One of my favorite activities in grade school was when the teacher had us take various parts of different animals and put them together to create a new animal. Although I wasn’t good at drawing, I loved the creativity and all the “what-ifs” of this project.
What if an elephant had wings?
What if it had fins instead of legs?
What would that look like?
How would that animal move?
This enjoyment of merging differences has carried over into my writing.
– The Bible tells us there is a spiritual world that is equally present with our physical world. What does that look like? What if we could see and hear those interaction?
– God gave us our imaginations for a reason. Throughout the Bible, he used imagery and story telling to communicate spiritual truths. What if that’s what our imaginations are for – to better help us understand and function in our reality. What does that look like?
– What does it look like for a child’s imaginary world to interact with her real world? How might it get her into trouble? Could this be a good thing as well?
– What kinds of differences can I pull together? What would that look like? Would these differences always and only create conflict, or could they work together to create a more cohesive Whole?
These are the kinds of questions that often drive the ideas for my writings. Maybe, if I can search out the answers in the safety of imaginary worlds, I can better process and understand them in my real one.
The first book I wrote, Invisible Battles: the Quest for Hope, was a young adult fantasy novel that I was hired to write as a ghost writer (of sorts – I still got my name on the title page). Much of the spiritual interactions between the angels, demons, and physical beings was largely driven by some of my questions.
- What if we could see and hear angels and demons?
- What would that look and sound like?
- Would it be a good or bad thing?
- Why can’t we see them?
- How do those beings interact with our world?
- How does God interact with our world?
As I wrote that book, my faith and understanding of God increased. Where once I was afraid of the spiritual world, I came to view it as just another part of life.
This understanding carried over to my children’s book, Princess Lillian and Grandpa’s Goodbye. In this book, an angel stays close to Lillian’s side, communicating God’s peace, comfort, and wisdom.
While the spiritual piece was already in place, other factors weren’t. These questions stemmed from a deeply personal experience.
In December 2020, my grandpa had a heart attack and was taken to the hospital. My mom kept us updated. “He’s ready to go home,” she told us. A video she later sent us confirmed it.
I’ve never seen someone so patiently and eagerly awaiting his call into heaven. For his sake, I wanted him to go, even though the thought of it brought tears and pain to my heart. Shortly after watching the video, I sat down to process the bittersweet feelings of seeing someone I loved preparing to leave this world.
- Could you feel both happy and sad at such an occasion?
- How could I explain this to my young children?
- Was there a way to describe the reality of death in a way that wasn’t bad and scary?
- What would Heaven be like?
- What would it be like to see Christ face-to-face?
With these questions in mind, I turned on my computer and wrote the story, looking at it through the eyes of curious, imaginative child.
As a teacher, and now as a parent, the endless questions kids ask occasionally drive me nuts, for there isn’t always an answer, at least not an easy one.
As a writer, these questions inspire me to create new stories for the purpose of seeking out possible answers. For, what if there are not-so-difficult explanations to the what-ifs and other questions?
Princess Lillian and Grandpa’s Goodbye
By Jenny Fulton
Can two worlds exist at the same time?
Little Princess Lillian learns the spiritual world can interact with the physical. Imaginary is used to explain a reality, how heaven reaches down to earth as a young girl observes her grandpa awaiting his entrance into his eternal home.
How do you explain death and heaven to a child?
Led through a long hall in a hospital, Princess Lillian holds her mom’s hand.
An angel whispers comforting words.
In a deeply personal Native American Indian and Christian tradition, an intimate celebration of a loved one’s passing occurs as a family says good-bye to a man eager to meet his best friend, the King Above All Nations.
This book is a tool for child therapists, parents, or ministers to utilize for explaining what happens after a person dies.
About the Author:
Jenny Fulton is a wife, mother, children’s book author, YA fantasy author, blogger, and freelance writer with a B.S. in Bible, a B.S. in elementary education, and an endorsement in K-12 ESL. After graduating from Grace University in 2007, Jenny worked as a teacher in a variety of cultural and educational settings, both abroad and in the United States. She is a storyteller, a follower of Christ, and a seeker of truth.
An enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, Jenny grew up hearing stories from her dad about the supernatural workings on the Navajo Reservation. As a child, she collected angels and loved anything related to fairy tales.
Her days are now mostly spent raising her three young daughters (homeschooling two of them) and writing as much as time and opportunity allows.