Please welcome this week’s guest Melissa Finnegan for The Journey. She answers the question: How have you seen God work in your writing journey?
As probably is the case with most writers the dream to write was planted in my heart at a young age, but for me it would be over thirty years before I heard God instruct me to write. That call couldn’t happen until I died to self and dealt with long hidden wounds from my childhood.
I can’t remember a time I wasn’t writing a story or making plays for my friends to perform on my front porch. In fifth grade I had a wonderful English teacher who had us write a story and then we could make an actual cover with cardboard covered with wallpaper. I felt like a real writer, proudly showing my parents my book.
As middle school and high school rolled around I began to read V.C. Andrews. Not something I am overly proud of, but I wasn’t walking with the Lord and had no clue what being a Christian really meant. I just loved to read. However, reading her books did inspire me to write actual novel length stories. In high school I wrote a four book series that will never see the light of day until I do some major rewrites and infuse the Lord into it. It was a beginning for me and later in my life I would remember that I can sit down and write hundreds of pages. I wrote those four books by hand. I did have an electric typewriter (this was the early ‘90s) but I preferred not to use it for whatever reason.
College came and I still wrote poems a bit but that was it. I was going to be a music teacher and didn’t really know how writing would fit into my life, or if I even wanted it to. I fell in love with the man of my dreams and focused on my future husband and our future life.
In 1998 I did get married and in 2000 I finally came to know Jesus as my Savior. You can read all about my journey to Christ on my blog (http://5020genesis.wordpress.com/?s=girl+meets+savior), if you’re interested. In 2002 we had our first child, a beautiful girl. My focus was on my family and my career. In 2006 we had a second child, our handsome son.
During these years I knew Christ but my brokenness from my past chased me and as hard as I tried to out run the pain it would soon grab me and drag me down into places I didn’t like but places I kept running back to.
Even after coming to know the Lord I struggled with my thought life a great deal. I had several emotional affairs and pride kept me from truly seeing my brokenness. I often blamed my sin on my husband, saying things like I never should’ve married him. I denied the fact that sexual and verbal abuse from my past could have any effect on me, even though the shame of sexual abuse haunted my thoughts whenever I allowed myself to think about what happen to me.
I do believe Jesus held out His hand of healing to me many times but I never actually took hold of His hand. I ignored His offer to help and turned to men to find my value and worth.
In 2009 my years of denial caught up with me when I fell into an affair. You can read the complete story here (http://5020genesis.wordpress.com/category/melissas-genesis-5020/page/3/).
This is when I finally died to self.
As God began to heal me and my marriage I dove into a new love relationship with Him, He opened my heart up once again to my love of writing.
One day as I was praying and in the Word I heard Him whisper so clearly, “Now you can write.”
I questioned Him, “Why now? Now when I have done this horrible thing?”
He answered by saying, “Now you know the pain my daughters endure. Now you can write from a place you never would have been able to before.”
The fire was lit and I was ready to start the journey. You can read a longer version of how that all come to be here (http://5020genesis.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/part-xviiii-a-whisper/).
The short version goes like this: I signed up for the apprentice program with the Christian Writers Guild. I loved every part of that class. I started submitting articles and have had several published.
Later I started working on a novel that was a lot more work now that I knew the “rules” then when I tried writing in high school. The novel is finished but still undergoing deep edits. I have also started a blog, as I have mentioned, that God continues to grow with more readers every month.
Most recently I have contributed to two books, writing short stories and devotions. The first one is Sweet Freedom with a Slice of Peach Pie www.amazon.com/Sweet-Freedom-Give-Glory-Book-ebook and the second is Sweet Freedom a la mode www.amazon.com/Sweet-Freedom-Mode-Give-Glory-ebook. To this day I don’t know why Jennifer Slattery asked me to be a part of The Sweet Freedom series. I only had a small interaction with her at one time. What I do know is that God had to have His hand it and I am so glad He did.
When I think about the little girl who dreamed of writing and then the broken woman who was crushed under the weight of her sin I am truly amazed that God would use me to write and bring Him glory. And that’s what my writing journey is all about. If I’m not bringing Him glory I have no business writing. As I always say: my story for God’s glory.
Melissa Finnegan lives in southeast Michigan with her husband and two children. She writes for God’s glory alone and loves sharing Genesis 5020 stories. She is a member of ACFW, has completed the apprentice program with the Christian Writers Guild and has had several articles published including one with Proverbs 31. She has contributed to the Sweet Freedom (Give God Glory) series and continues to refine her writing as she works on her current novel. You can find her at: www.5020genesis.wordpress.com