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Sharing Creativity is to Grow in His Gifts

By Jenny Fulton, author of Princess Lillian and Grandpa’s Goodbye

Has God ever asked you to make a personal gifting or a private hobby public?

In many ways, this is a terrifying transition for a creative person. Before, creating something provided an inner joy; the only critic was yourself or the Gift Giver.

Princess Lillian’s Book Launch Activities! Find them here: https://www.facebook.com/events/274521184047823/?active_tab=discussion

I have numerous journals, each of which are personal and private. How could I bridge the gap between my writing for private process and writing for what others wanted?

To share a talent with others is to expose yourself – to open your vulnerability to another’s criticism, to discover how much you still need to learn and grow in your abilities.

It’s far easier to hoard such giftings in isolation. Yet, more often than not, God won’t allow us to keep them shut away indefinitely.

I was teaching in China when God asked, urged, and encouraged me to start writing for more than myself. His first prodding came through a friend.

She speaks softly and listens loudly

Lara was another American teacher at the school. She possesses a quiet and gentle spirit, a trustworthy one, a daydreaming one.  We formed an instant connection; I somehow knew she was a creative before she verified it with words. Our time together included playing our guitars, engaging in deep conversations, and talking about writing.

She was one of the first people with whom I shared the fulness of my passion for this art.

One day, we were sitting in her apartment, talking about our secret hobbies. “You know,” she said, “I was just reading this book, The Soul Tells a Story, by Vinita Hampton Wright. She talks about writing and creativity going hand-in-hand with spirituality and encourages people to say, ‘yes’ to their God-given gifts. You can read it when I’m finished.”

I did. As I read, a long-held dream crept from its world of silence and impossibility into the realm of light and reality.

What if my desire to write wasn’t temporary?

What if it wasn’t meant to remain a side-hobby or a means by which to communicate newsletters, but was given to me by God to be used for Him to His glory?

What if my dreams to write and be published didn’t just belong to me, but were a reflection of His dreams for me?

It’s been quite a winding journey from that time to the present where my book, Princess Lillian and Grandpa’s Goodbye is now offered in audiobook for your listening pleasure.

Faith writing

Soon after this conversation, Lara introduced me to Faithwriters.com, an online writing site for Christians. For the first time, I put my heart and stories on display to be read and critiqued by strangers who had no knowledge or context for the person behind the words. I didn’t know where it would lead or how God would use it; I only knew I must obey – I could no longer ignore the desperate call within me.

In 2008, I submitted my first fictional story, Chang Chang’s Hope, to the lowest level of the Faithwriters weekly writing challenge. Then I waited in terrified expectation for people to post their comments.

People really liked it! The judges liked it and gave it a 2nd place ranking in its level.

My next entry, More Than a Yearly Journey, was an autobiographical one. It caught the attention of the site managers who featured it on the Front-Page Showcase.

While I certainly seemed to be off to a good start, I knew my skills needed to develop. But maybe, with time, instruction, and practice, I could really do this writing thing.

These initial successes persuaded me to be more intentional about learning the craft. To this end, I read the highest-ranked stories and tried to pinpoint what made them so good. I studied writing lessons on the site and tried to incorporate those skills into my entries.

Sometimes my pieces connected well with the readers. Other times they didn’t

Regardless of whether my writing connected well with others, I was learning, improving, and gaining insight into where my strengths and weaknesses lay.

After several months of sharing online, I gathered my courage and tentatively offered to write the devotionals for an upcoming youth retreat. Offering, writing, and sharing God’s gifting to me in this form was far scarier than posting online. Exposing my heart to strangers was one thing; revealing it to those I knew was another.

Although the devotionals were presented as anonymous, I was able to gain some encouraging feedback.

These occasions to share made a few things very clear.

  1. My desire to write wasn’t temporary.
  2. The enjoyment and ability to write had been given to me by God to be used for Him to His glory.
  3. My dreams to write and be published were a reflection of God’s dreams for me.

“Lord,” I prayed. “I entrust this writing, this interest and ability, to You as something You want me to continue to develop and use for Your glory. I’m not sure to what extent, but I do know that I will follow Your lead in this and seek any opportunities You may have for me. For whatever reason, and to whatever extent, You have, among other things, made me a writer. To You belong the details.”

Life Happens in The Details

I continued posting short stories online for the next five years. Life changed drastically in that time, but the commitment to write held steady. In 2010, I moved back to the U. S. Two years later, I was married, and a year after that, I gave birth to my first daughter.

In 2014, when my daughter was a year old, I left teaching to become a stay-at-home mom.

The dream and dedication to writing continued. With my husband’s encouragement, I pursued a few freelance writing jobs. One of them landed me a contact as a ghostwriter for a young adult fantasy novel. That book was published in 2016.

This past year, in July 2020, I came across Laura Bartnick with Capture Books. After a few months of communicating back and forth about a couple of writing projects, she offered me a contract to publish my first picture book. Princess Lillian and Grandpa’s Goodbye was released on March 10, 2021, with paperback and hardback versions as well as ebook versions.

Timing for this release thrills me because the book is now available for comfort and hope around the Easter holiday because the theme of Princess Lillian and Grandpa’s Goodbye is eternal life after death.

Encouragement from the Word

In 1 Corinthians, Paul speaks much about the giftings of the Holy Spirit. Although writing or other artistic endeavors aren’t specifically mentioned, the manifestation of the Spirit is. “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.[1]” The expression of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives is meant for the common good.

Many times, God’s gifts aren’t given for the benefit of the receiver alone and aren’t meant solely for personal use and gratification. Instead, He often grants us skills and abilities so that we may use them to help others.

Matthew 5:16 (NASB) says, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” God’s light is expressed through how we live our lives, in our physical work, in what we say and do. This includes artistic endeavors.

May the dreams, skill, and abilities God has given us shine before others in such a way that they might glorify our Father who is in heaven.

Although it’s scary to publicly share our gifts, I’ve discovered the value of opening my heart in creative writing. It’s definitely worth it.

[1] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), 1 Co 12:7.

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Primary and Secondary Colors

” Just like numbers have significance in Scripture, so do colors.”

Primary Colors and Biblical Meanings

In nature, there are three primary colors, red, yellow, and blue. These cannot be formed by mixing any other colors. These colors come from Earth itself.

In the Bible, the Hebrew word for red actually means red clay. It is the root word for mankind. The second primary color is yellow. Yellow is associated with fire and the purification process. Blue is the third primary color. It spiritually signifies the healing power of God.

Secondary Colors and Biblical Meanings

Green is obtained by mixing yellow (trials) with blue (Word of God). Therefore, the biblical meaning of the color green is growth.  The idea of immortality even through the heat of the sun and the fire of trials is embodied because of the root of the word (The leaf shall not wither – Psalm 1:3). Green is also symbolic of resurrection, though we are dead, yet we shall live.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” –  John 11:25

Purple is obtained by mixing red (flesh) and blue (word of God). The resultant color is purple meaning in the Bible royalty or priesthood. Orange is obtained by mixing red (flesh) and yellow (trials) and means deliverance. Learn more about the meaning of colors in Jacob Olesen’s article, https://www.color-meanings.com/biblical-meaning

My great-nephew, who is in first grade, recently gave me a lesson on the differences between primary and secondary colors. While he was sharing his teacher’s thoughts, I began to think about the words primary and secondary and how they relate to my spiritual life.
 
When I first arrived in South Africa, I was a primary color. I was in the forefront blazing trails with others following behind. It came with the job of pioneering a ministry. As Strong Cross Ministries developed, I became a secondary color. Others came alongside and unique colors and hues were created.
 
Both primary and secondary colors are beautiful in their own right. God created these colors and in the colors of a rainbow, we see them blended in splendor and excellence by Him. I prefer the obscure and divinely different colors that appear when God works with nature and people and when people work together combining their efforts for the Kingdom of God.

Every author at Capture Books has a unique voice.  God has called each of us to write with uniquely colorful purposes. Together, I think we make a fabulous publishing group, leading in primary ways, and helping each other succeed.

An experienced blogger and writer is about to have her first children’s title published by Capture Books. In an instant, she will graduate from being a fine blogger to being an amazing author!  She will be holding her dream in her hands. I understand the emotion when the rainbow of promise becomes reality. Her picture book is full of the colors of the Navajo Nation, skillfully depicted by a watercolor artist, Indra Grace Hunter. The story itself shines in my mind as ethereal and green for the resurrection. You shouldn’t miss this wonderful story. Be on the lookout for the picture book, Princess Lillian and Grandpa’s Good-bye by Jenny Fulton.
 
We are living in unusual times. Whether our writing in this season is depicted in the nature of a primary color, secondary color, or a unique indescribable shade, use your colors for strength and joy in our Creative God.  You know what? Colors may feel blurred. We need to remind ourselves that the God who created color has purpose and clarity.

Tonya Jewel Blessing

Soothing Rain is a devotional written by Tonya Blessing and Sue Summers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tonya is the co-founder/director of Strong Cross Ministries (SCM).

She and her husband currently reside in South Africa, where they assist local leaders in helping their communities. She is also an author of two novels and the co-author of a resource book for women in Christian leadership. Tonya is a national and international speaker. She is especially passionate about helping women grow in Christ.

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What is Your Next Must-Read?

Psalm 1 lyric excerpt sung to the hymn tune, This Is My Father’s World: Like a little tree will thrive Planted by the water’s side, In season it will yield its fruit, How green its leaves abide! See how these roots take hold, Set against the roots that fail, Swept up like chaff upon the wind, The withered roots shall sail.