by Linda Evans Shepherd @LindaShepherd
As I stared at a photo of a group of people I’d never met before, I knew their every name, I knew their personality traits, I knew their stories, and I even knew their secrets.
I was looking at a photo of the cast of actors set to play a stage play called “The Potluck Club,” a play based on a novel I co-wrote several years ago.
But even better, I soon got to meet this cast when I flew in for their opening night.
It was fun to see my ‘old friends’ in ‘real life’ so to speak. The cast was excited to meet me and Eva, my co-writer. The actors had a lot of questions, like, “How did you think of the character I’m playing?”
As Eva and I shared our character’s creation stories with the cast, they took it all in. A couple of hours later, Eva and I set in the audience as the old, familiar dialogues and scenes we once wrote in our novel, became human with faces and voices. It was an amazing experience to watch this drama unfold before our eyes.
And I couldn’t help but think of how God, watches over us as our lives unfold before him.
Novelists kid that the reason to write a novel is because it’s the only way that one can finally have control of their own little world.
This is true, writing a novel is the only time you can make others do and say as you direct. But if you’ve ever read a novel, you will also notice that the lives of fictional characters are fraught with fear, black moments and even tragedy. We novelists never let our characters live easy lives or skate on simple plot lines, for we know that boring plots are seldom read. The goal of every novelist and playwright, is to create characters who have ‘ah ha’ moments known as character arcs.
And sometimes I think this is true in real life.
As I watched the development of the plot of The Potluck Club, a story about the lives of six flawed church ladies, I could feel the audience judge them when the cast acted out those flaws. But then, as the characters grew and changed, so did the audience. As the characters begin to love and forgive, their love began to flow through the entire room.
This is so symbolic of how God, our creator operates. He seldom gives us, his characters, lives without difficulties. It’s through difficulties that we grow. It’s the only way we can have our own character arcs. But as we evolve, we learn to manage our flaws as we learn to forgive. That’s when we begin to feel, experience and operate in God’s love. For, through the work of his son Jesus, God forgives us, and teaches us to forgive others.
The night of the live stage premier, I felt so proud: proud of the actors who played our characters, and proud of our characters who blossomed before my eyes. God, too, watches us grow and develop throughout the story of our lives. We are growing into the people he truly created us to be: flowing and moving through obstacles under his divine direction, learning how to forgive and operate in his love.
And what’s the purpose? God’s wants our light to illuminate the way of others, as they work to transform and develop their own character arcs.
Isaiah 42:5-7 says, “This is what God the Lord Who made the heavens and spread them out and Who spread out the earth and what comes from it, Who gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk in it, says, ‘I am the Lord. I have called you to be right and good. I will hold you by the hand and watch over you. And I will give you as an agreement to the people, as a light to the nations. You will open blind eyes. You will bring people out of prison, out of the prison where they live in darkness.’” (NLV)
Enjoy the story.
About the author: Linda Evans Shepherd is the author of 34 books including Praying God’s Promises and The God You Need to Know. She is the CEO of Right to the Heart Ministries and the founder of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She’s the publisher
of Leading Hearts Magazine and Arise Daily.
The Potluck Club: In the small Colorado town of Summit View, a surprising multi-generational mix of women from Grace Church meet once a week to pass a hot dish and to pray. But the Potluck Club, as they call themselves, is a recipe for disaster when they send up enough misinformed prayers to bring down a church. And the funny thing: the more they pray, the more troubles seem to come their way. It isn’t until they invite God to the table that they discover friendship is the spice of life, and a little dash of grace, just like salt, goes a long way.
With charming, down-home characters, humor, poignancy, and a recipe in every chapter, The Potluck Club will keep readers hungering for more.
Join the conversation: Have you felt the accuser working to destroy your peace? What thoughts do you struggle to overcome?