Thursday, March 29, 2012

Gracious To Give And Receive

Welcome to Writers’ Corner. Do you believe March is almost over? Are you on track to accomplish the writing goals you set for the year?

In the past few weeks, we’ve discussed many technical aspects of writing. Today, I just want to take a few minutes to encourage you in your writing journey.

Taking the first step toward becoming a published writer can be scary and exciting at the same time. In His wisdom, God doesn’t unpack the entire process ahead of time because, like so many things in life, if we could see the whole process up front, we might not even start. However, this journey is necessary for our growth.

Recently, I spent time with an author who has twenty books published with more under contract. She asked me how long I’d been writing “seriously” toward publication and then shared it took her eight years to get her first book contract, after her first three manuscripts were rejected. The eight years were not a static time of writing. She attended conferences, received feedback from veteran writers, and learned everything she could to hone her craft.

We’ve discussed in previous weeks the necessity of receiving feedback to be successful. Believe me, this takes an incredible amount of gracious receiving. But, the biggest mistake a writer can make is working in a vacuum, expecting to get published, and unwilling to take constructive feedback. Yet some try it.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17.

Embrace the concept that we are all on the same team working toward fulfilling God’s plan for the Christian literary world. You remember the algebraic term: a + b = c. Let’s apply that to our writing careers.

Gracious giving + gracious receiving = success. Isn’t this what we’re all striving for?

The other half of the equation is willingness to help others. Let’s face it. Most veteran writers have way more work than they have hours in the day. Yet, most writers I’ve encountered are incredibly gracious with their time. Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. Gracious giving does not mean unlimited access or advice. Depending on the writer’s schedule, it may mean anything from simple encouragement to giving a critique of your work. If you’re fortunate enough to receive the latter, be gracious in receiving the feedback! While you’re under no obligation to agree with or take their advice, weigh it carefully before you decide to reject it.

The network created between the various levels of writers is an invaluable support group. No matter what stage you’re in, you need positive reinforcement. A few encouraging words can sustain a writer for days, sometimes weeks!

In closing, I’ll share one story of many about those supporting my work. Author and editor Gail Purath is one of the most gracious people I’ve encountered in my writing journey. She has published my work on her website, WOW-Writing On the Word, with more planned for the future. She could’ve easily stopped at sending the acceptance letter. Instead, she has generously supported my other writing efforts. This week, she listed my blog alongside a few big guns in the writing industry on her other website, Bible Love Notes. Check out this informative post for links to other helpful writing information. Thanks, again, Gail!

The bottom line is writers are blessed by God so they can bless others. Think about how you can bless another writer today. Never stop believing in yourself or the talent God blessed you with. If you haven't been published yet--that day will come.

Feel free to share how you’ve been blessed or blessed another in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have, as well.

If you’ve enjoyed Writers’ Corner over the past few weeks, would you consider subscribing to receive new posts in your email? The subscription box is on the top right-hand column. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Forgiveness and Prayer

Has someone ever betrayed you? Or maybe you’ve had a disagreement over something that seems trivial now? I think most of us can answer in the affirmative to one or both of these questions.

“They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.” Acts 15:39-41.

Paul and Barnabas were friends and colleagues. In fact, Barnabas came to Paul’s defense among the other disciples after Paul’s conversion to Christianity, recorded in the book of Acts. But as often happens, human frailties and personalities came in to play in their relationship. Acts 15 records their disagreement over whether or not Mark was reliable enough to accompany them in their ministry work.

By the end of Paul’s life, in his final letter to Timothy, he asks Timothy to come quickly and to “get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:11b.

Either Paul had regretted his strong stance, forgiven Mark’s past indiscretion, or Mark had proven himself through his ministry with Barnabas. The relationship had mended to the point where Paul asked for him, even as his own death was imminent.

Today, my prayer is for those hurt by broken relationships or sharp disagreements in their family or friendships. If you have a prayer request or would like to share a thought, please share in the comment section or email me, if you’d like it to stay confidential. Take a moment to pray for others' requests.

Please enjoy "Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us," sung by Todd Agnew, as you spend a few minutes in prayer.

Monday, March 26, 2012

My Father's Love

“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6:4-7.

Yesterday was my father’s 76th birthday. It’s difficult to imagine my father approaching 80, mainly because he’s so young at heart. He doesn’t believe in retirement, although he has scaled back his work hours in the past few years. Even at home, he’s busy with his garden, landscaping his yard, and studying his Bible.

I was fortunate growing up to have such a godly man as a father. Dad was the epitome of Deuteronomy 6:4-7. When someone loves the Lord as much as he does, it can’t be contained. Whether I was working alongside him in the garden or in his cleaning business, he easily talked about the evidence of God in the world around us. God’s love flowed through Dad. All you have to do is spend sixty seconds with my father talking about God, and you feel God’s presence.

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:14-15.

Dad taught us the value of work—and that the quality of our work reflects our character. Perhaps this is why even at his age, his phone still rings off the hook with people begging him to do something with their yards after letting other landscapers have a go at them.

Dad was not college educated. In fact, he dropped out of school and went into the military. He had a cleaning company for years before transitioning into landscaping. All of his children, at one time or another, worked for him. In addition to cleaning offices, we cleaned churches and the Jewish synagogue in Gainesville. I learned much about other denominations, as well as the Jewish culture and beliefs.

To lighten the workload on Saturday, we kids swept the massive amount of sidewalks around the churches on Friday. Then, sometimes on Saturday, Dad made us sweep them again. When we complained, he’d say, “You swept them yesterday because it was your job. You’re sweeping them today to show appreciation for that job.”

This standard of excellence followed him when he began landscaping full time. A few years ago, a sorority house at the University of Florida won the best yard award in the city. Despite efforts to get Dad to accept the award at the formal dinner and be celebrated with the other category winners, he declined. He urged the sorority girls to go in his place.

You see, Dad’s never worked for human accolades. He works for God, and thus, when Dad transforms unimaginative landscapes into works of art, you see God’s handiwork through my father. His thoughtfulness, care, and talent produce a masterpiece equal to Picasso or Rembrandt.

Only the hardest heart could spend five minutes with my father in discussion about God and walk away untouched. Dad doesn’t preach or witness with the salvation plan. He talks about God’s love. And this love flows through his voice and washes over you like a cool rain shower on a hot summer day. I sense God’s love and mercy through my earthly father.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Dad wasn’t perfect, and we kids rebelled like many others. Even in these times, he was faithful in his message and did what he felt was best. Was he perfect? Certainly not. But he was consistent in his message of love. He did his best to equip us by modeling God’s best for us, regardless of what choices we made. His integrity spoke volumes and we heard God’s message loud and clear through him.

There’s not any place I’d rather be than at my father’s knee receiving instruction and basking in God’s love. I praise the Lord daily for my Christian dad. And one day, he will stand before His Father in heaven. While Dad won’t be able to claim perfection, he’ll be able to claim consistency in impressing upon his children God’s love, mercy, and faithfulness.

No doubt, Dad will hear the words from Matthew’s Gospel, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”

Thursday, March 22, 2012

He Said/She Said

“The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.”~Vladimir Nabakov

Welcome to Writers’ Corner. I hope you’ve had a productive writing week, making your invisible words come to life.

Today, we’re going to discuss taglines. When I first started writing, the more descriptive the tagline, the better. Characters exclaimed, lamented, inferred, intimated, scolded, interjected, and yelled. Those exciting and descriptive tags were banished by editors who informed us such excitement detracts from our writing.

Hence, the he said/she said formula reigned supreme.

Within the last few years, however, fiction has trended toward no tags.

Or in the words of novelist Elmore Leonard: “I try to leave out the parts that people skip.”

Are you wondering how this could be accomplished? Here’s an example:

“Have some juice.” John extended the orange juice pitcher.
Brenda didn’t want juice. In fact, she didn’t want to be sharing a table with someone who had betrayed her. Besides, she hated orange juice. And he knew it. Probably the reason he offered it. “No, thank you.”
John thumped the pitcher on the table, sloshing the juice over the top.
“Now you’ve done it.” Brenda reached for a dishtowel. “If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a million times.”
“You’ve told me what?” John scowled over his forkful of eggs.
“Clumsy.” Brenda returned his scowl and reached for her fork. If she tried hard enough to ignore him, maybe he’d take the hint and disappear. For good.

Because I didn’t insert he said/she said tags, your eye skimmed over the story quicker, thus drawing you into the conversation better.

This example also ties in with my previous blog about hooking the reader. This could easily be used as an opening paragraph, and again, not much information has been given the reader, but that’s okay. The atmosphere has been created. The characters are in conflict. It’s a good start.

So, the challenge this week is—look at your WIP and see how many he said/she said tags you can delete and rewrite.

For a more in-depth look at writing without tags, visit award-winning novelist Gail Gaymer Martin’s website Writing Fiction Right. She’s my go-to guru for all things written.

If you have any suggestions for future blogs on topics you’d like illustrated or elaborated on, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Private Sufferings - Noblest Dreams

“It is in the quiet crucible of your personal private sufferings that your noblest dreams are born and God’s greatest gifts are given in compensation for what you’ve been through.”~Wintley Phipps

When I heard this quote today, I was blown away by the message it embodied. Deep within the quiet place of our soul—where our deepest hurts lie—God meets us. And sometimes, we experience His greatest gifts while dwelling with Him there.

We often have no control over the things that try to destroy us or our way of life. Living in a fallen world, Christian and non-Christian alike bear atrocities, hardships, and unfair life situations. Navigating through these situations, we have a choice. We can suffer and feel every nuance of the injustice, or we can meet God in our pain and allow Him to work it for our good or the good of someone else. In other words, focus on the eternal, not the temporal.

Touching others through my writing has been a dream of mine forever. I never could’ve imagined my greatest dream would be juxtaposed with my greatest loss.

My sister’s suicide seven years ago tops the list of most difficult situations I’ve endured. Not just because she died, but how she died. I’d lost several other family members in rapid succession, before and after her death, a total of eight close relatives within a three-year period of time. But Michelle’s death hit the hardest.

While you have no control over cancer, advancing age, or accidents—suicide seems different. Survivors shoulder the misconception that they could’ve done something to prevent it—yet somehow they missed that “something.” With God’s help, guilt can be minimized, but in our human nature, it still seeps into our consciousness, if we allow it.

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:6-7

God took my hurt and shaped it into an avenue to help others. Every time I write an article or devotion to share Michelle’s story, I get emails from people in similar situations—those who’ve attempted suicide themselves or those who’ve lost someone to suicide. Listening to their painful stories is surprisingly cathartic, perhaps because, in reaching out to them, it gives purpose to my loss.

The gift God gave me in writing has been manifested as a balm on others’ pain. It gives me immense comfort to know Michelle’s story has comforted others in their loss. My faith has been strengthened through this and other trials I’ve faced. My sensitivity, across the board, for those suffering has increased. I sense God’s presence more strongly each day and hope my writing reflects His glory.

God will not always wipe away our earthly trials, but He will meet you in that place of quiet desperation and strengthen you. The Apostle Peter speaks of God’s power shielding us through our faith.

Peter also implores us in the above verse to keep our focus on the heavenly—not on the things of this life that can perish, spoil, or fade. By doing so, it reshapes our perspective on our trials, strengthens our faith, and allows God to work through us to help others in their faith walk.

So, in the quiet crucible of your suffering today, will you allow God to dwell with you to work the situation for your good? To grow you to be more like Christ? Maybe even fulfill a noble dream?

Wednesday, I’ll return with another post about sharing one another’s burdens. As Christians, this is what we’re called to do. I hope in starting this interactive weekly feature, this blog will expand its ministry to do just that.

Meanwhile, will you consider subscribing to this blog through email, if it’s been a blessing to you? For a free subscription, simply type your email address into the box on the right. Thanks!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

So You Want To Be Published?

I’m working in a migraine fog this morning, so I’m a little late in getting this posted. Hope you’re all having a wonderful Thursday. The weather is simply gorgeous in South Carolina today.

If you’re a writer, you want to be published! No secret formula exists for publication, but certain things will improve and hasten your chances of seeing your name in print.

Topping the list is good writing. This means impeccable copy—your best work. Nothing else is acceptable. You can kiss your chances good-bye, if you don’t live by this market standard.

Your goals shouldn’t be set so high that only a book with your name on the cover adorning the shelves of Books a Million will satisfy. Start small. Even if you have an idea for a book, seek publication with magazine articles and short stories first.

An essential writing tool at this stage is Writer’s Market Guide or, for Christian writers, Christian Writer’s Market Guide. Both books are available in bookstores and online. Writer’s Market also publishes more targeted category guides for short stories and poems. These guides are published annually and can be obtained used for reasonable prices.

A magazine subscription to Writer’s Digest is a valuable resource. A subscription is reasonably priced, but if you don’t want to pay, their website has tons of articles archived to learn from.

Search for small magazines and online writing opportunities. If you’re a Christian writer, the Sunday School take home paper is an excellent break-in opportunity. These listings are in the guides above.

Don’t limit yourself to paying markets.

The objective is to get your name in print to build your credentials and improve your craft. We’ve discussed before that writing is more than talent. Even the most talented writer has to hone their skills. Smaller, non-paying markets are an excellent place to build your resume.

I can’t stress enough the value of attending writer’s conferences. For a new writer, the price may seem hard to justify to family members who try to reconcile the cost with your lack of income in the field. But it’s like attending college. The costs come first, the payoff later. Writer’s conferences jumpstart your writing career like nothing else. They often shorten the length of time to publication because of the opportunities to meet with agents, editors, and other writers who will form your network to get you there.

The bottom line is—there’s no secret or magic formula to getting published, except learning what you don’t know. Seems like a very basic concept, but when starting out, it’s the unknowns that work against you. The resources I’ve listed above will help.

Good, old-fashioned hard work and persevering in daily writing will get you published one day. Believe in yourself and the talent God blessed you with.

Please leave a comment, if you have a question you’d like answered or if you have a piece of advice to add to the above. I’d love to hear experiences about attending writer’s conferences, as well.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Spring's Promise

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot…” Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

I have to admit—I’m not a fan of daylight savings time. Every year, my circadian clock, created by intelligent design, has a more difficult time adjusting to man’s not-so-intelligent design of saving time. Who are we kidding? Time can’t be saved, nor can daylight be extended. It kind of reminds me of the smoke and mirrors game Satan invented to distract us from God’s best plan for us. Yes, that’s how evil I believe DST is. J

Spring is my favorite season, and with its arrival, perhaps I’ll recover from the angst of the time change.

I can almost feel the earth turning under my feet, as the trees bloom around me, a little more each day. Daffodils sprang up a few weeks ago, hinting at spring’s impending arrival. The cotton-white Bradford pear blossoms, the crinkled corners of dogwood blooms, and new leaves uncurling in their quest to push forth new life confirmed it.

Almost overnight, a green haze settled over the grass, yellow dandelions pushed their heads up, and yesterday, we discovered a hyacinth amongst our purple Vinca flowers, its seed brought in by a bird or blown in on the wind. Cold nights are giving way to warmer, sunnier, and yes, longer days.

I also like spring because of the feeling it brings of eternal hope. Christ’s resurrection is a symbol of this. Regardless of the seasons we pass through in our lives, it’s our choice to rest in hope or linger in despair.

“Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.” Ecclesiastes 11:4

Despite whatever trial you are enduring today—will you set it aside, along with its worries—just for a little while—and join in the celebration of new life that spring ushers in? Don’t watch the clouds, but cling to the promise of eternal life Christ brought with His resurrection.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Hook 'Em

“Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” ~Gene Fowler

Well, there are certainly days when writing feels that way, doesn’t it? Writers struggle with the first page of a manuscript—often with the opening paragraph. What to write, how to say it, how to hook the reader.

A general rule of thumb for fiction is to start in the middle of a conversation, conflict, or with a revelation. Whatever you do, don’t start with backstory. This is true with fiction and non-fiction. For the purpose of my example, I’ll use all three hooks.


“You said you wanted to be a father,” Katie wailed.
“But not like this. Not now.” Steve shifted from one foot to another, twisting the brim of his hat between his hands.
“If not now, when?”
His eyes narrowed. “After we bury your husband.”
She sniffed. “But he isn’t dead…yet.”

Okay, you want to know what will happen next, right? All sorts of scenarios ran through your mind as you read the example. I’ve not told you much about the characters, but already you’re imaging a tawdry affair of some sort. Read on:

            Katie touched Steve’s arm. “You promised to take care of me.”
            “Fatherhood wasn’t part of the deal.”
            “I’ll be a widow by the end of the week.” Her hand tightened around his arm. “Tell me what I’m supposed to do.”

So it doesn’t appear anything indecent has transpired. Steve is either a relative or close friend of Katie’s dying husband. And he’s promised to take care of Katie. The fact that Katie needs taking care of, Steve has promised to do so, and he wears a hat points to this being an historical fiction. Maybe even a western.

I’ve not gone to any great lengths—or any length at all—to give you information about either character. And I don’t have to. Your mind fills in the blanks. The important thing is hook your reader from the first line and then don’t let them go. Gently drop in details about their lives as the story unfolds.

Scene and setting details can be added on revision, as well. Describing the kitchen curtains, what Katie’s wearing, Steve’s biceps bulging, the beef stew cooking on the stove, and so on, isn’t necessary on the first draft. Some of it isn’t necessary at all. The important thing is to get the opening sentences written, and the rest will flow easier.

When writing memoirs or other non-fiction centered on a person’s life, start in the middle of a conflict, crisis, dark moment, or revelation in the subject’s life, and then backtrack to tell their life story. Unless their (or your) birth happened on the morning of December 7, 1941, in Hawaii, (or has some other great significance), a reader is not going to trudge through the beginning to discover the purpose of the book.

Take a few moments to review the opening of your WIP, and imagine a reader (or an editor) trying to decide whether or not to purchase it. Good writing isn’t good enough in today’s market. Revise until the hook is apparent.

Please leave a comment and let me know how your writing is progressing since you’ve started following Writers’ Corner each week. I’d love to hear from you.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Power of a Dangerous Prayer

Not my will, but Yours
“When an answer I did not expect comes to a prayer which I believed I truly meant, I shrink back from it; if the burden my Lord asks me to bear, be not the burden of my heart's choice, and I fret inwardly and do not welcome His will, then I know nothing of Calvary love.”—Amy Carmichael, missionary.

Prayer has been called many things, but I doubt few consider it dangerous. How would you characterize something which has the potential to end your existence as you know it?

That doesn’t make sense, you might be thinking. Prayer is a solace place we enter to meet God. We bare our souls, share our heartaches, offer petitions, and intercede for others. Sounds like a neat, safe place to abide. And it is.

But suppose you yearn for a deeper, richer relationship with God—to live fully in a manner you’ve not fathomed before. Are you willing to push your spiritual life outside of its comfort zone and into the danger zone to do so?

The five scariest words we could utter during prayer, many people don’t—or won’t. Praying these words mean death—death to self—an end to selfish desires and the beginning of God’s desires to define our lives.

Safety nets are stripped away—power is relinquished.

The five words?

Not my will, but Yours.

Now, let’s get real for a moment. I mean really real. Think of the most monumental problem you’re facing. You may even have a pretty good idea of how to solve it, if everything would just work out the way you imagine. Are you willing to turn loose of your solution?

Makes your heart skips a beat to consider giving the problem to God, then utter, “not my will, but Yours,”—and mean it!

My sister Teresa shared her insights on my last post When God Comes Calling, and they are applicable to this post, as well:

"This hits home for me. I prayed a prayer that my pastor encouraged us to pray one night; a prayer that God show me what HE wanted me to do for Him (not telling Him what I wanted). A few days later, I was headed to Jonesville, VA, on an ASP trip [after a last minute cancellation of another team member]. What a blessing that mission trip was to me! I prayed that specific prayer a month ago, and 2 days later my husband was transferred to Brunswick, Ga. Now, I'm praying that prayer to see what God has in store for me to do to honor Him in Brunswick. I learned a long time ago, it's not about me, it's about what I can do for His glory."

Teresa has left Florida only a handful of times in the last thirty years and has never lived outside of the state. At age 53, she is embarking on new endeavors because she yielded control of her life to God.

Is the unknown scary? Sure. Has God’s will pushed Teresa outside of her comfort zone? Most definitely. However, the blessings she has experienced as a result of praying those five scary words are immense.

Though you’re not guaranteed instant gratification or easy solutions to your petitions, God’s will provides the perfect answer. Christ prayed the same words when he faced death on a cross (Luke 22:42). God’s answer didn’t spare Jesus’ life—instead it granted life to millions of others.

Let me add one caveat. Please don’t hear me say what I’m not. There’s nothing wrong with goals and desires. God gives us those desires (Ps. 37:4). He designed man to yearn for progress. The million dollar question is—Are you willing to give those desires back to God and say, not my will, but yours, and trust Him to bless you?

God’s answer often weaves a beautiful pattern which, in hindsight, you marvel over its brilliance. He doesn’t grant that beforehand—only after you’ve exercised faith by relinquishing control.

So, are you ready to pray dangerously by submitting to the Ultimate Power? I’d love to hear from you about how God has worked in your life when you’ve done so.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

When God Comes Calling

“When you write for God, and you really mean it, your work may never show up on the shelves at Lifeway. It may never find its way into bound print at all. But when you write for God, when you write with the heart of a servant…you may find that your words are only meant for the guy sitting next to you. If you can accept this…live with it…grasp it…then you can truly write for God.” –Alton Gansky, novelist

Christian writers write to advance the Kingdom—the Great Commission. Some are blessed with commercial success. Others are blessed by reaching the one person God wants them to reach, with little hope of financial gain. Both avenues can fulfill God’s purpose for a writer’s life.

And while there’s nothing wrong with commercial success, it can’t be the goal of a Christian writer’s career.

When I find myself in a discussion about writing, my own personal goals, or how to go about setting goals, I always respond with the following advice:

·         Write for enjoyment. Writing is an art, one that is cathartic and creative.
·         Write for others’ enjoyment and edification. If you’re a Christian writer, this extends to include your spiritual gift or path God is leading you on. This is the step at which you’re trying to get published.
·         Financial gain.
If these three steps get out of order, fulfillment and joy will often lack in your work, and readers will know it.

A Christian writer’s work reflects God’s calling. Often, this includes activities outside the realm of actual writing—and in a support mode.

The writers’ bootcamp hosted by Christian Devotions, which I attended last weekend, reinforced these ideals for me. I got rejuvenated by the other writers and faculty who were passionate about God’s work and their own personal calling.

I’ve shared before that I believe my spiritual gift is encouragement (Romans 12:8). This permeates every aspect of my life—especially my writing. I’m beginning to see it play out in other ways, namely as it relates to the ministry of Christian Devotions.

This ministry was co-founded by two people who listened to God’s call a few years ago. What started with a devotion website has grown to include teen and children’s devotion websites, book publishing, a radio program, and teaching at conferences.

A year ago, I became aware of Christian Devotions and submitted to them. Since then, I’ve had three devotions published with two more upcoming. Last fall, after I received an email from their editor, God spoke to my heart about this ministry. I always pray before I jump, so I waited a couple of days before emailing back to ask if there was something I could do to help. There was.

During the last six months, I’ve assisted with posting devotions to the ministry website.

As I sat in the staff meeting very late on Saturday night, after the conference sessions had ended, I was moved by the way in which God had brought everyone together—an all volunteer staff of more than a dozen folks from around the country, working toward a common goal to publish daily devotions 365 days a year, produce a weekly radio show, and publish books to reach people throughout the world. Each volunteer represented God’s call which led them to Christian Devotions, and ultimately, in service for Him through this ministry.

I don’t know what the future holds in my writing journey, but I can tell you this: I’m excited!

Accidents aren’t part of the Great Commission. Divine calls are. He guides and equips us. It’s up to us to be sensitive to the call when it comes.

I’d like to hear about your writing journey. Please leave a comment and tell me how God has touched your life to further His Kingdom work.