When I was twelve my best friend showed me the book she was reading. I had never heard of it, but it was a Christian fiction book. She offered to let me borrow it, but it was in the middle of a series and I knew I had to start at the beginning. So on my next library trip, I found book one in The Christy Miller series by Robin Jones Gunn.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that series changed my life.
I grew up in a Christian home and became a believer at a very young age. My parents took me to church, read the Bible, and taught me right from wrong.
But reading this series was different. It was about teenagers – people my age – who were really living for God. They prayed about decisions, studied the Bible for themselves, went on mission trips, and really loved Jesus.
That was different. Even though it was a story, they felt like real people to me. I watched them go through struggles, celebrations, and major life events. It gave me a real example of following Jesus in everyday life.
That spoke to my heart. God used it in my life to show me how to draw close to Him, not just to live with a list of do’s and don’ts.
After that I read more Christian fiction. More stories where characters trusted God in hard times. Stories where people came to know Jesus and follow Him. Stories where people found hope in the cross. And those books grew up with me as I read stories of teenagers, and college students, and adults.
I knew that those were the kinds of stories I wanted to write. Stories of faith and hope. Stories of light in the darkness. Stories of trust and belief in God.
I write Christian fiction because that’s what God has called me to do. Do I read stories that don’t have a faith-based story line? Yes, I do. Have I tried to write books without a faith-based story line? Yes, I have, but it didn’t work out. I spent a long time working on the outline for a book and it just wasn’t happening. I planned for it to just be a “clean, sweet” book. I struggled with that outline until The Lord reminded me why I write what I write. I put Jesus back in the center and the story fell right into place. So even though I think there is a place for those stories, this is my calling.
God uses fiction in my real life to teach me truths and to draw me closer to Him. In the Bible, Jesus used parables to explain things to people, and I’m certain He still uses stories to teach people today.
I pray that my stories will be an encouragement to those who read them. And just maybe someone’s life will be changed, the same way mine was.
What have you learned through fiction that has applied to your real life?