Blog 3: So, to God I went…

So, just to recap Tuesday’s blog, after feeling stuck. it was time to stop ruminating on my own human doubts and seek higher counsel.  So, I asked God for a sign that I should continue writing my novel.  Then, I began to look for the manifestation of a sign.  However, God didn’t send me one; I received a cascade of signs that ultimately led me here with you, and I received much more than I asked for.   Here is what I have dubbed Cause and Effect: My Godly Guideposts

  • Cause:  On the first day of my summer vacation, I had traveled to my sister’s home in Maine where her family and mine came together to celebrate the recent engagements of both my niece and my daughter respectively.  While sitting on the beach, my brother-in-law teased me about being off the entire summer and challenged me to write a blog about something new that I would attempt on each day of the next nine weeks.  A blog?  I thought.  I have absolutely no desire to write a blog.  I’m not even sure how.  I need to finish my novel.  I, therefore, dismissed it right away, but his crazy suggestion swirled around in my head .
  • Effect: When we returned home, continuing to feel sluggish and paralyzed, I avoided writing as I let mundane tasks take over like cleaning and food shopping.  Despite my refusal to entertain the notion, the blog suggestion continued to gnaw at me, but  I wasn’t the adventurous type, so it was unlikely I’d try anything new, and what about my novel?   As I grabbed my purse,  I thought,  Come on, God! Where’s my sign?  Why can’t I get going here?  
  •  Cause: With my cart fully loaded, I stopped in the stationery section of the grocery store and noticed a little inspirational book entitled, What is God’s Will For My Life? by John Ortberg.
  • Effect: It was inexpensive, so I bought the book  with the hope that it would help me figure out this writing thing and bring me a sign.  Little did I realize that the book itself was a sign.  I read it in one sitting.  Ortberg’s premise is that God’s purpose for each of us is that we evolve into the best version of who we are created to be.  We need to listen to God, surrender to His will, but we also need to act.   He states, ” We must pray and then proceed with the conscious assumption that God will answer. Based on that assumption, we begin looking around to see of if perhaps he has answered in a way we might otherwise have missed. […] Why would we assume that passivity is a greater inducement to God to reveal his will to us than activity? .[…]When you face a choice and make a decision, don’t limp across the threshold. Hop.”(51,72,74).
  • But I didn’t act or hop.   I simply shut the book and went to bed.
  • Cause: The next morning, I discussed Ortberg’s book with my son, and out of the blue, he tells me that he wants to start a blog.  His only problem was that he didn’t know much about starting one.  He asked me if I knew if we still had that book he had bought a while ago about blogging a book? I forgot he had purchased it, but it could prove useful to both of us.
  • Effect:  I then set off to find it, and in doing so, I decided it was a perfect time to clean and reorganize the office.  I was gratified to find the book, How to Blog a Book by Nina Amir and to know that for once my penchant for cleanliness led to something other than avoidance.
  • Cause: However, I avoided giving the book to my son. Still inquisitive about blogging,  I decided to take the book with me on our boat.
  • Effect: While sitting on the beach, my future son-in-law noticed the book in my hands, and finding it odd, he  inquired as to my aspirations. Feeling uncomfortably out of the my element, I dismissed the idea of blogging immediately. I told him my initial impression was that blogging seemed overwhelming, and I felt I had no subject upon which to write and nothing to say. (Are you laughing to yourself right about now?)
  • Cause: For reasons I can’t explain, I continued to flip haphazardly through the book’s pages, where I arrived at a section that discussed the success stories of people who blogged and then turned their blogs into books.  I read each of them, and one in particular jumped out at me, for I knew I had Martha Alderson’s book,  The Plot Whisperer  on my newly organized office book shelf at home.
  • Effect:  I found it and began to reread the book, and in the opening pages, it was as if Alderson was speaking directly to me.  She writes, “you are writing about a character transformed through the Universal Story.  That character pursues a goal.  She faces a series of conflicts and obstacles, and as a result, […]she is transformed, and her ultimate transformation creates her anew with a different understanding of herself and her existence.  As you write, you will begin to see a similar pattern emerge in your own life as you face conflicts that arise from your writing.  In the end, you, too, will be transformed.”(1).  This made so much sense to me.
  • Cause: Wow, and this revelation also connected to Ortberg.  Perhaps God was signaling to  me that I could evolve into the best version of myself by evolving into  the writer he created me to be.  I needed to be open to all possibilities of what writing could offer me.  It was glaringly apparent  that although I had prayed for a sign to continue with my novel, the idea of starting a blog was now very much in the forefront of my thoughts. I had a feeling God was nudging me to do both, but I was still filled with self-doubt.   I asked myself over and over, Should I begin a blog?  Should I explore my own writing and share my thoughts with others ? Am I drifting away from my novel, or can I do both?
  • Effect: Mentally exhausted, I decided to read a bunch of articles my mother had given me.  I wanted a momentary respite from my prayer, but God wasn’t having it.  I came across an article by the author of the column God Squad, Rabbi Marc Gellman. He had written it  to commemorate Father’s Day, and it is entitled, “Drawing On Special Memories of My Dad.”  It is about his father, Sol Gellman, and his ability to draw upside down, which helped his clients immensely.  As an architect, this alleviated the constant need for him to keep switching the paper back and forth as he fleshed out his ideas in front of them.  Rabbi Gellman slowly came to realize that his father’s quirky talent was much more than simply that.  It was a way for his dad to reach out to others in an effective, communicative way, and this was something anyone could learn to do. “Drawing upside down is a skill we can all possess-it just requires learning and love.”
  • Cause: His words hit me like a thunderbolt! I was waiting for one sign, but God had sent me a ton.  I wouldn’t be drawing upside down; I’d be writing upside down! God would show me the way and help me find the words.
  • Effect: It was time to hop.  I evaluated my decision to start my blog using Ortberg’s question, “Is it congruent with becoming the person I believe God created me to be?”  The answer was yes.  It was time to become the writer and human being God designed me to be.    I would call it Writing Upside Down, and here I would have the ability to explore my own truth and transform myself through writing and creating.
  • Effect:  Here I am with you.

 

Author: jaynemagdalentraver

I have been writing all my life in one form or another. I have been an English teacher for the past 22 years, and writing, whether it be teaching literary analysis, argumentation or creative elements, has always been a main focus in my classroom. I have come to realize that teaching literature and writing have prepared me to write my own novel, but like most endeavors, it's been easier said than done. Here, in this blog space, I hope to gain insight into my own strengths and weaknesses in writing to finally become the writer I am destined to be.

11 thoughts on “Blog 3: So, to God I went…”

  1. i love it ! i remember when i cried to my pastor when my social worker told me that i couldn’t say i had no preference for the sex of the baby i was going to adopt. she said i had to choose because no preference in the adoption world means boy as everyone wants to adopt girls. i wanted the same joy when they told me “you have a …..” i debated with everyone including you over the decision and when my pastor asked why i was so upset I told him “I wanted God to pick the child for me” His response floored me…”Laura, did you mean it when you said you had no preference?” “yes i said” He said “Cograts you are having a boy! God answered you and you were still waiting for a letter from him in the mailbox.” He continued that we get signs all the time that we either do not recognize or even ignore and we have to be more open….God gave you talents and you need to use them!

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    1. Josh is a lucky boy. I often look at him and wonder what his life would have been had you not been courageous enough to say yes to God’s plan for you. You have such a tough job as a single mom, but Josh is living proof that you are doing a great job. Thank God you weren’t given a “preference.” Imagine your life without Josh in it. I can’t! Thanks for reading and commenting! Share me, too! I love you!

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      1. This is probably the nicest thing you have ever said to me besides that my children are great!!! You should write a blog, Laura. Based on your heart-felt prior comment, you have much to say!

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  2. Loved reading this, Jayne. I am inspired to “hop across the threshold.” It is so much easier to be passive and wait for life to happen, but nothing much happens without activity. And mindfulness. And living in the moment. Hop on, Jayne! Interesting that you found your inspiration in reading the words of others. I think that writers are prompted to write by reading. And though the act of reading is considered passive (accompanied often by guilt for just lying around with a book instead of cleaning the oven or doing a wash), it is really very much active: a mental “hopping” that can inspire writers to resume writing.

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    1. Wow, your words are inspirational. You should blog! Thank you for your encouragement! !I thank God every day that the Flinter family is now part of our family. You are a blessing in so many ways. Thanks for commenting! Share me, too! I love you!

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  3. You are such an incredible human in every way! I admire your desire to always better yourself & reach new goals. I aspire to be like you ( I’m still trying after 25 + years to attain your cleaning skills). I guess you have to start somewhere! ❤️❤️❤️

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  4. First – after I suggested the blogs as the mysterious “brother-in-law on the beach” – did you really need any other signs? I doubt there is any better gift from God than being able to ogle my physique on the beach while receiving sage advice from a true creative sensai. The fact that I was wearing nothing but a speedo and a thin coat of Coppertone tanning oil would certainly make it an inspirational moment. Secondly – don’t lose sight of the original challenge…..the blog should document the unexpected challenges you have taken every day – time for the next step of jumping into the cold Maine water (figuratively if not literally) each day. Go ahead – jump-in!

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