One of the greatest blessings in this writing journey over the last three years is getting to know so many other wonderful authors. And then you get to be a part of those author's quests in launching their books out into the world.
Tabitha Caplinger is one of those authors! I read her book, Wolf Queen, last year and really enjoyed it. Now she's releasing a new book and I am a part of her street team, assigned with the mission to spread the word. Part of that assignment included the privilege of having her write a guest blog post.
A little about Tabitha: She is an ordained minister through Assemblies of God and pastors, with her husband, in House Springs, MO. If you're around her for very long at all, you'll hear her use her powerful mantra: POWERFUL, CHOSEN, LOVED, and NEVER ALONE--which I really love! Her new book, The Wayward, is releasing February 2023. You'll find more information about this story and how to preorder at the end of this post.
So, without further ado, here is Tabitha's blog post, and I hope it blesses you as it did me!
Threading It All Together
By Tabitha Caplinger
My mother crochets. With nimble fingers, she threads the yarn in precise patterns to make beautiful things. She’s tried to teach me and I’ve never been able to grasp it. But this isn’t a post about crocheting. That’s just the image that came to mind when Crystal offered me some ideas to fill this guest spot. I liked all of her thoughts and choosing just one felt impossible. So, I started thinking about how I could thread them all together. Could I weave those separate questions into one beautiful thought the way my mother weaves yarn?
I think I can. Not because the questions yield themselves to the task but because our lives are beautiful tapestries of threads being woven together by a master Maker. In the midst of the weaving, we don’t always see how it all works together, but it does.
A few years ago, I found myself feeling a bit tangled up. I grew up a pastor’s kid and was a pastor myself (and have been for 20 years now). I had this idea of what that life was supposed to look like. I thought I knew all the threads and how they twisted together in just the right way. But I had gotten thrown for a loop.
For about as long as I felt called into vocational ministry, I felt called to write. Can you keep a secret? My first book was a collection of essays for women in youth ministry which I self-published while having absolutely no clue what I was doing. It was a little bit of a mess. But I wrote it. And I felt good about it because I felt like part of my purpose, to know God and make Him known, was to write. Writing that book was an act of surrender and obedience that taught me so much. One major lesson was that I hated writing nonfiction books.
I write nonfiction things all the time; curriculum for our youth ministries, blog posts, sermons, and devotional companions to my novels. In short form, I don’t mind it mostly because I am passionate about God’s Word. But as far as whole big books with lots and lots of words? No, thank you.
But I still loved writing. And still felt called to write books. And I had gotten this idea for a story. I loved working on that story. So a new thread began to work its way into my life, this brightly colored yarn of fiction.
Here’s where the tangling happened. At some point, I came to believe the notion that pastors didn’t write stories. That it wasn’t holy or sacred enough. I know it’s ridiculous now, but I was twisted up about it for a while. Writing stories took time and a little voice was telling me that time could be better spent. It whispered that stories aren’t as important.
But the Maker is a master storyteller. Jesus used stories to teach. Stories can reach into the guarded, deep places of our hearts and minds and connect with us in soul-changing ways. The Gospel is a story. A true story of God’s redemptive plan for fallen humanity. It’s profound and beautiful.
One day, through prayer and a gracious conversation with the Holy Spirit, I came to see this fiction thread, not as competition to ministry, but as an accent to it. I just needed to let the Maker weave it as He saw fit.
He has. Writing stories has become a way for me to not only share the Light and Truth of the Jesus I follow with others, but it is also a way I connect to Him. It’s an act of worship. One, I believe He’s used for His Kingdom in places a sermon could not go. It’s been a beautiful surrender to His Lordship in my life.
The whole process has given me a different perspective on my life in general. I’ve come to see it’s not so much a linear path to walk as that beautiful tapestry I mentioned earlier. It’s all that I learn, my relationships, my experiences, and my purpose being knitted together into something more than I have the ability to see from my vantage point. But the Maker sees it. He knows what He’s creating in and through me.
It’s not just about the writing either. I think that thread gave me clarity to see all the ways He has been weaving something beautiful.
Threads of singleness when I wanted to be married.
Threads of marriage through hard seasons.
Threads of ministry that shifted or were cut.
Threads of parenting.
Threads of grief.
Threads of hurt and pain.
Threads of plenty.
Threads of want.
Some are vibrant and others dim. All require submitting to His will and way. Surrendering to His nimble fingers and grander vision isn’t always easy. Sometimes it comes with waiting and doubting and stretching. But it’s worth it in every season and with every thread. One day we will see it from His vantage point and we will know the beauty lovingly woven with all the threads…even the ones we don’t understand right now.