As I ate a meal at conference last week, one of the men said something that made lots of sense: “We come together every year for these few days. We love the Lord and we love story. And that’s all we need to be community.”
He’s not wrong. We are a community that writes the stories with which God gifts us. These stories are touched with divine intervention to speak to a world that hurts and longs for God. These conference days out of the year are when we worship together, draw inspiration from one another, pray together, and share the stories. We also learn from those worthy words of wisdom spoken by seasoned writers.
Don’t misunderstand. Just because we’re Christians, the road isn’t paved with flower petals. Our books aren’t published because we’re Christians or members of ACFW. We still must work on our craft and be writers of those stories. Writing is hard work. Publishing it can be harder still. Marketing is excruciating for writers who by very nature are introverts who’d rather be behind the computer screen than in the public eye.
Why do it all? God gives the story. We must write down His inspiration. We hope as we write to impact the lives of those who read the stories. We write to impact people. People God loves who pick up a work of fiction and find His inspiration in the story.
Is there any better reason to write?
When I taught middle school, my classroom was filled with lighthouses. Inevitably some student would ask me, ”Why do you have so many lighthouses?” My short answer, depending on the time and situation, was, “Ask me after class.” The actual answer involves several ideas.
1) The purpose of a lighthouse is to guide ships to safe passage and to warn them away from the shallows and rocky shore. As an educator, part of my goals was the guide students into learning and keep them safe while doing so. Education is light for the future. Without it, my students would be crippled in their path to success in life. It was my job to hold that light of knowledge high. That reason is also why I was the sponsor for National Junior Honor Society at my middle school.
2) In John 8:12, Jesus said to the people following Him, “I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Those lighthouses reminded me that I never stood in that classroom alone. Come what may – storm, disruption, fire, shooter – Jesus would guide me in protecting my students and protect me as well.
3) In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus told his disciples, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bushel. Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.” Isn’t that what a lighthouse does? God put me in the classroom to be light in the lives of my students, to reflect His Light. The path of knowledge was important, but more important was the impact I made on their lives because I was His lighthouse in that classroom.
So, those three reasons were why my classroom was awash in lighthouses.That’s why I proudly go by the user name “tatumlight”.