Jill Nutter/Jillian Kent

Secrets of the Heart, The Ravensmoore Chronicles, Book One is Jillian Kent’s debut novel that released in May 2011. Jill is fascinated with human behavior and how our minds work, and understands the mind, body, and spirit connection. She is a full-time counselor for nursing students and possesses a masters degree in social work. Jill is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors and is passionate about mental health and wellness and stomping out the stigma of mental illness which is evident in her novels. You can reach her at jill@jilliankent.com and explore her website at www.jilliankent.com, and the website for the national alliance on mental illness is http://www.nami.org/

The Well Writer
Jillian's guest this month: Pepper Basham

Life As A Manuscript

Pepper BashamOur lives are stories penned by the Master Author. Tales of adventure, heartbreak, battles, hope, tragedy, love, and even the mundane moments of the everyday end up as part of who we are: our stories. Whether we’re a novella or a trilogy, our lives are tales of God’s work in the epic narrative of His redemption.

Right now we’re works in progress. I’d hazard to admit that most of us aren’t even close to publishable yet. In our draft form our characterizations might be underdeveloped. Our internal motivations are possibly too vague. Too many extraneous words or scenes keep us from our purpose.

We need editing, possibly revisions, but definitely a touch from the Master Craftsman.

And that’s exactly what we get. After all, if anyone can make something out of nothing or who masters in new creations, it’s God. As the Author of our souls, He takes extreme care to create, write, edit, and polish the stories of our lives in such a way that we glorify Him and inspire others.

From our beginnings, our infant thoughts and actions are honed as effectively as our words to build personalities. The influences of the people in our lives, the situations, the joys and sorrows, and, yes, even those character-building conflicts all weave a thread of purpose to develop who we are. God loves us too much to allow chance or haphazard circumstances to muddy His tale for our lives. He’s a Master Craftsman who is not satisfied with mediocrity but knows the full potential of his characters. So He bends over His proverbial notebook or computer, painstakingly fashioning life-stories to the smallest detail.

The perfect Plotter, He peppers each day, hour, and moment with gloriously planned opportunities to deepen character development. Each chapter, scene, and word serve as specific guides and shapers to help us battle the dragons, ride out the storms, sprinkle mercy or love through the fracture of heartbreak. Not one moment is wasted, because He knows the plans He has for us. “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Ps. 139:16 NIV). If that’s not an author statement, I don’t know what is.

As a draft, God carves away at our imperfections: slicing at superfluous pride and selfishness, changing our passive thoughts into purposeful actions, shaping a rhythm of His grace into the pattern of our souls so that His love is apparent on each page of our lives.

As authors we strive to grow our characters from the first page to the end; God is also using the scenes of our lives to mold us into the character of Christ. We’ll get hurt and hurt others, stumble, and even fail along the way. We’ll jump from the designated plans of the Author and shoot out on our own, complete with consequences and U-turns.

But just as our characters cannot flee the pages of our books, no matter how horribly wrong our choices become, our lives are still bound within the love of God and covered by His protective will. We cannot outrun it, break it, or stop it. We can’t mess up the pages so much that they’re beyond His editing power.

He began the story of our lives and He always completes what He starts. He will not allow us to go so far from His grace that He cannot find us again. He doesn’t toss us into the dreaded “forget me” drawer. Once He begins our stories, He diligently works to make us a masterpiece.

As we consider Christmas and how the story of Jesus’ birth was written in the pages of the Bible before He was even born, we can see how God’s Master Creation is reflected in our lives, too. With the same immaculate care and precision by which He planned Christ’s coming, He planned our stories. We are not aimless sheets of paper left crumpled on the floor. We are masterpieces, crafted by a passionate Storyteller so in love with His works in progress, He edits them until they’re fit for Heaven.

That’s right!

He’s in love with His characters, all sorts of characters! The classic characters, the bad-guys-turned-good, the slapsticks, the cowboys, the businesswomen, the nerds, the outcasts, the fallen, the think-outside-the-box ones, the silly ones, the quiet and the loud ones: every possible kind you can imagine.

And He finds joy in fashioning the perfect narrative for each individual.

As we revel in the joys of writing and create stories to inspire, remember that God rejoices over us.

Bound in the saving work of His Son, God is writing the ultimate story on the pages of our hearts.


To inspire others to find Him, just like those shepherds did over two thousand years ago.

The only happy ending (or rather, happy beginning) is found in Him.

Pepper D. Basham - Pepper is a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, mom of five, pastor’s wife, and university instructor. When she’s not sleeping, she’s creating fictional worlds where good defeats evil, laughter reigns, and adventure thrives. She won the Award of Excellence at BRMCWC in 2009, the inspirational category of the TARA in 2010, and is a double-finalist in the Genesis for 2011. She can be found causing mischief at her group blog, The Writers Alley, or at www.pepperbasham.wordpress.com