by Charis Joy Jackson
Once upon a time, I wrote a short story about a girl who wanted a Father because Father's are good at providing for their families and because the girl needed to be provided for. It was allegorical and fantastical in nature. The girl travels to Faerie and finds a Wish Box and wishes her father into existence.
I wrote it because I'd forgotten what my Heavenly Father was like as a Dad. I'd conformed to the world's idea and my relationship with Papa God was suffering for it. Especially in the area of provision.
It was winter in Alaska, and we were a couple weeks away from Christmas. I'd been lying in bed, complaining to God, when a sudden stirring filled me to write. It was already near midnight, but I crawled out of bed, and the comfort of warm blankets, pulled out a notebook and pen and began to write:
Ava watched the hail pound on the thin sheet of glass and wondered if the window would hold against the relentless assault. Far on the street below fairy lights danced in the storm, silent reminders of the Christmas season. Ava tucked herself back under the covers but couldn't lie still, the events of the day filled her young mind with worry.
Today, more than anything, she wished she had a Papa. The landlord had come and Ava heard him tell Mama that they needed to come up with this month's rent by next Friday or he’d be forced to have them evicted. She’d seen the look on Mama’s face and knew unless there was a miracle, they would be spending Christmas on the streets.
Within a short time, The Fairytale Child was finished, and I settled back under the covers, escaping the chill of the room, and fell into a deep slumber. Dreaming of my story and the revelations God had taught me in those wee hours about Him being a Father, especially one who provided for His children.
All this happened about fifteen years ago now. Strange to think I'm on a similar journey, and needing, yet again, another reminder that Papa God is a good provider. Funny how we sometimes have to learn things over and over again. I think that's why Jesus told stories because we can read them again and again and glean new lessons each time.
Other than reading The Fairytale Child aloud to a small group of women about fifteen years ago, who wept and thanked me for the powerful words, this story has been buried under a mountain of snow, aka - lost in a digital field of white and blue folders in my writing files.
That is, until one Australian winter day ...
At the beginning of the year, God spoke to me about 2019 being a year of renewing hope. Renewing my understanding, giving me hope for the Big Story He wanted, and still wants, to tell with my life and pushing me to join the adventure of hope by joining the world of indie publishing.
So, I toyed with the idea of releasing my novel, The Rose Of Admirias, as an indie author. But as I researched how to do this, I was soon lost in a world of new vocabulary and technology. And overwhelmed by how much editing my novel still needed. The whole process became daunting. Terrifying. And I found excuse after excuse to not follow through.
But Papa God was whispering to me, telling me to be brave. To hope for the future He had for me. Reminding me of little Ava and the terrifying adventure she faced one lonely Christmas.
Then a friend of mine released a short book as a means to gain more readers before they release their book next year. Something about this stirred me to action, and the next thing I knew, I was piecing together a collection of original short stories to indie publish. And Too Bright: And Other Stories Inspired By The Dreamcatcher's Journal was born.
The Fairytale Child found a new home. A new place to shine.
As I began to edit the collection together, I was reminded of the lessons learned along the way. Co-creating worlds and characters with Papa God, weaving space operas together alongside high fantasy. Each story a creation, each story inspired by life lessons. Especially little Ava's.
The Christmas season is one filled with joy and celebration. But life's obstacles don't wait for holidays to come and go before bringing trouble, and for many, this season will be filled with hardship, tears, and heartache for the closeness of family, among other heavy burdens.
While it would be easy to allow the weight of uncertainty pull us down, we can find hope in the stories around us. Whether that be in creating a new short story, novel, or watching a film. We can look for God in every word and ask Him to teach us the important lesson Ava learned:
That night after Mama tucked her in, Ava thought of Papa and his promise to take care of them. She smiled, knowing he'd shown up today. He really was faithful.
Perhaps it's because it's the holidays, but I'm reminded of the hardships another family endured long ago. A small family who shared the warmth of a stable, while a chorus of angels sang of Papa God's provision to the world. Despite their difficulties of having no room after a long journey, I like to think Mary and Joseph, still smiled and rejoiced while shepherds came and angels sang.
Only God knew this story would end at a cross, and yet He still sent his angels to sing, still planted a star (a thousand years in advance to that day) to shine for wise men to come and celebrate the birth of the King of hope.
Whatever you face this holiday season, whether it's the joy of being surrounded by family or pushing through a season of heaviness, I hope these glimpses of stories, some true and some inspired by true things, help you find new hope and new reasons to rejoice. And new stories of your own. Imagined and dreamed and created with the Creator. Because through the thick and thin Papa God is right there and always will be, a faithful provider who gives good gifts to His children.
Charis Joy Jackson works as a full-time missionary with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) in Queensland. During the day she mentors young adults, teaches on several topics including worship, intercession, and how to makes movies. In her spare time, she spins stories of speculative fiction and captures her crazy dreams in print.
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