I am a grandmother. I could be a great-grandmother, and I still love fairy tales. (I also love Winnie the Pooh and Brer Rabbit.)Universally fairy tales are beloved stories, read and re-read, and made into movies, generation after generation. Why?
I love ” . . . and they lived happily every after.” Many novels, movies, and TV dramas today are filled with angst, and no one succeeds, Conflict is left unresolved. I find that unsatisfying, even distressing. I want an ending–a happy ending!
We had a big discussion about this at St. David’s Christian Writers Conference several years ago, where one of my sister writers and I insisted books with happy endings were our favorites. Yes, often life doesn’t revolve into neat packages, we said, but life presses in on us, and books are no longer escapes when they don’t provide us happy endings. I need hope. I need laughter, I need evidence that life’s trials can turn into a happily ever after.
Perhaps that’s simplistic. Call me simple. Perhaps that’s a stretch of the imagination. Call me imaginative. Maybe it’s even incredible. Call me a woman of faith. I believe in Divine Intervention. I believe people can, and do, change when God touches their lives.
Sometimes it takes work, blood, sweat and tears, but I want happily ever after. How about you?
For many years I didn’t comprehend the Truth about women until it dawned on me—you’ve heard me use the term Steel Magnolias. Fragile enough to discolor at a touch. Strong enough not to break, and, when bruised, to release a sweet scent.
Ah, that’s our great secret. Because we are weaker, because we carry life within our bodies, feeling that life yearning to live apart, straining at the confined space of our wombs, because we undergo that most amazing force of nature, the separation of the child from its mother in the impossible-to-stop powerful force of labor, we reach out for Someone outside ourselves. We seek God. Every time I gave birth, I thought: Me and God have done this amazing thing. Together we have given Life.
In the difficult places and choices of life, we are aware of a Life-force greater than ourselves, and we seek Him, and then we find in our weakness is strength. The Spirit of woman.
The Lord said: “Let the weak say I am strong.” We cannot cling to man’s foolish notion that he is strong. In labor, we can do nothing to prevent that birth. When we are broken in spirit, we look at our babies and know, somehow, someway, for them, we must go on.
A woman’s words can crush her man or build him up,
Comfort her child or make him cruel and bitter,
Sooth trouble or stir up wars.
Because we turn to the One Who made us and let His life and love flow through us, we are strong. We are joined with the Creator. Without Mothers, the world could not continue. We not only give birth, but we give life: we feed, clothe, nurture, whisper words of love, speak firm words of correction, hold, speak, sing. We are mothers, the strongest force on earth.
At a writers’ conference once, the workshop moderator asked the class, “Why do you write?” That was my response, “I can’t not write.” For years I wrote professionally: letters, editorials, op ed pieces, but once retired as president of West Virginians for Life, I turned my hand to writing fiction–telling the stories I encountered working with women in crisis pregnancy and the Mothers of Preschoolers I have mentored for twenty years. I went to conferences and workshops, learned a whole new craft, and fell in love with writing.
My material is fiction, but it springs from conversations I’ve had, real women I’ve known. Women who have been abandoned, rejected, used, even exploited. My publisher says I’m too edgy for the Christian market and too spiritual for the secular market. I want to write where the rubber meets the road and give hope and a hand up to these women. (And men such as Ian O’Malley, Recovered and Free and Nick–I can’t wait for my next book to come out, When I am in your Arms. You’ll get to know Nick, an abused foster kid who found God’s love and the love of a Christian woman and became a father after God’s own heart.)
No woman or man is beyond God’s love and His redemptive power. In my writing, I can shout it from the housetops! Join me on these adventures. Books are available at Oak Tara’s website on facebook and on Amazon.
Perhaps this will be a good sequel to the last post. While reading in Exodus this morning, I wondered f I had life to live over again, would I make one day a week a time for rest, recreation, family, and friends. The finished work of the Cross fulfills the mandatory Sabbath–Jesus is our sabbath rest. We cannot work to earn our salvation. He has purchased it.
While our goals might be good, Joe and I need to take time to BE. To be together. To be with family. To talk. To meditate on what God is doing in our lives. Joe often says. “Cream rises,” his analogy for the good, hard-working folks rising to the top. It’s a good one, and true, but fine wine ages, resting. Soup tastes better when it simmers, and its fragrant aroma calls us to the table.
How often I have dashed ahead of God! I’m not of the school of evangelism that rushes seekers through the sinner’s prayer. Folks need time to gestate in the womb of the holy Spirit. Each of us is only one member of Christ’s Body. When a seeker sees the arm, the leg, the eye . . . all come together in unity, the Body of Christ is formed before him, and he sees not you nor me, but he sees Jesus. Let us be content to reveal our part and let God be God. No need to work so hard.
I recently posted on American Christian Fiction Writers blog, sending the link out to twitter and facebook. Condensing a 500 word post, I reflected on my age. I have a full life, our adult children are successful, our grandsons are healthy–I have it all. But I can’t be content sitting on my laurels. I published my first book at age 69, and last summer I saw two more in print.
My husband, at 75, works as an orthopedic surgeon. Nothing is “wrong” with us. We press on because we want to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. My fiction flows from the conversations I’ve had with women in crisis pregnancies and the Mothers of Preschoolers I’ve mentored for twenty years.
We refuse to retire. Our work provides a venue to touch lives and speak from our hearts and our experiences. Real issues, real conversations. After 52 years of marriage, five children and a foster daughter, we have a story to tell. We are flawed creatures, but ours is a story of God’s faithfulness and his love.
We divided our Christmas Day between our niece, who has been overseas fourteen years, and our son. Our niece’s husband is in the Air Force, and they have been out of the country except for visits. This is her first family Christmas in all that time, and she was ecstatic. Her brother and his family came in from Oklahoma, and her other brother and his new wife were there, as well as her mom and dad (her dad is my husband’s brother). What a fabulous time we had–I met great nieces and nephews I had only seen on face book!
We left after presents and brunch to go across the state of Virginia to our son’s for Christmas afternoon. Our son’s second boy, our youngest grandson (four months old) was christened on Sunday, the 28th, and gave the congregation a huge grin with water dripping off his face. Happy day! Our other son and his family came down for the occasion, and we enjoyed watching the cousins play–one who is two and a half and the other, one and a half. One of our daughters was also there, but the second daughter was with her husband, whose mother died on Christmas Eve.
We faced new life and death with our children, rallying around our son-in-law who now has no family but ours. Families, God’s gift to bring us rejoicing in joyous moments and strength in times of sorrow. Thank you, God, for families.
When you have five children and a foster daughter, plus seven grandsons, Christmas is a busy time. Add to that the Center for Pregnancy Care Christmas Party, the MOPS Christmas party, and the church leadership Christmas party, wrapping, shipping, and getting out of town to spend the holidays with our niece and the family, and I have been breathless! In addition a story was accepted for the February edition of Splickety Love, an online flash fiction site, and I had to get a bog post off to the American Christian Fiction Writers Blog. Phew.
The Best is sharing the holiday with our niece who has been overseas with her Air Force husband for a decade. Now she is home, and her folks (my husband’s brother and his wife), and their two sons, and their wives and children, have all converged upon her. (We sleep at a hotel.) We call it happy chaos. How good it is to have her home and to get to know our grand niece. We rejoice that we can share the blessed time of year with those who know and love the One we celebrate this day. Remember those in our military who spend holidays far from families.