I need a prompt. They help, they are even fun, and they are necessary. I started writing consistently with one prompt from the Holy Spirit. That prompt was hope. Words came easy, they came fast. God took hope and reinvented the word in me. I wove it into every thought. I took hard situations and memories I could not face and made them nourishing; not sugar-coated, but healthy and satisfying to revisit. Seasoned to remove the dry, bitter taste of regret and remorse.
That is what hope in Christ does. Real hope. Not the wishes and the dreams and the fairy tales; not the denials, but the honest truth about people and sin and redemption. It does no good to wish something did not happen. Hope does not change the past. But hope can show me what potential there is now and in the future despite the past.
This hope I wrote of transformed into poetry with prompts, which led to my first book. The suggestions, each different, added another dimension to this abstract, elusive, transparent apparition of a word. It was like God was saying to me,
“Mary, hope is not just a word. It is a person who wants to have a place in every subject, every scenario, every life, every bit of creation, every season, every joy, every passion, every hard thing. Hope is my life woven into yours through words.
I never was observant growing up. If it wasn't concrete, don't ask me to explain it. Even things that were concrete, I would trip over. Having my eyes opened is taking years. I am sure there are many reasons why. We each are complex and unique.
There are talents we develop. There are genetics we are endowed with. There are gifts only God gives. They are hard sometimes to separate. I know there are writers in my family, so, yes , maybe .0003 percent of my genetics somewhere is lurking a potential from birth. But I naturally am not a writer. God didn't tell me I know what I am doing. He told me to do it.
There are some who may question that last statement. It is okay. I question a lot of things people say. It is a human attribute, to question. It is neither right or wrong. It just is. And it is not for me to answer every question you have about me.
I will explain what I am learning about the difference between a gift or a talent or a trait.
A trait is inbred. It comes naturally. Jackie Evancho, at 10 years old sang like an opera singer. No vocal training. It just came out. Her vocal chords had a certain shape and her voice had a certain maturity at that very early age. Child prodigy perhaps, as many other children.
A talent, I think, is more a trained skill. Pianists are talented because they take the effort and practice for years perfecting an ability.
A gift of God is different.
1. God’s gifts don't depend on one's natural born ability. They depend upon His sovereign choosing.
2. God may give you a gift for a season, like a word to give someone, or the grace to go through something for a time needed, but maybe not necessarily every time for everyone.
3. God will teach you as you walk. As I open and use one gift, he will then add another to it. For me it started with one word, hope, and then He began expanding.
The most recent things He is teaching me
4. A gift from God creates a passion. Even when I don't know what I am doing, when I feel I have nothing to say to anyone, it hurts more to do nothing than to write even a thought or a line, even if I don't know if or where it will ever fit.
5. He gives a passion, not only for the gift, but for Him alone. God will never give a gift that will put Him in second place. His ultimate purpose is for you to have a relationship with Him, not the gift. That is idolatry.
God is taking someone who has never had words, never known how to use words and who always was afraid of people's responses and reactions to words and telling her to write about hope. It is a scary place sometimes. I have to trust Him. The one thing I never want to do is misrepresent His Word with mine. I also don't want to ignore this gift He is giving me. It has a lot of pieces to it and has to be constructed carefully. I don't want to throw it in a corner because I can't finish it, and then feel guilty every time I walk by it.
God asked Solomon what he wanted as gifts. And because he asked for wisdom, God gave him everything. He loved Solomon, as He loves every one of us, but Solomon ended up losing His kingdom by managing God's gifts his own way. He followed other gods. I never want to take God's gift into my own hands and manipulate it to fit my needs.
Samson also had a gift of strength in his hair and let someone else manage it. He didn't appreciate the value or know how to take care of it. He teased with riddles. He had to literally be blinded and then God returned it and used it, taking Samson's life along with it.
The gift of salvation is precious and it is one that will never be taken away, but other gifts of God that He gives to us we can we let pride as well as insecurity filter their way in and become unprofitable.
So think of the prompting of the Holy Spirit in your life. If He wants you to hear it, you will. Then it is up to you to step out and let Him perfect it.