Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day Two with Colleen L. Reece

Making God Laugh

I never hear the expression, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans" without chuckling - and remembering all the times this happened.

I grew up near the little western WA town of Darrington. Dad was a logger. Mom was a teacher. Folks took it for granted that I would follow in her capable footsteps.

Fat chance. If I had a dollar for every time I shook my head and said, "Never!" I'd be laughing all the way to my bank. (What I thought was thunder back then was probably God laughing.)

Decades later, I fulfilled the ungrammatical expression: "A few years ago I couldn't spell 'teacher' and now I are one."

If God had not ignored my protests, I would have never experienced the joy that comes from encouraging others. Many of those I've mentored through writing classes and beyond have gone on to become well-known in today's Christian marketplace.

I'd never been in a writing class until Green River Community College in Auburn, WA, signed me up to teach two classes in the fall of 1978. During the half-hour drive to my first class, I was so scared I felt sick. I had perhaps forty-five college credits but was not a college graduate. I'd never taught anything but Sunday School. My qualifications? A half-dozen published books and several articles.

I prayed, then visualized standing in front of the dozen or so students and giving my carefully-prepared lesson. This helped settle me down.

The class went great (even though I imagined quiet laughter at my foolishness in thinking God would lead me into situations without providing the ability to conquer them.) Thankfully, I never again experienced such stage fright.

I long ago gave up teaching for GRCC and Writer's Digest School but teach an intergenerational class at our local senior center, composed of both "perennial" students and newcomers. Prior to each quarter, I ask God to send those who can benefit not just from the teaching but also from the friendship that abounds.

He has responded by sending an incredibly diverse group: Christians from many denominations, non-Christians, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Wiccan, New Age Followers, etc. Personal beliefs differ, but the respect and caring shown to each individual is beautiful.

God made me a teacher in spite of myself. Before going to heaven at age ninety-six, Mom, my best friend, editor, and cheerleader, attended some of my classes. She commented, "Colleen, you've been given a writing talent that will touch many. Your speaking and teaching may touch even more."

Mom was right. The camp song, "Pass It On," says it only takes a spark to get a fire going. My teaching is a spark. No matter how many copies of my books sell (presently 6 million) those I help get started will reach millions of readers I never can.

Susan is only one of the many students God has permitted me to help launch a writing career. Her six Circle C Adventure titles fit her motto: "Wholesome Books for Kids." So do the first two Circle C Beginnings, a series for younger readers. Susan also speaks, teaches and helps young authors develop their talents. Photo shows me "cashiering" for her at a Christian school bazaar.

I thank God for being able to pass on what He has helped me learn - and seeing those I teach do the same.

God bless,

Have you ever made God laugh by telling him your plans, only to find out what He had in store for you was so much better?

1 comment:

  1. A lovely photo of you and Susan, Colleen. You certainly have jump-started many of your writing-for-publication students. Others you've mostly encouraged through the years; cheered us on when we wanted to quit. You've touched countless people with your positive, upbeat attitude and kindness. As to your question--I think God is laughing with joy all the time at how delighted we can be when our thwarted plans morph into something better down the road a piece.