I don’t mean that in any sort of self-righteous or smug way, but I’m so thankful God has been faithfully there for me throughout my writing journey when I would have been tempted to despair and give up. I have met quite a number of authors who find it hard to stay afloat and not become moody and depressed when they suffer yet another rejection from a potential publisher or when their books don’t sell well or when they don’t win that particular competition or award. Of course those things devastate us as Christian authors too. But we have a resource beyond ourselves to turn to – someone who understands rejection, who loves us unconditionally, who will still be here long after all the books on this earth will have crumbled into dust. We might be deeply discouraged, but we have God’s Holy Spirit, the ‘Encourager’ within us, comforting us and urging us on. As Paul puts it in 2 Corinthians 4:7-9:
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed.
I have also found it so encouraging that when those negative messages pound away in my brain, telling me my books will never really make it and I might as well not waste my time, I can stand firm, knowing God clearly called me to write. It was not just my idea. Sure it was something I had always wanted to do, but around eight years ago, God made it very clear, through a specific bible passage at a turning point in my life, that this was his desire for me at that stage. I therefore launched into writing with much greater confidence and experienced God’s close presence and affirmation throughout the writing of my first novel. God was in it all with me – and that was so reassuring.
And God is still in it with me now, as I approach the release of my fifth novel. When I wonder if I can keep going and tire a little of looking for every opportunity to promote my books and get out there and speak, he reminds me that it’s not all about me. God has gifted me for a purpose – and that is to use my gifts while I can to point others to him and bring him honour and glory. It’s not all about how many books I can sell. It’s not all about what makes me look good or becoming famous or making lots of money. My writing is definitely fulfilling for me personally, but it has a much larger purpose too – and that inspires me above all to keep going and not give up.
God understands. God calls. God enables. Surely we are of all authors most blessed?
Jo-Anne Berthelsen grew up in Brisbane and holds an Arts degree from Queensland University. She has also studied Education and Theology and has worked as a high school teacher and editor, as well as in local church ministry in Sydney. Jo-Anne loves communicating through both the written and spoken word and currently has four published novels – ‘Heléna’, ‘All the Days of My Life’, ‘Laura’ and ‘Jenna’. She is married to a retired minister and has three grown-up children and two grandchildren. For more information or to contact Jo-Anne, please visit her website, www.jo-anneberthelsen.com.