I've always quite liked the story of Hansel and Gretel and their unique way of making sure they didn't get lost in the forest by dropping crumbs along the path as they meandered around. Although their original intention was to follow the crumbs back home themselves, in fact those crumbs became the means by which Hansel and Gretel's rescuers could find where they were being held captive by the wicked witch.
Over the last few weeks, I have felt a little like Hansel and Gretel; not laying crumbs behind me, but rather following a trail that has already been laid. Each crumb leads a few steps further, until I find another crumb to lead me further still. At every step along the path, God's leading and planning has been evident.
So what, specifically, are some of the crumbs I've found?
After the ladies tea I spoke at in June, I was invited to a similar event being held at another church in Durban. It was a lovely afternoon, with about 80 ladies present. The church team had created stunning table decorations and gifts from old books and pages, and even had a craft planned for us. We had a delicious tea and then I spoke for about 20 minutes or so about how we can choose to listen to God's voice through the His creation around us. Click on the 'Shine' picture to read more or listen to the talk itself.
In July, I was given a 10-minute slot to speak at Caragh's school's Moms and Daughters fun evening, and an opportunity to present 'Outskirts' there. It was a real privilege, and responsibility, as the school isn't specifically Christian and there were moms and girls from a variety of backgrounds attending. I trust that the small seeds I'm able to sow would land on good soil and be watered by the Holy Spirit in upcoming weeks and months.
August being Women's Month, there are a couple of ladies' teas I'll be participating in, one with our old church in Tongaat and the other at the Anglican church we are involved with. Again, I'm trusting that God would use me to inspire others to learn to listen to His voice as He speaks through the wonders of creation.
Perhaps most surprising of all, to me at any rate, has been my continued involvement with local Christian radio station, Highway Radio. I now have a weekly slot where I go through to the studio and chat about various topics, often of my choosing, with the lunchtime presenter, Malungi. Its a really enjoyable half an hour.
I have become a little braver about sharing my writing with others after receiving positive feedback by people who are currently reading 'Outskirts'. This has led me to join a few on-line writing communities where I can submit poems and short articles. It's quite a challenge, and a discipline, to seek God for His words on a regular basis, and then apply my mind and fingers to getting those words onto the computer. I have to say, I'm loving it!
'Deeply Rooted & Redeemed' is a ministry started by a young mom from Alabama who has a passion for the Bible. A few writers contribute devotional or inspirational content on a regular basis on topics of our choosing / the Holy Spirit's leading.
'Christian Writers of Southern Africa' is exactly what it says it is - a group of Christian writers living in or inspired by Southern Africa. It's wonderful for me to find other writers here in South Africa that I can learn from and network with.
'12 Poems in 12 Months' is a poetry challenge with a different topic provided each month. I thoroughly enjoy both the discipline and the creative exercise this brings.
'20 Years and Ex-pat' is my own personal story of life lived away from the land of my birth. Although I don't get to add to this too often at the moment, I did squeeze in an update on the anniversary of my arrival in South Africa, now 22 years ago.
Jesus says He will give streams of living water that will well up in us to eternal life, refreshing both ourselves and those around us (John 4). The more I find myself being given the chance to either speak or write, the more I realise how much it is the living water from Jesus that we are all thirsty for; not my clever words or concepts.
Feeling that I could only pass on as much as I have myself received, I decided to increase my diet of daily Bible reading. As such, I signed up for a YouVersion plan which prompts me to read 10 chapters from various different books across the Bible each day (the Professor Horner Reading plan). I won't say it's always easy to fit in to the schedule for the day, but I am really enjoying it.
I've also got a few other books and magazines on the go, all aimed at helping me develop as a writer. Technique and content need equal attention!
I had my first stall at the St Margaret's Winter Market (the Anglican church I mentioned earlier) on Saturday 13 July. It was a great morning, both for the atmosphere of the market itself and the experience it provided me. I sold a few books, but better than that had some wonderful conversations with people, especially when they stopped to look at the pictures I had on display. I also chatted about a possible future fundraising event with a charity here in Durban - will keep you posted on that!
I have a night market coming up at the end of July which is being held at Leal's school. This is quite a popular and well-advertised evening, so I'll be interested to see how that goes.
A lamp to my feet, a light to my path
I have no idea where the path I'm on, the crumbs I'm following, will lead me, but I do know that God has promised to walk with me, His word a lamp for my feet and a light to my path; a sharp, focused light shining on the next step or two to be taken; and a perhaps dimmer lamp so I can see a destination, but not its details. Quite an adventure.