Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she lives with her husband, two rambunctious golden retreivers and a six-toed cat. She was the winner of the Best New Canadian Christian author award for her first novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel will be released this fall. Marcia’s devotionals have garnered praise from notable Christian authors, Mark Buchanan, Phil Callaway and Sigmund Brouwer. Visit her website – www.vinemarc.com
The little girl stood rigidly on the bare stage, her eyes round and frightened as she waited for the signal to begin. When it came she took a deep breath and sang. Her voice was quite soft, she swayed a little and wrung her hands, but she got through it, then waited again as she’d been instructed, while the adjudicator finished making notes. She remained motionless as the judge told her what she thought. The comments were kind and I breathed a sigh of relief. When my ten-year-old came back to her seat I put my arm around her. “Good job, Laura,” I said.
She shrugged my hand away, put both of her hands under her legs and shook her head. “I’m never ever, ever, ever doing that again!” Then she burst into tears.
About eight years later I watched with pride and not a little amazement as Laura sang the lead role in her high school musical. She had come a long way since that day when she performed her first solo in front of an audience, before an adjudicator at a music festival. In the years since she has sung countless times on a stage, and is now in a worship band in her church.
The journey wasn’t easy for her. She had to learn how to get over being so terribly nervous, how to stand still, how to breath and project her voice. But she had good teachers and many who encouraged her along the way. We’ve laughed more than once about that day when she said, “never ever.”
I’ve known writers who have, with fear and trepidation, sent their work out to a publisher only to get a scathing critique back, tucked their manuscript away and said, “never ever, ever, again.” Some never ever did, but most of those writers conquered their disappointment and fear and did do it again, and again, and again. Perseverance is key in writing, in life and in spiritual development. As someone once said, the only failure is the one who quits.
We can take cues on this from many characters in the Bible, characters who failed badly but did not let those failures keep them from moving forward into the plans and purposes God had for their lives. Characters like Moses, Abraham, David, Peter and Paul all were destined to do great things for God, in spite of their weaknesses and failures. No doubt they all wanted to say, “never again” at some point, but they all knew there was One they could turn to – One who would forgive and empower and strengthen. They admitted their weaknesses, took counsel from those who guided them back to God, and then they kept going.
Though he was facing death, the apostle Paul said – “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:24).
As writers who are Christian, we too have been given that task of testimony, whether we do it through articles in magazines, poems posted on blogs, or novels sent out to publishers. We too are to testify to the grace and mercy and glory of God. Until He comes again or transports us to stand before Him.