For the past week, I’ve been struggling as I write my book with questions every first time author must ask.
“Am I doing a good job? Am I writing enough? Will anyone care?”
My mom, Frances Carroll, wrote several Christian books to help people. I’ve thought of her along the way many times since she died in an accident several years ago.
I called my sister a few days ago and asked her, “Did Mom ever talk about her frustration with writing? About deadlines or writing enough?” Mary Ann said, “I think when she wrote ‘Temptation’ she had some blood pressure problems.”
I suffer from the same horrible depression Mom suffered from, but like to pretend I don’t. My beautiful wife Allison has been here with me and I have been pouring my heart out to her as I write about broken ministers who have fallen and are looking for redemption. The entire time, I’ve been faced with nasty anonymous emails, terrible blog comments,and various other people who question my reasons for what I do.
For the last two days, I’ve been productive, but my heart has been weary. I knew writing was hard, but I didn’t know how soul breaking it was.
Tonight, on a whim, (a providential one) I went to the garage and got a copy of Mom’s book, Temptation: How Christians Can Deal With It. Allison and I read through it turn by turn for a bit. Then I got to page 106 and broke down and wept. It was published way back in 1984 and was the Moody Publisher’s Book of the Month. I was only 11 at the time, but I swear, the next few paragraphs were written for my brittle soul in 2011, July 4.
Here’s what my beautiful mother, a brilliant author who I can’t hold a candle to said:
“I’m just an average housewife and a child of God. I want to tell you what [Satan] is doing to me just for sharing these words in order to keep me from exposing him by the light of truth through Christ. He wants to render every Christian useless. In the past few weeks, there has been a most ungodly attack upon me and my family. My husband has had problems with his work; the children have been under attack at school; my health has been under constant attack. Satan wants us to think we can do little or nothing as individual Christian witnesses. However, nothing is further from the truth! I am not more gifted or talented than you, but I must share the message of Christ as God has laid it on my heart.
Satan has showered me with a series of physical problems. My blood pressure is sky high. The doctor has given me medication and is carefully watching my pressure. Six months ago I had no physical problems. Why now? What has changed is that Satan desires to cause enough discomfort so that I will turn away from my walk with Christ and give up writing this book. Even though I never desired to be a writer – in fact nothing was further from my mind – God convinced me that I must write. He knows I made a sincere commitment to serve Christ.
God gave me the talent and the gift to share my words in writing. He told me that I must share the Word of God in a manner that would be understandable to every reader. You see, I have no special training or education in the area of writing. But God has given me a gift to share His truth with those who will accept it in the same loving, giving, and honest manner in which He has put it in my heart. God impressed upon me that there are not enough Christians who are willing to give of themselves honestly and openly. In prayer time, He told me I must be genuine and believable to those who will read my words. God wants us to understand that we have not yet reached our fullest potential as Christians. he wants us to understand that there is some special task for us to do in His name. We must be about His work, now! We have delayed too long in seeking God’s will for our lives.
Frankly, Satan doesn’t like this message. He doesn’t want to let it out. He is fighting me with all the fury of hell. In fact it is hell thrown open in an effort to quench the Spirit of truth in the Christian. I feel anguish in my heart as I write. Satan cannot defeat you or me when we are in Christ. He is only bluffing! But God wants you, dear reader, to know this! Satan may cause some harm to my body, but he won’t defeat my spirit. I have many Christian friends who are praying for me as I write this study. The victory is claimed for Christ, and we shall press on.”
Thanks, Mom. I love you.
A lot of people ask what my mom would think of me now. I guess she’d tell me, “press on, my son.”