photo © 2010 Hartwig HKD more info (via: Wylio)
When I first started writing Leave Me Never in March 2005, I had no idea the journey on which I was about to embark. One month after I'd begun working on this story, my son was diagnosed with cancer and I became his full time caregiver. There is nothing that can prepare a mother's heart for such news and I staggered under the attack of fear. To get the best care for our son, we traveled out of state and there was precious little time for writing. I set the manuscript aside for a year and a half.
Over the months of my son's cancer battle, God carried me through an onslaught of emotions that sliced deeper than anything I'd ever experienced. Several months after God took our son home to Heaven, I pulled up the manuscript on my computer and stared at it. The characters were flat, the setting dull. I didn't know who those people were and I didn't recognize the story. The insignificant issues facing the characters paled in comparison to what we'd been through. The story no longer worked and I didn't know how to fix it.
A year later I attended an author's retreat where I took a workshop taught by DiAnn Mills on how to develop emotional depth in your characters. She gave us an exercise to do. First, she told us to close our eyes and think of the worst experience we'd ever been through. The first image that manifest behind my closed eyelids was holding my son's hand as he lay in a hospital bed and drew his last breath. Tears began to burn as DiAnn told us to open our eyes and write that scene. Was she kidding? She wanted me to find the words that described my emotions as I said goodbye to my son? My pen started moving and the emotions I had locked in my heart came pouring out. I filled two pages and could have kept going, but DiAnn wasn't finished yet. After several minutes, she told us to rewrite our opening scene and give those same emotions to our characters. It was an excruciating hour, but I learned that God never wastes circumstance. (Btw, I'll always be grateful to DiAnn for pulling those emotions out of me.)
A dear friend of mine speaks on a topic: No Wasted Steps In A God-Directed Journey. Our cancer journey taught me many things - the most important being to trust God when I had to take the next step in blind darkness. I also became acutely aware of the number of hurting people out there who desperately want to know that someone understands what they are going through. So I began writing Leave Me Never with my main character's raw emotions evident. My heroine, Tessa, learns to seek God in the worst of times and she discovers her worth isn't found in possessions or status. She explores the depth of God's love and realizes her value comes from who she is in Christ. I wanted to show that despite her grief and regardless of her circumstances, God would never leave her alone, nor would He expect her to walk where He hadn't already been.
Has God ever used adversity to teach you how deeply He loves or how worthy He is of your trust?
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