One morning at the end of November I paced around my living room at home in British Columbia, Canada. Wearing my fluffy pink ‘Grandma’ bathrobe, and with the phone in my ear I spoke to a travel clinic nurse. I was hardly able to believe the words coming out of my 52-year-old mouth, “I’m going to India.”
It’s true that when we place our lives completely into the Lord’s hands He really does do far more than we ask or think. The fact that I am, right now, on January 21, at this very moment in India on a writing assignment is proof of that. Nine years ago I felt the call to write. At times I felt like Noah. “You want me to do what, Lord? You want me to write books? Who’s going to read anything I write?”
But in obedience, over these past 9 years I paid my dues to the ‘writing apprenticeship’. It’s said that you’re not really a writer until you’ve written a million words. I think I’m up there by now, but the Lord did the rest. He provided writing classes, critique partners, mentors, scholarships, literary agents. This past year He validated my writing ability with the ACFW 2009 Genesis Award for Inspirational Historical Fiction. Oh how the Lord knew I needed that validation.
Because . . . after 9 years of learning the craft, after finishing two fictional novels—the latest set in India—the elusive contract for publication is still that. Elusive. I began to wonder—have I hoodwinked myself with my vivid imagination? Did God really call me to write?
A few months ago my friend Hilary started a new position with a children’s ministry that works in various places around the globe. She congratulated me on the award my novel set in India had received. Then in the next breath she said, “I wish you could come to India on the missions trip in January.”
My heart thumped. I wanted to go. After all I’d done over 3 years of research for my novel. Because of that I’d developed a fascination for that country and her people. But I had a small part time job that while it paid only a pittance, at least it afforded me a few hours each morning to write. Because I’d been called to write . . . right?
“Sorry, Hilary, there’s no way,” I said. “But if the Lord wants me to come then He’ll show me and make it possible.”
Then. Oh what a glorious literary device the word 'then' is, promising that something of magnitude is just on the horizon. THEN, after a few weeks passed, the work in the little office grew less and less and less. The day came when the boss said, “We don’t have enough work. I’m afraid, Christine, we have to lay you off.”
Usually when people hear that, they gasp with disappointment. I practically laughed out loud. Something was in the wind. In awe of who the Lord God is, I said, 'Father, you know how much I want to write for You. But if writing isn’t what you have in store for me, then that’s okay. Wherever You want me to go—I’ll go. Whatever You want me to do—I’ll do. Just use me. I'll even go to India if You want."
In the meantime I wondered, If I go on this India trip, what can I do for them? My secretarial skills have rusted like an old seized up engine. All I really know how to do these days is write a book.
Then I saw on the ministry’s website they needed volunteer writers. Thinking small, as usual, I thought I could write a couple of blog pieces or a short essay for their magazine. So I whipped off an email to the ministry's info address, convinced I'd never hear back from them.
To my surprise, the president of the ministry got back to me right away. In the midst of our incredibly fast conversation he told me, “Christine, we’ve been praying for someone who can write a book.”
You could’ve knocked me down with a feather. After I nervously cleared my throat, I felt the courage to sputter, “Ah . . . I can write a book.”
There was no funding to pay me. Like most missionaries I must raise my own support. But all of a sudden this offer had such a rightness to it. I was no longer afraid of not having enough money to pay the bills. So I said yes to the trip for this January 16th to the 30th, and the commitment to write the fascinating beginnings of this ministry's story over the next six months.
And lo and behold, that’s where I am now—-in the very warm, southernmost tip of India, Tamil Nadu. And while I'm here, I'm seeing, smelling, experiencing the place I have so long researched.
So I ask you, was the fictional dream of my novel perhaps a vision of what God wanted to do all along? Is God calling me away from Fiction? Interesting question to ponder. Either way, God has his fingerprints all over this non-fiction assignment . . . and my fictional writing career. But I'm praying these days for the Lord's clear direction.
If you want to read more about me, as a birthmother who was reunited with the daughter she relinquished to adoption, or my current writing assignment in India, or my writing journey, you can find me on my blog, www.christinelindsay.com