Three Trees is fulfilling a dream that seems to be getting bigger for me. It follows my first book Eden's Blueprint, where the dream was born and became a reality. But long before the birth, was a question: could I be a writer? It is a strange thought to have when English was a subject I loathed and was not very good at. But the dream stayed a dream until I decided to step out beyond where I had been before. I asked myself if I believed I had a message in me I wanted to express. That led me to another question: did I believe in the message enough to write about it?
Eden's Blueprint was that internal wrestle with these questions, and it went on for five years. I got tired of talking about the dream (and I am sure many tired of me talking about it). Many times I would push it away and forget it for a season. As a pastor, there was always something taking up my time: something to run, something to fix, and someone to love. With so little time, I would often convince myself the dream would stay just that, a dream.
I have found it takes great courage to be creative. So, I wrote, I risked, and I allowed people into the sacred space of my story. From that, Eden's Blueprint was born, and the line, for me, had been marked in the sand; I was not going back. It was in the final stages of this book that another dream was birthed: Could I write fiction?
Recently, a friend of mine, Fi, asked what was the purpose behind my writing. Is it for income, is it for a story, is it for healing, or is it because I just wanted to write a book? I would be lying if I said I did not want an income from it, as I would love to do this all day, every day. But at the heart of it is a story that many people have been touched by. And by that, I don't just mean just my story; I mean the bigger God story in all of our lives. That story, to me has touched me in ways religion could not get near.
Eden, as most will know, is a place that has captured my heart and imagination. It is the time of God's original design. A time when everything revolved around His love and His presence. Stories of people's lives were born in those moments, and these stories, have been taught in synagogues, churches, and schools for thousands of years. So much so that, for me, the stories lost their humanness, and I only saw the power or greatness of God that was bending the world to His own devices.
So I stopped, and I allowed myself to reimagine what I have heard since I was a child. If you believe these stories are real or fiction, that does not bother me. For me, I'm good that they are real, and that's how I want to write. I think looking back on any historical figure to discover their character and context is hard, let alone the people that predate many of the histories we can dig out of the ground.
So, I sat in the stories and imagined the conversations, the feelings, the pain, and the love. I let go of much of the narrative I had heard repeated and repeated. Regardless of the time these stories were in, I found these were familiar conversations we all still have, and they will continue to occur long after I have joined these people in heaven.
What I discovered was profound. In the journey of writing, I was reintroduced to God (aka the Designer). I was able to talk with Him about all that I wrestle with in faith, life, pain, and love. I was able to find the miraculous space of peace He holds and carries for me. In short, I was able to find healing.
In that space, I could ask my questions. Many of them brought me to answers for my own life, and then, many of those answers brought me to greater questions. But here is a thing I found about that: I did not need all the answers, but I needed someone to witness my questions (and there were many).
So, Three Trees was born. It's a fictional work of an age-old story that I am retelling and allowing my own voice to ask the Designer a whole range of questions. Whether it works for you or not is something for you to decide. But I offer it to you as a thought, a dream, and a courageous step to create something I have never done before.
The dream has now become a reality. So, where to from here? Well, that's something I continue to dream about and hold with open hands. But here's another thing: everyone has a story, and if you think you can't write or you can't write like others... take a moment to think again... it's true you can't write like others, but I think that is the point. You were not designed to write, think, live, and love like others. You were designed to do that the way you have been uniquely created. So, it is true you don't write like others; but it is equally as true that no one writes like you.
It takes great courage to be creative.