Monday, November 26, 2012

Not Yet the Ocean

We were talking about being "peacemakers" in small group yesterday at church. The discussion turned toward ways of having civil and respectful conversations about theology between Christians and atheists, which turned toward a bit of a discussion about evolution vs. creationism, which led to me telling a paraphrased version of the following story...

I have a B.S. in Biology, and during my college years the evolutionary doctrine that pervaded our curriculum actually pushed me *away* from the theory of evolution and deeper in my belief in the Bible and Christ.

But the years following college were a bit rocky when it came to that stance. Life and time allowed doubt and fears to set in, and I found myself having a conversation with God a bit like:

"I think You need to prove Your existence to me."


"Helloooooo. YOU made me all scientific-y and logic-y, so YOU should understand why I'm asking for proof."


"Um, really. You want me to believe in You, then ante up. Give me SCIENCE. If You created it, You can at least back it up. The other team is doing it."


*me, searching online, at the library, wherever, and finding nothing*

"Seriously, this is uncool. I need facts, figures, something. You want me, You need to deliver the goods first."


*me, not knowing what to do, what to think, and getting depressed*

Then one day, at the bottom of the well....

"Fine. Okay, fine. Yes. FINE. Have it Your way. You are SO stubborn. I guess I'm just going to have to believe in You without proof if You insist on being that way. Sheesh."

A few days later, I'm at Lifeway--for a reason I don't even remember--birthday gift shopping for my grandmother?--and I spy a display of books. The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel. I open the book. I see that it's a compilation of interviews with scientists who have all written books about Creation science.

"Are You freaking kidding me??? This has been here the whole time? This, and all the books listed in the back here? WHY could I not find them before? Were You hiding this from me?"

Some of you may say it was just coincidence, but I assure you I was trying very hard to find answers. I truly believe God wanted me to take that first step of faith.

Why am I telling you all this?

It feels like it's happening again. Only this time it's my writing that I'm having to take that step of faith with.

"Huh?" you may be saying. I know, I've BEEN writing for over five years now! But I've been expecting, well, actual sales. I was expecting my sales to go UP after Seeking Unseen came out. I was expecting a lot of things that have not happened. Despite Finding Angel winning awards and some great reviews, I'm not seeing that translating into sales of Seeking Unseen. I'm not seeing word of mouth doing its job.

Sidestep a bit. After small group, I went to church service. One of the verses we were looking at was Philippians 2:3, which reads, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition..."


That hit hard. Is that what I'm doing? Yes, I started writing because I wanted to be published. To sell books. To have people read those books. But I didn't think I was being selfishly ambitious. I write as much for readers as I do for me. And it's the writing, the stories I want getting noticed. Not me!

Sure, I haven't been one of those writers who claims to not care if their books don't sell. "If just one person is touched by my story, it will all have been worth it." Really? God would have you write a whole novel, take years from your life, and not use it for more than one person? I don't think He grooves that way.

No, I think He still has plans for me and my writing. Bigger plans. But I am still mid-step, that first step. It's just a BIG, looooooong step. One that may mean me writing and publishing the whole Toch Island series. And possibly another book or two before anything major happens.

I have to hit the bottom of the well like I did before and accept that I have to do MY work FIRST. And THEN God will follow through.

I'll finish this off with the fortune I got in my fortune cookie with dinner last night:

"Faith is knowing there is an ocean when you can only see the stream."

Coincidence that I got that particular fortune yesterday? Hm. No. I'm standing in the stream right now. It IS moving. But it's not the ocean.

Not yet.


Kessie said...

Frank Peretti talked about this when he was writing Present Darkness, and how he wrestled with depression. He said that God gave him Nehemiah. About how even through all of the people opposing the Israelites, they just kept sticking one more brick in the wall, and one more, and one more. So every time Frank sat at the typewriter, he was plugging one more brick into the wall.

That's what you're doing now. Making money at writing takes years. I was reading a discussion group by readers, talking about how they don't find an author until the author has been writing for years and has finished multiple series, sometimes. This is a long-term investment, but it'll pay dividends if you just keep at it. And you might make some friends along the way. :-)

Kat Heckenbach said...

Thanks, Kessie. The intellectual part of me knows all this, and you and others I know have made similar statements before. But it's sometimes hard to get past our feelings, our expectations, and concentrate on the brick-laying.

It was just nice feeling this weekend like God was reaffirming that, yes, stick with it, just finish the step. It's a biggie, but just finish.

And I have definitely made some awesome friends along the way!! :D

Anonymous said...

This is a great post! Stobel's books were instrumental in helping me return to my walk of faith.
I wonder the same things about my writing and always come back to the same comforting answer: God already knows. God does have plans for our writing! Our goal is to walk with Him as we write.
It was interesting to me that you ended your post "standing in the stream". Living waters. Moving waters. God knows.
Rick Christensen

Kat Heckenbach said...

Thank you, Rick!

Robynn Tolbert said...

Ah, yes. The screaming, the silence, the bottom and the faith.

You do understand. ;)

Kat Heckenbach said...

Yep :).

Sparks of Ember said...

Having trust and faith isn't easy. Especially when you're not hearing an answer just yet. I really struggled with that a few years ago - we had just moved and I was job-searching for months with little response. But God sent me reassurances through songs on the radio - especially Britt Nicole's "Have Your Way".

So I'll stop searching for the answers,
I'll stop praying for an escape
And I'll trust you God with where I am
And believe you will have your way,

(and if you're still interested in creation science books, I've always loved Many Infallible Proofs by Henry Morris and The Answers Books by Ken Ham.)

Kat Heckenbach said...


And I've got a whole shelf of Creation science books, actually. Including some Henry Morris :). Great books!