by J. Thomas
“Children really like looking at pictures of other children,” Yevgeniya exhorts.
This is one of many tips she provides during our monthly accountability meetings. Yevgeniya is an accomplished poet, and I am an amateur writer. We both have projects we want to accomplish by Christmas.
“The bestselling books are about relationships. What people don’t understand is other people. Write about relationships.”
These were another set of exhortations. Along with “avoid getting one-star reviews on Amazon,” I appreciate the honesty.
Yevgeniya is a woman of her word. She’s not flaky. If we say we are going to meet once a month, that is going to happen. It’s a trust that we built over the course of a year.
By reading Yevgeniya’s poems, I see where that strength of character comes from. In her book, Christmas Child: Poems About Christmas and Motherhood, her journey mirrors the progression that Paul laid out in his letter to church in Rome.
He writes, “we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3,4.
Her suffering jumps off the pages in a way that cannot be captured by prose alone. We need art, music, dance, and poetry to capture the depths of the human soul when words fall short. I mourn and persevere with her during her season of pain and drought.
Perseverance is more than our response to the suffering of pain. It is our response to the suffering of spiritual drought – the endless season of waiting without any word from God.
It is in this crucible of waiting where God forges Yevgeniya’s character. She’s becoming a mother before she’s given birth. It’s all over the pages.
She’s becoming a mother before she’s given birth.
I’m so glad I met Yevgeniya through one of our church’s small groups. We have enriched each other’s lives. She kept me accountable so that I could finish my children’s book, The Daisybears and the Great Door.
The fact that we both finished our projects is really an afterthought now. Through the journey, we both grew in our heart-character. Heart-character is a term I use for our capacity to know and understand God. We observed the power for friendship and mutual agape love to lift us up.
Our containers enlarged. Paul continues that “God’s love has been poured out into the hearts through the Holy Spirit.” Hope springs forth from character, and we are not disappointed.
I’ve been doing a lot of solo writing over the last decade. Meeting with Yevgeniya was the first time writing became a true creative process for me.
I say that good ideas are like jokes. You may think that you have the best idea or funniest joke in your mind. You can cherish your amazing thoughts or make yourself laugh with your own humor. But you won’t really know if an idea is good or if a joke is funny unless you share it with another person. And even then, that is just one person’s opinion.
From Yevgeniya’s initial comments, I took my writing to pastors, moms, and their children. I opened my heart to the comments and criticisms of my peers. Each person shaped my thoughts and like so many books before me, the page for thanks and acknowledgments could be its own volume.
Who is the Christmas Child?
Who is the Christmas Child? It’s Jesus. It’s Yevgeniya’s son and it’s my daughter. But it’s me and Yevgeniya too. We met as adults with “very important things to do.” But as our goal was accomplished, our purpose for meeting ended. As with the friendships of our childhood, there is no purpose for friendship. We can meet to catch up, share prayer requests, or for no reason at all.
As I write on the dedication page of The Daisybears and the Great Door:
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us,
That we should be called children of God!
And that is what we are!
Christmas Child: Poems About Christmas and Motherhood by Yevgeniya Przhebelskaya can be purchased on Amazon here.
The Daisybears and the Great Door can be purchased on J. Thomas’s website Dry and Barren Land: Walking Through Spiritual Drought here.
Feature Photo is the cover design by Tracy Dunham
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