How A Character’s Journey Can Change Our Hearts As Writers

Photo by jan-willem

Photo by jan-willem

Starting a new book often brings me face to face with my own faith challenges. It seems like God uses my characters’ journeys to encourage me to dig deeper into an area of my faith that too happily skims the surface.

This new book is no exception.

Enter stage left my character, Paisley. Paisley is a cancer survivor who hasn’t exactly had a fair shake in life. Many people in her life have told her all of the reasons why her struggles are her own fault.

Paisley doesn’t believe it for a minute. She believes that life brings difficulty to both the good and evil (Matthew 5:45). Still, it is hard to accept that she continues to face one difficulty after another.

Her struggle reminds me a bit of a quote from the heroine in the movie Twister who lost her father to a tornado when she is just a girl. Here is what Jo says, “You’ve never seen it miss this house, and miss that house, and come after you!”

Paisley feels just like Jo. She knows that bad things can happen to everyone, but it didn’t happen to everyone else. It happened to her. Her cancer is at last in remission, but life isn’t done throwing challenges her way.

Paisley is left to ask a Job type question. Will it ever stop? Will God draw the line when she reaches the breaking point, or will she be crushed?

“Will You torment a windblown leaf? Will you chase after dry chaff?” ~Job 13:25

I have asked this same question many times. Have you?

Paisley demands an answer, of course. She sent me on a quest to reread all of the book of Job and God spoke to my heart through the heartache of Job.

Paisley’s question, Job’s question, my question are much the same. We may have all faced different heartaches, but it is human nature to want to find meaning in our struggles.

There are so many layers to Paisley’s answers that I could never include them all in one blog, but one verse stands out.

“A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness He will bring forth judgement.” ~Isaiah 42:3

What other verses do you know that help answer Paisley’s questions? 


About Michelle Lim

Author Michelle Lim is the Brainstorming/Huddle Coach with My Book Therapy Press and the Midwest Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. Michelle’s romantic suspense is represented by Karen Solem of Spencillhill Associates and has gained contest recognition in the Frasier, the Genesis, and the Phoenix Rattler, winning the Genesis in 2015 for her genre. Michelle writes devotionals for The Christian Pulse Online Magazine and Putting On The New. Since her nonfiction book release, Idea Sparking: How To Brainstorm Conflict In Your Novel, through public speaking and online chats Michelle helps writers discover the revolutionary power of brainstorming to bring new life to their stories.

7 thoughts on “How A Character’s Journey Can Change Our Hearts As Writers

  1. Love this about your character. She might think about another Isaiah verse–12:2. Surely God is my salvation. I will trust and not be afraid.

  2. I love that character’s name.

  3. I’ve always been struck by James 1 where he describes our trials and testing producing faith, endurace and making us perfect and complete and then later in vs 17, James says “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” (NASB) Are trials perhaps a gift because God wants us perfect and holy? I’ve struggled with this in my own life and keep going back to that concept though. I had the pain and suffering of this world and at times it seems opposed to the goodnes of God. But what if the work He does in and through that IS His goodness? I don’t have it figured all out yet, and sometimes whine against it, but I do have this comfort. I don’t walk this path alone and I don’t know how people, without Christ, can survive the struggles of this life without Him!

    • Michelle Lim says:

      Susan, you are so on track with my study in Job right now. I am hoping to answer a few of these questions through Paisley’s journey in my next book. I love the song, “Blessings,” by Laura Story. It captures some of these thoughts, too. Thanks for sharing your heart with us.

  4. Gail Helgeson says:

    Pat’s verse hit me …”TRUST and will not be afraid”….I can’t get away from my word…seems God is going to get me to TRUST him even if I kick and scream the whole year! I have read more than once in these past weeks that maybe God uses writing to heal me and that is the whole point. Maybe my writing is to get me closer to Him. I am starting to understand that. Great blog as always Michelle. Blessings to you.

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