceptions, she has not.
She is a poet. In the last few years, she has completed some beautiful works, and has built a small portfolio on a writing website. Poetry seems to be the only medium in which she feels comfortable. Though I have encouraged her to expand beyond her comfort zone and write some of the stories she has told me about, my wife has tried to get me to write them.
“Kathy, they’re your ideas, your stories. You should be the storyteller.” I would say to her.
“I’ll tell them to you, Mike. You’re the writer.” Kathy would say. While I must admit it was an ego boost to hear her say that to me, I knew that wouldn’t work. And it never did.
Several of her stories are for children. I have believed for years that, if she would write those stories, she could become a successful author. As someone who has written for adults and for children, I’ll state for the record: It is harder to write good children’s stories than adult literature. It takes very flexible communication skills to write for an eight year old, for example. How many of us adults (especially writers who work to master the language) remember what it was like to be a child? How accurately do we remember what our comprehension and attention span were like? Kathy has that capability, and I believe it is a gift from God.
Some years ago, she told me about an inspiration she had for a children’s story about a little boy who is taken on an adventure by a friendly cloud. It seemed completely original as she shared it with me, and I thought it was a great idea. She did not write it. Despite nudges from me and also I believe from God, she never wrote that story.
About two years later, as we were walking past a bookstore in our town, Kathy stopped suddenly, staring wide-eyed into the storefront window. Because of our mutual love for books, that was not so unusual. But she gasped, “My God, it’s my story!”
There in the window display was a newly released children’s book. The title was slightly different. The artwork was eerily similar to what Kathy had described she’d envisioned two years before. We went into the store and looked at the book. It was the same story.
There were only three persons who knew of this inspiration two years before: Kathy, me, and God.
When God inspires, He is calling us to act. He has chosen us specifically to fulfill that action, based on the gifts He has given us. But, if we do not take the action, God’s will is not halted. He will wait but a season. If we still do not act, He will give the inspiration to someone else.
Inspiration is intended to draw us into activity. As we establish the pattern of responding to it, we get more inspiration. This is how we become useful tools in the hand of our Maker. God knows what He’s doing when He gives inspiration. We should not second-guess Him. The Lord does not lead us into inactivity. He has purpose for each of us. We can be either useful or useless for Him.
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