Okay, now things get interesting.
Yes, I experienced a genuine healing from a medical condition never known to resolve (Writer’s Cramp). Talk about a sign. But, instead of acting on my pastor’s words, I stalled. Why? Because I failed to see myself as a writer. And more importantly, I didn’t have any vision for what God wanted me to write.
Consider these words from Oswald Chambers: (paraphrased, July 6th entry)
We always have visions, before a thing is made real. Although the vision is real, it’s not real in you. The vision isn’t a castle in the air, but a vision of what God wants you to be.
God gives you the vision and then takes you down in the valley to batter you into the shape of the vision. He puts you through fires and floods to get you to the place where He can trust you with the veritable reality. Over and over again, you might try to escape from His hand. In the valley, many faint and give way. But every vision will be made real, if you have patience. Think of the enormous leisure of God.
Don’t lose heart in the process. If you’ve ever had a vision from God, you may try as you like to be satisfied on a lower level, but God will never let you.
During those years of stalling, some interesting signposts popped up along the way. God began pointing to my design, as He geared up to impart vision.
In a short little whiff of a dream, I stood on an open landscape holding a leather-bound book. Somehow, I knew the book was important. There was almost a sense of urgency about it. When I looked inside, the pages were all blank. That surprised me. It was an untold story. Little did I know, I’d be writing those pages.
Next, my friend Claudia invited me to a local writers group. I started to learn about writing, editing and approaching publishers. At that point, I knew I had something to say, but needed to learn how to write. I hired a freelance editor to critique my work. Early drafts came back with countless red pencil corrections. One could have been discouraged, but I entered into the discipline of rewriting.
In those early days, I chose provocative topics. I wrote passionately on the spiritual dangers in Christian schools or how promiscuity damages boys as well as girls. I did a piece about Fyodor Dostoevsky as a person, instead of an author, and read rare books by his wife and his daughter to present him in a new light. I argued on paper about the homeless, sharing my own encounters and wrestling with what our response should be in an age of entitlement.
Then one day, an editor called. He wanted to publish one of my manuscripts as the feature article in his current journal. I was stunned. Something I never believed possible was happening.
From that point on, the pace quickened—more hours of pen to paper, new articles, and a variety of magazines. I was writing, yes. Still, I did not have clarity on the topic that would become the heart of all my work. That was the vision I needed.
During that time, my capacity to hear God’s voice was also developing. God already knew that math was a fascinating language for me. I liked working with numbers—the symmetry of algebra. It created pathways of logical thought. I also loved palindromes: words spelled the same, backwards or forwards. As a child, I cut paper snowflakes for the same reason. There is beauty in order and I saw it everywhere.
God knows these particulars about us, and uses them as building blocks to create language from Spirit to spirit. If you adore gardening, He’ll speak in those terms. If you sail or paint or love to sing, He will find you there. Deep calls unto deep.
And so, in marvelous, mysterious ways, He began to cast vision for my writing with a palindromic number. It all started with—747.
More to come on this continuing story…