Monday, June 10, 2013

Writing What Was Given: Then Discovering it was True, by Paula Rose Michelson

Many Christian authors, I’ve known site Psalm 45:1, “My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king: my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer,” as God’s call upon their heart. This is true of me as well. Yet saying this does not show the depth, breath, and magnitude of what is given up along the way, or the blessings we receive as we labor in God’s vineyard. Though I write about my experience, I think each person’s journey of being set apart to serve is, in some way, like this for in answering Gods call, we are changed, our focus altered. Some may think I am making too much of this, but those who are walking to Emmaus with Messiah know that whatever is done for the Lord requires an undivided heart. And that, my friends, is where the concept of “Writing What Was Given” comes from.

Writing what was given, and Then Discovering it was true, sounds like fiction. Yet that is exactly what happened to me when I wrote Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing Books. Though this may sound odd to some, I must share that if the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) had not told me to refrain from editing what I was given; my natural inclination would have taken over, and I would have eliminated portions of the text where I wrote about places I had never been to and others I had not seen, or heard about. Likewise I might have tried to appear obedient while researching to make sure that such-and-such place did, in fact, exist. However, I am rejoicing as I write this because having heard that I was to leave my writing alone, I did as I was instructed! I would love to tell you it was easy to do…allow God to mold me into a scribe for Him. But many nights, sleep eluded me because I had written about Ellis Island, a neighborhood, or a park that I had never been to, or seen a picture of. Leaving what had been written alone was the most difficult instruction that I had ever been given, but, with God’s help, I did it! Thinking back on this now, I realize that I relied on Gods promise in Zechariah 4:6 where the Lord God Almighty says, “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit.”

A year passed, then another. I was writing book four by the time Ron and I began to worship at Congregation Ben David in Orange, California. A chance conversation while standing in line at the Oneg (potluck) after worship gave me an eyewitness account of the validity of all I had questioned but left alone within the pages of the Casa Saga novels, when Thomas, who had graciously offered to spoon some casserole onto my plate, asked me what I did. What followed was an amazing discussion during which he told me that the park in Spanish Harlem, I’d written about does exist, the ferry to Ellis Island has two levels, and the ferry docks at a wharf just as I had written.

By now, Thomas and I were fast friends. Although we had not sat down, I was reaching into my purse to fish out my card hoping we could meet and continue our conversation. While I did this, I was asking if he were available for lunch during the week. Imagine my surprise when the gentleman standing behind me began to ask me some questions about my writing. I answered each one, followed Thomas and my husband to a table, and set my plate down. I scanned the throng, saw the soft-spoken man, waved, and hurried towards him hoping he did not think me rude. When I reached the table he was seated at, I realized that Melanie, a new friend of mine, was seated by him. She introduced me to her husband, Rod. Rod smiled, asked me several unusual questions about my reason for writing, about the people I was writing about, and what I hoped to achieve. Our discussion ended, I turned to leave, thought a moment, turned back and asked if he was bookish since he was wearing a tie with books all over it, or if he loved to read as much as I did. He smiled at me, told me that he was The Dean of the Library at Biola College, and that he wanted the Casa Saga for his library! I could not believe my ears! Biola and Talbot Theological Seminary share the same campus and use the same library! Before I knew what I was doing, I asked him why the library would want my work. Rod explained that the library brought in specific works to build up awareness and support the authors. His answer brought a smile to my lips; still I found it hard to believe that my novels would grace the libraries shelves. 

My journey from writer to author began when I believed that God fashioned, chose, and used me for his purpose. If you are wondering about or struggling with your journey, you might like to reflect upon the words that encouraged me to yield all.  Luke 17:5-6, The apostles said to the Lord, Increase our faith! He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.”


  1. Inspiration is indeed a mysterious blessing. It was not the Lord but rather my rough and rowdy characters who dictated my BackTracker novels. Like you, I found out much later that what they'd told me was realistic. Gangs, drugs, firearms, and justice--they educated me well on matters which were quite foreign to my lifestyle! I do wish, however, that their dictation had been grammatically correct and of publishable quality. There were lots of edits and revisions (to the writing, not the story) before the books were released.

  2. Thanks for leaving this humorously insightful comment!