Tuesday, March 19, 2013


After completing her nursing training, Mary met her husband, Ray, at Bible college 50 years ago. They have ministered in churches in Australia, two years in England and now enjoy living in Tasmania. Mary has had 19 titles published and Ray has five devotional books out also.

Web and blog: http://www.mary-hawkins.com

The joy of receiving that first book
I’m currently trying to prepare a Bible study for an elective at a Christian women’s conference on “Wisdom in the way you develope your gifts and abilities”. I intend to share about spiritual gifts God gives for His specific purposes too but on this blog want to focus on talents we have been given as natural parts of our personalities from birth.
There is so much to share but where to start has been difficult to decide. Sounds like that first sentence, first paragraph of our novels?

The first thing before we can ever develope our abilities – which I think most of us would call natural talents – is to discover just what they are. There are many who may be multi-talented but is there one that stands out, one that God wants developed so He can use it to bless others and glorify Himself? For some, discovering this may be easy, but I suggest there are many folk who take their lives so much for granted they don’t stop and wonder about any specific one they have which God wants them to develope for His specific purposes.

I was certainly one such person. As many of you may have heard before, it was not until I was thirty years old I had any idea about writing more than my diary and letters. Would these years of being a published author ever have happened if my husband had not read my diary and simply told me, “You have a talent for writing, what are you going to do about it?”

But was that really the beginning of my writing career? What if I’d never met that wonderful man? What if I’d never had a Dad who wrote diaries and thus inspired a fourteen year old to start her own? What if I had never enjoyed books, never become an avid reader long before I was fourteen?

For me as a committed Christian, it ultimately goes back to the time I completely surrended my life, my will, all that I was and could ever hope to be to my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. For me, it was my husband He used to show me a talent I had never considered before, never realised it should be developed, refined, worked hard at so He could use it where and how, and even more importantly when He wants to.

Over the years I have been saddened when I have met lovely Christians who obviously have a real talent in some specific area but shrug off any suggestion of trying to develope it. Because I am a published author, I’ve heard this said too many times about becoming a writer, but also from talented people in many other arenas. The reasons are many and varied. While some are definitely quite valid, the ones that concern me and even grieve me are ones like, “Me? I could never be as good as...” And then they mention someone in that area of expertise they know of who has achieved success.

When thinking about this journey of mine I glanced at my bookshelf and there was that Famous Writers Course set of books. It was supposed to take me eighteen months full time but becoming pregnant and moving to minister at another church meant they let me take four years. This is the list of assignments and I noticed that the last few were in 1974. Seems nearly a lifetime away now. Only the deep knowledge that this was indeed what God wanted me to do kept me persevering all that time. Then I discovered it was only that first "step" to have my first published novel in the photo above. That took too many years to write but then thirteen years before that pile of books above fnally arrived.
Some of the biggest reasons for not wanting to recognise a talent that should be developed include the fear of failure, not being prepared to do the hard work to improve, and perhaps the most important one of all is the lack of perseverance when the rejections and criticism of our efforts come. If God wants that talent, that ability he has given, to be used by Him, not to do so is simply disobedience and that earns a heavy price.

And that perseverance is certainly something we writers know only too well we must deal with. How do we persevere? Why should we persevere? The specific answers are many and varied for each person but I know personally it is because I know this is what God wants of Mary Hawkins. Because of my intimate relationship with Jesus, He has been and remains my comforter, my guide, my strength, my all in all. But He does use not only the Scriptures but fellowship with His people to bring me all of these. I can only pray that perhaps He has used me too to help others as they seek to obey Him in developing their talents to glorify Him and bless and challenge whoever He wants to.


  1. Thanks for your insights, Mary. And God bless you as you prepare your Bible study for the conference. I suspect our God-given gifts and abilities/talents can be very much intertwined at times, don't you think? Should be an interesting study!

  2. Sounds like a very interesting study, Mary. It's sad indeed when people don't develop their gifts and talents and also that we live in a society that doesn't always encourage people to do so.

  3. So true, Jo-Anne, and all the worse when we disobey the God who is seeking to use us in exercising those gifts/talents.

  4. Paula I agree about our society but I recently read an historical Christian novel that reminded me that for centuries, women in particular were not allowed by the society they lived in to exercise their God-given gifts. At least we do not have to battle all they did.

  5. Lovely post Mary. Isn't wonderful that we are able to keep on learning in our craft of writing. That's what makes it so challenging. It does us good to look back at our earlier work and see how far we've come.Thanks for the reminder how the Lord is in it all with us step by step.

  6. Wow, Mary, this post was very powerful. It sometimes frightens me to think of all the opportunities I have let go by with my writing ability due to lack of perseverance. I'm starting out on a new venture soon and praying that it will be a means to glorify God in the way He intended for me to do so.

  7. Rita, thank you for your comment. It made me think about how I wonder too sometimes if the Lord must "shudder" at our earliest attempts to live out the Christian life. Just another example of His love and patience as He keeps on revealing new things, teaching us in deeper ways what He wants us to put into practice in our lives.

  8. Patti, I am sure we all miss opportunities - I know I have and had to ask God to forgive me. And that is all part of our "learning", of our becoming more and more "mature" Christians.

  9. Sounds like it will be a great bible study Mary. Thanks for sharing some of your story and writing journey.