When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being a teacher. Whenever my friends would come over, we would play school, and I always had to be the teacher. To the point where my friends and I would get in little fights about it. I was too bossy and gave too much “homework” (Sorry Becky V!). I actually used to go outside and “teach the birds” after dinner. Teach them what? I don’t have a clue. But I got to yell at them when they were noisy. I can’t imagine what my neighbors thought of the little blonde headed girl that delivered their papers, standing out on her back porch after dinner, screaming at the trees. . .
I finally got my chance to teach one summer while working at a summer camp (which will most likely be the setting for my first young adult book, eventually.). Circle Square Ranch was a horse ranch deep in the country of British Columbia, and it was my home away from home. I worked there for seven summers straight and made life-long friends in both the campers and fellow staff.
One week I was scheduled to be barn staff, which meant I would be leading trail rides, teaching kids how to ride properly, and of course, mucking stalls and engaging in at least one manure fight at the end of the week. Best of all (or so I thought,) I would be teaching Horse Theory. I was excited, not only because in past years, the girls who worked in the barn had been the ‘in crowd’ of the summer staff circle (amazingly in spite of the stench that followed them . . . maybe it was that they cleaned up so well. No idea.) and I desperately wanted to be part of it, but also, I would get to spend my day with the horses, and not washing dishes as I wasn’t old enough to be a head counselor yet.
Then my first day of Horse Theory came. I was going to get to teach! Except that, instead of making up math problems for a friend to do, I had to get fifteen kids to memorize the parts of a horse, and a saddle and a bridle and . . . it was awful. So bad in fact that I admitted to one group (while I was being evaluated, mind you) that it was boring, and I was sorry they had to sit through it.
After that week, I swore off teaching for the rest of my life, and consequently couldn’t decide what I would do with my life and never ended up going to college (okay, there were lots of reasons why I didn’t go, but this was at the root, I believe. I do NOT regret this decision however, and if I had it to do over again, I still wouldn’t go.).
This February, I was at a women’s retreat in the mountains of Colorado with some of my dearest friends in the world and we were asked to think back and rediscover the dreams of our youth that the Father had planted in us. It didn’t take long for me to weed through all the rock star dreams to get back to my bedroom where I was bossing my friend Becky and giving her loads of homework. I mentally shrugged it off, but the Father persisted. “I’m not a teacher though!” I argued.
He brought to mind all of the things that I have learned in the past few years, about Him, about myself, about being a woman, a wife and a parent. He even took me back to some of the things I learned as a teenager, in my opinion, too late to save me from some less than desirable situations. I realized that when given the opportunity, I would get up on my soapbox and talk about what I had learned, in hopes that I could affect someone’s thought process so they wouldn’t have to live through some of the things that I had, or so that they could begin to walk in their freedom immediately, and fully embrace the truth about who God is. I realized that writing Stones of Remembrance had been an incredible learning process for me, and that when other women would read it, they would see what I learned about the character of God and how He created us. My book was a teaching tool.
After all these years of believing that I was a terrible teacher and no one could learn anything from me, I finally saw that where my dream had projected into teaching in a classroom, the Father had something totally different in mind. No, I will never teach school (or home school for that matter!), but I teach through writing, and maybe someday even through speaking on a stage. Who knows?
I was just about to say “It’s not that I think I have had some great revelation to pass on to the world,” but then I realized . . . yes it is! I’m not necessarily eloquent or well versed or schooled, but the Father reveals Himself to me, as He does to so many others. My outlet for what He speaks to me about is through the writing of fictional characters who are desperate for Him to show up. I may never write a Bible study course or a self-help book, but the Lord can speak through fiction and creative writing as much as He can speak through a donkey on a desert road, and I love that about Him!
So why do I write? Besides the personal satisfaction that it gives me (there is so much of it too!), I write to expose lies and to illuminate the truth about our freedom in Christ, about who He is as a Father instead of a Master. About how all He wants of us is to exist in His love and not worry about filling out a to-do list to make sure we get through the gates at the end of our lives.
I write because I am a teacher, and this is how I teach.