Monday, March 17, 2014

An Empty Vessel and a Tree by Connie Almony

Connie Almony
Happy Monday, writers. Annette here. We Christian writers have the grace-filled benefit of walking out our calling with God. I'm always moved when I uncover God's wisdom in my writing, especially since I couldn't plan it better than He does. (I think He designs those little surprises for us!) Our guest today discusses that very occurrence in her writing. Enjoy and happy writing!

An Empty Vessel and a Tree 
 by Connie Almony

Do you ever have those Holy Spirit moments where you know you’re on the right track with your writing? It’s a wonderful feeling as the Holy Spirit flows through your fingertips onto the page. But there’s another kind of experience that’s even more powerful than knowing it as it happens. It’s when you read your work later, to discover the gems He left behind. That’s when you know you are being used as an empty vessel of the Lord. And there’s no greater feeling in the world, because the emptier you are of yourself, the more room you have for Him. 
 
Recently, while writing the last scene of my novella, At the Edge of a Dark Forest, God gave me one of these revelations of His presence in my life. 

I’m a stickler for accurate pacing in fiction. So when Carly, my female protagonist, is going through the forest to meet Cole, my male protagonist, for the first time in months, I wanted to slow the pace of the journey just enough the reader feels Carly’s nervousness about seeing Cole. I wanted to stretch the distance to heighten the suspense of what she’d find. So I added lots of details of the woods she traveled and thoughts of past moments there. 

I asked myself, “What would she be thinking?” 

She’d be thinking of the tree her father’s car hit when he meant to commit suicide. That was the moment where Cole and Carly’s two worlds intertwined. 

“What would the tree look like now?” 

I typed the answer, “New growth in broken spots and animals finding shelter in the holes.” 

I wrote the meeting of the characters and ended the story. Phew! It always feels good to type “The End” even when there are edits to make afterwards. So I read through the scene several times, clarified points, elaborated on ideas and … 

Then it hit me! 

New growth in broken spots and animals finding shelter in the holes. 

Wow, God! 

That phrase, unbeknownst to me as I typed the words, was a perfect metaphor for Cole’s story. You see, Cole is a double amputee after having been injured from an IED in the Iraq war. Carly came into his life to provide him with her prototype prosthetics and train him to use them. 

New growth in broken spots … 

But that was not what shocked me. It was this … 

… animals finding shelter in the holes. 

Could the metaphor be more perfect? I sobbed at the realization, because I had nothing to do with its use. It was all God … when I wasn’t even looking. There’s nothing more extraordinary then being an Empty Vessel of the Lord. Thank you, God! 

Oh yeah, if you’re wondering how the animals finding shelter in the holes relates to the story, well, there’s only one way to find out. *wink*

~~~~~ 
At the Edge of a Dark Forest

At the Edge of a Dark Forest 

Cole Harrison, a war veteran, wears his disfigurement like a barrier to those who might love him, shielding them from the ugliness inside. He agrees to try and potentially invest in, a prototype prosthetic with the goal of saving a hopeless man’s dreams. 

Carly Rose contracts to live with Cole and train him to use his new limbs, only to discover the darkness that wars against the man he could become. At the Edge of a Dark Forest is a modern-day retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Only it is not her love that will make him whole.

~~~~~ 


Connie Almony is trained as a mental health therapist and likes to mix a little fun with the serious stuff of life. She was a 2012 semi-finalist in the Genesis Contest for Women’s Fiction and was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Winter 2012 WOW Flash Fiction Contest. Her newest release, At the Edge of a Dark Forest, is a modern-day re-telling of Beauty and the Beast about a war-vet amputee struggling with PTSD

You can find Connie on the web, writing book reviews for Jesus Freak Hideout, and hosting the following blogs: InfiniteCharacters.com and LivingtheBodyofChrist.Blogspot.com.

If you’re so inclined, follow her here …

7 comments:

  1. Connie, thanks for sharing such a personal experience. I wonder if many readers (who aren't writers) ever imagine what a blessed learning experience we writers have in creating our stories. I'm reading AT THE EDGE OF A DARK FOREST and am enjoying it!

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    1. So glad you're enjoying the book, Elaine. Yes, writing is a blessed learning experience. God has shown Himself in ways I'd never acknowledged before I started.

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  2. Hi Connie, wow, what an amazing God moment...seeking shelter. We are in the midst of a family crisis at this moment so your metaphor really resonates today. God's arm sheltering us with peace, care, and love is surely the way to envision my day!

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  3. Tanya, so glad God connected His metaphor to your needs. He's very good at doing that. And for us, the best part is watching His mighty power work around us. Even when we don't see Him, He is hard at work. I'll be praying about your crisis. God is already there!

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    1. thanks so much, Connie. All this is really helping!

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  4. Oh Connie, I think we all desire to be used by the Lord. What a blessing you have been.

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  5. I love it when that happens in my writing too. I always get tears when I discover God's work amongst my words.

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