Follow the Spirit: A Testimony by Author Anne Perreault

My name is Anne Perreault. I write Christian fiction in order to encourage and strengthen each other. 

Stories! 

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To me there is something magical that happens when I allow myself to enter into one. I know exactly what I’ll find. It is a world of order, where I know the outcome is going to be happy. Books mean calm when everything around me can explode into chaos. I found that so true as a young child, when I would rather have my nose in a book than play outside with my friends. I even began to let my imagination roam during the night, a time usually filled with fear.

 Stories kept my nightmares at bay. 

God touched my heart when I was young, but it took a long time to really understand what He had done for me. 

As I grew older, tales occupied my mind most of the time. They became the refuge I needed. I was never going to be a writer. I discovered that early on in my life. I recall one specific time, when our assignment was to reproduce the story of Macbeth in modern times. I was so proud when I set it to the tone of Dallas, a TV show my family and I enjoyed watching. Apparently my teacher wasn’t too impressed. I didn’t mourn the passing of ‘my’ plan. After all, I knew that something better waited for me. 

With the passage of time, the stories in my head became my constant companion. During my second year at boarding school I experienced what probably was the darkest moments in my life. I missed my family, missed my adventures, and found myself lonely and alone. God came into my life again, this time talking to me in a more mature, grown up manner. But another story began to form in my mind that satisfied me more than God could at the time. When I visited my characters, I was able to forget the troubles of my present situation. 

I was no longer empty or lonely. 

This particular story stayed with me into adulthood, as I met and married my college boyfriend. It was my constant companion during the difficult times of raising a family, learning to be a wife and mother, and dealing with life. I also began to understand what Jesus had done on the cross and accepted Him as my Lord and Savior. 

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As my relationship with my Lord grew, He began to nudge me into an uncomfortable situation. He wanted me to stop visiting my secret hiding place. At the time I was not aware that I used it as an escape, a crutch. We had several words about it, and it was too difficult for me to leave my imaginary world behind. I went through a period when all I could do was stay in that world of make believe, where everything turned out just fine and I knew what would happen next. Once I came out of this dark period, God sat me down again and demanded I leave my imagination where it belonged. At the altar. 

Little did I know that He had a reason. The two years that followed were even harder than the period of darkness, and I had to manage it without the help of my husband, who was called into the desert (literally) to deal with his own baggage. During this time, I managed to cling onto the Lord, who truly became my everything. I no longer had a need for imagination. I could no longer go into the world of make believe to shut myself away from my family because I was needed more than ever. I could no longer hide but had to face the reality of life. 

I later on came to understand how good God is. Once my husband returned to our family, we made plans to move, to build a house. There was no need for my imaginary crutch, because I had something much more substantial keeping me going. I had God! His guidance was so strong, I felt it in my heart every moment of the day. It was an amazing time.

 I had started to write a story for my daughter years before. Being a homeschooling mom, I was disgusted at the choices of reading material I had available for a young, Christian girl. I wanted something that encouraged my daughter in her walk. I recalled my ability to spin a pretty good yarn and started writing. It took me twelve years to finish it – I lost it, the computer broke, I erased it because I was disgusted with it, and so on. You get the picture. When I was done, I remember closing my laptop and feeling kind of sad. I also asked the Lord, “Now what, God?” 

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Let me tell you: unless you expect an answer don’t ask. To say I was surprised when He answered back would be the understatement of the year. I almost fell out of my seat. I remember my heart racing so fast when I realized what was happening. His answer was, “Write the story.”

 Thus began a time of fierce battle going back and forth. It started with me going, “Nanananana, not listening,” in a very mature manner, to finally explaining my position to God. I couldn’t go back to this story He was urging me to revisit. He had asked me to stop and I felt that going back would open me up to using my imagination as a crutch again. I had come so far in twelve years.

 I finally had to leave it in His hands. I agreed that I would write only if God put a neon sign in front of me, affirming that it was from Him. When ya ask for a neon sign be prepared to find one. I was at a woman’s retreat when it just stood out at me. The theme of the guest speaker was ‘Write your story’. I surrendered myself to writing, and God hasn’t stopped giving me stories yet. 

I found a different kind of refuge in writing. When I finally agreed, the Lord met me on every page I was pouring myself out on. I often compared myself to others in terms of… everything really. But mostly I didn’t think I had a creative bone in my body. He showed me that He is the Creator. I’m His created, thus my creativity is different from everyone else. I’m unique in it. I thought that was pretty neat. We delved in much deeper than that. I had some major issues of mistrust and we addressed it. I love my characters. God showed me through this writing process, that He loves me ten thousand times more. Me!!!! He has a very particular place in His heart for ME, a wonderful plan for my life. And just like I knew the outcome of the story, He knows the outcome of mine. And it’s going to be okay. He’s got it all under control.

 When my character was in a terrible storm that threatened to sink the boat, I kept on thinking, Just hang in there. Two more pages and it’ll be all done. God whispered the same words into my heart. The storms in our lives are temporary. And He’s with us, weathering them side by side with us. That gave me a moment to pause and linger. After I wiped a tear or two, I forged on. 

God has showed me His character when I sit down to write. In turn, I’d like to present it to my readers. I don’t want them to go through life thinking that all is lost, that they are alone. Because they aren’t. The Lord has sent me down some pretty tough stories to write. At the heart is always that He’s there. No matter what.

 I was moved by something a friend told me. She’s not a Christian… yet. She bought my book out of love for me and found herself super surprised when she was finished. She said that she can believe in the God I presented in my story. It’s not about doing the right thing. It’s always about the heart.

 As Christians, or even writers, we don’t know how we influence someone. I hope that I can encourage everyone to keep writing, keep being creative. God has made us that way.

 Let that be your inspiration.

Anne

About Anne Perreault: Anne was born and raised in Germany. She moved to Dubai by the time she was 14. After meeting her husband, she settled in Connecticut, where they raised a family. Anne was a therapeutic riding instructor and has her Masters in education. God used her love of stories and inspired her to write to encourage others. She and her husband now reside in Vermont, where they are building their house. Visit her at Into the Light Fiction.

One thought on “Follow the Spirit: A Testimony by Author Anne Perreault

  1. I can relate to every word you wrote. Every. Single. Word. When I finally realized that the wilderness was there to prepare me for the storm… Writing is cathartic.

    I laughed with the voice of God in your head, and the nanananana… and the neon signs. Because they happened to me too!

    Thank you Dianne and Anne for this post.

    Like

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