I once had someone tell me that you get no spiritual teaching from fiction, even Christian fiction. Well, that is completely untrue. I can't count the number of times when I've been reading a work of Christian fiction and something that was writted popped out at me because of a place where I was at in my life.
Today, while reading a book by Kathleen Y'Barbo, was one of those times.
The quote below comes from 'Bayou Beginnings', the first book in her Louisiana Brides collection.
"I'm confused, I suppose, and that does trouble me."
"How so, if you don't mind my asking, that is?"
"Oh, I don't mind. I just don't know if I can explain it." She leaned back and listened to the chains clank against one another. "It is all so complicated. I don't know where to begin."
"I suppose this sounds like a cliche, but I always recommend a body begin at the beginning." He patted her shoulder. "Or you don't have to tell me anything. We could merely pray if that iwll help."
She thought a moment before shaking her head. "Actually, I think it would do me good to talk to someone who could keep my confidence."
He smiled. "Well then, you have the right man for the job. Keeping confidences is what I do best."
Cleo let out another long breath and plunged into her story. "Going to college is exciting. It's amazing to think that an orphan girl from Latagnier could end up going off to college and being a teacher." She turned her gaze to the pastor. "It's what I've always wanted."
"Well then, why the confusion? Are you afraid, or is something else bothering you?"
"Afraid? No, I don't think so. I think I'm more worried that I've been dreaming the wrong dreams."
"What an interesting way of putting things." He seemed to consider her statement. "I take it you thought you wanted to be a teacher, but now yoiu think you're being called to some other occupation. Is that corrrect?"
Was it? No, not exactly, but how to explain to the reverend without embarrassing herself?
"Occupation isn't quite the word I was thinking of, Reverend Broussard. I guess I'm trying to say I'm not sure if I am being called to an occupation at all."
He looked perplexed. "Then what are you being called to do, child? What is there to do if not work?" Pausing, a smile grew. "Ah, I think I see the dilemma."
The reverend nodded. "Indeed. You thought you were to teach children. Now - and perhaps I'm setting off in a direction you didn't mean to send me - you feel as though the Lord intends you to raise children instead?"
Stunned, she diverted her gaze. She hadn't thought of things quite that way. A houseful of children to raise - and to teach.
Ok, so I guess you're wondering how this applies to me. Well, I haven't had a job for several months, but even before that, I was feeling that the occupation I had trained for and was working in was not where I wanted to continue. My greatest joy came from the time I spent with children in the kids club that I am involved in as a leader every week during the school term.
But not just that, my dream has always been to marry and have children of my own. Everything I think about, I still come back to thinking that they would just fill a gap before it was my time to marry and start a family.
People ask me what I want to do now - now that I'm not working - but I'm not sure if they want the real answer, or they just ask to be polite, but really don't care whether I'm doing something I love, or just earning money to pay the bills.
In the very next chapter of this book, they mention the hymn 'What A Friend We Have In Jesus'. The main point of the hymn is to take things to God through prayer. So often I fall short, or forget completely to do that. So this book was a great reminder.
A wise friend of mine said to me today, that if we are in the place where we are constantly in the presence of God, then we are in the very centre of His Will, regardless of the activity we are engaged in (unless we are actively sinning).
Even after all that, it still leaves questions in my mind, "What now, Lord?", "When will I find the man that you have chosen for me?"
The difference between me an Cleo (the girl in this book) is that she had found someone that she loved, I am still waiting, and waiting, and waiting ...