FOR AS LONG as I can recall I have felt compelled to write. Over the decades I have responded to that compulsion in quite fragmented ways: news correspondent in the highlands of Papua New Guinea; ghost writing; co-author of several memoirs; editor of a state denominational publication; writing my autobiography; and many attempts at establishing my blog, now called Authentic Christian Living. Looking back I can see where not only have I been the mistress of procrastination, but it seemed that I had missed the boat in regards to what was God’s call on my life to “Write the vision!”
When I first heard that call as a young mother in the wild frontier town of Mount Hagen in Papua New Guinea’s Western Highlands, I believed God would immediately use me in a mighty way. Instead he took me on an incredibly agonising journey to hell and back, one that eventually—half a century later—has brought me to a place of deep peace and contentment, reminiscent of the words of the Psalmist:
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance (Psalm 16:6).
A DIFFERENT BOAT
AS I SET about the prolonged, painful process of healing my bruised and broken being, I had to contend with the pervasive belief that I had failed God. I had missed the boat in regard to my writing, and I needed to set it aside. After all, who did I think I was that God would use me in his vast scheme of things?
I began a career in social work and allowed that to take me on a fascinating journey that was rich in experiences of walking alongside many wonderful, courageous and precious people. Some were mental health clients, some palliative care and their families; some ageing, others young; and many, with a whole gamut of challenges, lived in the Outback. I loved my work, but with my own needs pressing in upon me it was time to leave that career and return to my twice-aborted retirement. Waiting for me was my writing.
Here I am, now in my seventies, pen poised and ready to write for my God.
Had I missed the boat?
Yes – and “NO”!
When I reflect upon my life with all its twists and turns, the challenges I have had to face including the death of my precious granddaughter, and the agonising grief of a cruelly divided family that threatened to destroy me, I know that what I believed was right, was not what God had in mind for me at the time. Instead, over the decades he has kept me in the palm of his hands, embracing me with his love, protecting me—often from my own stupidity—and bringing me into a safe harbour, one in which I have my faith and hope firmly anchored in him (Hebrews 6:19).
A boat does await me here, but it is not the one I thought it would be. It is a different boat, one that I am far more prepared to board than I have ever been in the past.
I have grown and developed so much since that first call to “Write the vision!”, so many decades ago. There would have been something seriously wrong if I hadn’t! Now, in these my latter years, I am more than ready to embark on this part of my journey. It will bring together aspects of the rich, exciting, fulfilling and rather challenging life I have had, which God will use for those who are going through similar rough times. This is a different boat—but it’s looking good. It really is. The words of his call made to me so many years ago remain crystal clear:
“Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.
For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow; wait for it; it will surely come; It will not delay (Habakkuk 2:2-3).