October 21, 2017

Issacharian Daughters – ID034

pdf of Issacharian Daughters – ID053 – click on link below for correct layout and photosid034.pdf

Monday, 16 April 2007

Dear Girls,

Interview with Sarah Clarkson

Sarah is the eldest daughter of the homeschool speakers and authors Clay and Sally Clarkson and Sarah herself is the author of Journeys of Faithfulness. I conducted this interview at the beginning of 2006 when Sarah was 22 years old.

Genevieve: Sarah, you have been homeschooled all your life. Can you describe this experience?

Sarah: Oh, I am one of those who loved my experience so I am very happy to! My parents’ philosophy was??whole-book ??, so from the very earliest days we were read to?? hundreds of books! My mom raised us with a love for reading. And we also traveled a lot because we grew up in the ministry. And so I got to see a lot of places as we were reading about them which was quite an experience. I graduated from homeschool after doing all the basic things, so that by 16 I could have two years to really focus on my passion which was writing. My project during that time was to publish a book, which we eventually did through the ministry. I just feel like my education of traveling and reading and just the way I was raised ??I just feel like I have been given such a gift with my education

The book you referred to must be Journeys of Faithfulness?

Yes!

You had that published at age 17?

I did!

Can you tell us what made you choose that particular topic for your book?

I think there is such a need for girls in the homeschooling community and also in the Christian community for encouragement. When I was about 15 or 16 I started searching for great Bible studies specifically for my age and for my genre of girls, and I was amazed at how little there was in the field. There were books like, My Life as a Smashed Burrito. And those were some of the highest callibre titles I could find. Or there were books which focused on things which I didn’t think were spiritual issues in my life, but were more cultural ??nothing that was for growing spiritually in God, walking in the Holy Spirit, getting character qualities ?? So my role models became books, much older books from around the turn of the century and also the Bible. So when I got to age 16 and was really desiring to write and also to encourage girls, and I had gone through a season of loneliness and knew many friends who had also been lonely and who just really needed encouragement. I thought,??You know, if women in the Bible are mentors, then they could be people who through books could mentor other girls. ?? So I decided to really study the lives of four Biblical single women: Ruth, Esther, Mary of Bethany and Mary the mother of Jesus and see what character qualities they had and how they were used by God in their young womanhood and singleness, and then to be able to model my life and to be able to give other girls models on which to build their single lives. That was the inspiration for Journeys of Faithfulness.

I have to say, I have had the same experience looking around for Bible studies for girls and that is why when I came across your book I was so excited. Now what advice can you give to other girls who are keen writers?

I think the first piece of advice to give is to read as many great books as you possibly can. A lot of people have come up to me and said,??What curriculum did your parents use to make you love writing? ?? And we didn’t use any curriculum. It was very much a life-giving, a very life-based approach. I read hundreds of books. I read C S Lewis. I read all the classic children’s books. You know, Little Women and Anne of Green Gables and too many than I could possibly name! As I got older I read classics and Dickens and Shakespeare and George Elliot. I think that seeing the excellence of writers like that first gave me the knowledge of what good writing was and helped me to have something to model my writing after and to really emulate. I would compare what I wrote to other passages and say,??Well, maybe I should change this. ?? So first of all my advice is read very widely. Then let me tell you what a mentor writer once said:??Every writer should write every day just to keep themselves in practice. ?? So I try to journal every day: journaling and writing stories whenever they came to me and character sketches. Also I just love to write about my quiet time. This would be good especially if you are wanting to do devotional writing. Just beginning to write what you learn from God or prayers on your heart is a good way to begin.

Did you have to rewrite your book lots and lots of time before it went to the publishers?

I had no idea what I was getting myself into! None whatsoever! I had no idea of the amount of work writing was. I think I had an idea of sitting in a window seat with a rainy day and a cup of tea writing down beautiful thoughts and then sending a manuscript away with a rose tucked in the string. In reality it was trying and searching,??Ah, how can I start this chapter! ?? and going back and cutting out most of it except for keeping the second paragraph and then re-writing that. And then I had an editor, and she made me re-write whole other portions. So I have no idea how many times the book went through re-writes, but it was many, many times!

And what we have is an excellent final copy which shows all the work which went into it! Well, I was wondering what doors or avenues the book has opened for you? In ministry or to talk to people?

First of all it has given me wider contact with other girls. Ministry is about coming into contact with people. So just the fact that more girls have read the book now gives me the ability to speak. I had some opportunities to encourage girls in a public way about this and to do some Bible studies and to speak to some small groups of girls. It has been very exciting for me. I have a friend just outside of Paris; she is a missionary there, and she is using it with her group of missionary kids in the area that she mentors. It is just exciting to hear about where people are studying the book, and I have begun corresponding with a lot of girls. I have heard so many stories. Being able to correspond with a lot of girls has been a surprising blessing, being able to share stories and encouragement and to hear what they are doing. And being able to share publically about it and seeing others respond as they say that it encouraged their girls. There is such a dirth of role models and Godly young women in our time that it has been exciting to be able to put myself out there as an encouragement to them.

And when you speak to girls and minister to them, what are the messages, what are the things on your heart that you specifically like to communicate?

Oh, there are so many things, so many passions on my heart! I think there is so much that I have been given in my family, and so some of my strongest messages I would love to give girls would be an understanding of God’s call upon their lives and how He comes into every area and how it affects their families and their femininity. I feel like we live in a culture that directly rejects almost every ideal that I would probably embrace or hold. I would really like to encourage girls to walk really closely with God, to pursue Him as the first passion of their life. And from that first starting point of having a daily walk with Him of learning what it means to be a disciple and to walk in the spirit and to search scripture every day, I feel like the next messages would be that I would love to teach about femininity and the importance of beauty.

Ok, so my deepest passions before God. From the first I think that there is very little understanding of true discipleship in our times. So from the foundation of really spending time in the word: I recently did a set of goals that I wanted to do, and one of them is that if I want to be a woman of God, I have got to be in His word every day. Just knowing it for myself and loving it. Once I have spoken on that and laid that foundation, I would go on to several things. One of them is the value of beauty. Women are created to reflect this as a glory to God. Beauty is not something that is valued by our culture. Or femininity. There is such utilitarianism. The modernism is so stark. I feel like the homes that women can create, the environments can reflect Godly beauty ??it is what I call incarnational living. We bring God into our hearts and lives and then literally incarnate His creation and His ideas and His beauty and His love into our environments, into our homes, into the books we write and the lives we live and the ways that we dress, the people that we talk to. Another passion of mine that I would love to give to girls is a love for learning and for books really. I would love to introduce people to some of the great ideas of other times. There is just not a lot of knowledge about it! I would love to speak some day about literature and just how richly it has blessed my life.

Would you like to talk a little bit about that now? Maybe tell us a little bit about some of your favourite books?

Oh sure! I am just passionate about the written word. I am a writer, so I am naturally just passionate about it. Especially during my lonely time. When people are so far apart geographically, to be mentored by great minds and to have friends and books have been such a companionship to me in my life. And such mentors. Some of my very favourite books are anything by C S Lewis, any of his fiction or non-fiction. I really love George MacDonald. I’ll do authors! It is much easier. I am always amazed by him. They are stories?? his novels?? but they really are theology at base. I just really love reading them because it is theology in story form. G K Chesterton. His books, Orthodoxy or The Man Who was Thursday. Anything by Dickens. Dickens had such a good insight into people’s characters and lives. I’m giving quite a hodge podge! Elizabeth Goudge?? a British author who I have discovered in the last couple of years. I love her portrayals of home. Oh, that is another thing I want to talk on some day: the importance of home and family! Oh! There are so many things!

My spiritual influence through books has been C S Lewis, George McDonald, Richard Foster who wrote Streams of Living Water and The Celebration of the Disciplines. Another spiritual author who I really love is Eugene Peterson. So many others, but those are some of my favourite authors in that list right there.

(…to be continued ??)

Next week Sarah talks about the role of daughters, marriage, beauty and lots more! See the Issacharian Daughters newsletter??ID034a ?? to read the interview I did with Sarah’s mum, Sally Clarkson. In New Zealand you can get Journeys of Faithfulness from Christian Education Services (www.cesbooks.co.nz). In the USA order from www.wholeheart.org.

For the Greater Glory of God through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,

Genevieve Smith

Issacharian Daughter

Notes:

I have sent this email to girls who have embraced a vision of victorious daughterhood as well as those who may be thinking about doing so (and even to some girls who may just like some encouragement regarding different areas of home life). Some of the girls are in the USA. Most are in New Zealand. You are welcome to forward this email on to others so long as you do so in its entirety. If you do not want to receive these emails please just send a return email to me stating that fact. If you know of other girls who would be encouraged by receiving these emails, feel free to forward the email to them or send me their email address.

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