One day when we visited a school to talk about writing we learned something from a second grader. A little guy raised his hand and said, “I can do the stories, I just can’t do the words.” He captured the struggle that every writer (or wannabe writer) faces.
How do you get the stories out of your head onto the paper? How do we even have the courage to begin? Often we write and rewrite stories over and over in our heads, but they never make it to the written page or screen.
The following scripture passages were important to us over our years of writing and we wanted to share some of what we learned.
Give us today our daily bread. Matthew 6:11
Don’t get ahead of God. If we think we have to write a whole book we can become paralyzed and overwhelmed. But what if we just have to write one paragraph, or one page. We can do that. Can we trust God for the rest?
We had written children’s books for twenty years before we decided to attempt our first book for adults. They are sooo long. We wondered if we could write a novel of more than 64 pages.
In the wilderness the Hebrew people received manna, just enough for each day. Why would we expect God to act differently with us? When we are faithful to show up and do our part, he gives us just what we need for that day, or hour, or fifteen minutes.
When we looked at it that way, we were able to move forward. Faith matters in writing.
Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them. Jeremiah 15:19
Write from your heart, not what you think people will like or expect from you. When we changed genres it surprised some people. We heard a lot of opposition. “But you could sell another children’s book.” We chose what we thought God wanted us to write and we had to fight to keep from “turning” to the crowd. One agent heard about what we were writing and told us to write a Christian romance series, “because you can sell it”. God calls us to write the words that He gives us, not what we can sell or what we think people want to hear. Someone else may be called to write that romance series, but not us.
I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Nehemiah 6:3
Commit to the work. It is VERY easy to get distracted. How do you carve out time to write? We started writing during naptime. Our kid’s naptimes! It is amazing how productive you can be when you know you only have an hour to work. We also learned to put writing on the calendar. It helped us to say no to other things when it was scheduled in black and white. Each time we say yes to one thing we say no to another.
My tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1
Have confidence. Do you have the confidence to begin? If you have read this far then God has called you to write. He has already equipped you and is ready to use you to write His words. What do you need to do to cooperate with Him?
For us, the confidence to write comes from God. We cover our writing in prayer and have a prayer team praying for our writing. We love this quote by Corrie Ten Boom:
“It is not my ability, but my response to God’s ability, that counts.”
There’s nothing to fear! Those stories that are in our heads were put there by God and He will be faithful to give us the words we need.
We would love to hear your thoughts about these passages. Do you have another scripture passage that has been meaningful to you in your writing?
Something about the first week of the year makes me feel like I’m starting a race, lined up ready for the gun to sound. This week I flipped over my calendar to 2015 and suddenly deadlines loom closer. Email messages are flowing in reminding me of promises that I made. It’s time to begin working on the goals listed on the paper before me. It can be overwhelming.
On your mark…
Where is our starting point for the New Year? It’s a good time to take inventory. What were my achievements in the past year? What are my goals for this one? If we are rooted and grounded before we start, the race will go better. We wouldn’t get far in the race if we didn’t know where we were headed.
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. Acts 20:24
Take a breath. Focus on one thing at a time. Life is lived one moment at a time. Writing requires perseverance, one word, one paragraph, one page, one chapter at a time. A slow persistence. Persevere. God provides our daily bread – just enough for today.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:24
Okay. Time to begin. The route is marked out ahead. Let’s run it. The New Year has already begun. Let’s live it well!
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Our God who breathed stars into the dark—He breathed Bethlehem’s Star, then He became a baby with lungs and breathed in stable air. We are all saved and rescued from the hopeless dark because God came with infant fists and opened wide His hands to hold yours. Ann Voskamp, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift
Merry Christmas to you all!
Betsy and Laurie
Here are our readings from Christmas 2013 for you. Click Here.
And one last lovely song for 2014. See you next year!
Love came down at Christmas Love all lovely, love divine Love was born at Christmas Star and angels gave the sign.
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Galatians 5:6
A picture of God’s love from Mike Mason’s The Gospel According to Job:
“Love is not bait for the gospel; love is the gospel. Love is not a means towards some end; love is means and end together. . . In the Kingdom of God nothing moves, nothing happens, without love. In churches many things happen because of human goals, programs, bureaucratic necessity, idealism, private fantasy, or neurosis. But it is not so with God. God has no plan, no program, no agenda except love. That is why He had no other recourse but to send us His only Son Jesus Christ, who on the one hand loved God His Father with a perfect love, and who on the other hand loved mankind no less. These were the two hands that were stretched wide on Calvary. . .This is the dreadful, fearsome love of God, the love that will never let us go.” Mike Mason
Experience God’s love this Christmas.
In a town of David, not so near to spring, At the heart of love, there came a lovely thing. Straw Against the Chill, Bob Franke
In love a throne will be established – Isaiah 16:5
Join us for three readings to remind us of God’s love for us as we move toward Christmas . First, the amazing Madeleine L’Engle captures an image of love:
In my mind’s ear I can hear God saying to God, “Can I do it? Do I love them that much? Can I leave my galaxies, my solar systems, can I leave the hydrogen clouds and the birthing stars and the journeyings of comets, can I leave all that I have made, give it all up, and become a tiny, unknowing seed in the belly of a young girl? Do I love them that much? Do I have to do that in order to show them what it is to be human?” Yes! The answer on our part is a grateful Alleluia! Amen! God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son…” -Penguins and Golden Calves, Madeleine L’Engle
Can you look at Christmas this year as a gift of love?
What does the Bible say about gratitude? Here are some of our favorite verses.
Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. 1 Chronicles 29:14
That my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever! Psalm 30:12
I will thank you in the great congregation; in the mighty throng I will praise you. Psalm 35:18
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! Psalm 100:4
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 107:1
And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted.” Isaiah 12:4-5
The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it 1 Corinthians 11:23
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57
Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, Philippians 1:3
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers Philemon 1:4
Let us be silent that we may hear the whispers of God. Ralph Waldo Emerson
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:16
In contemporary society our Adversary majors in these things: noise, hurry, and crowds. If he can keep us engaged in “muchness” and “manyness” he will rest satisfied. . .
In the midst of an exceedingly busy ministry Jesus made a habit of withdrawing to “a lonely place apart.” He did this not just to be away from people, but so he could be with God. What did Jesus do time after time in those deserted hills? He sought out his heavenly Father; he listened to him. And he beckons us to do the same.Richard Foster, The Celebration of Discipline
Can we take time to get away to a lonely place? Why is it so difficult?
Let us be silent that we may hear the whispers of God. Ralph Waldo Emerson
How do you hear from God? Fenelon writes that God speaks in whispers. Can we be silent long enough to hear from Him?
Don’t listen to your self-nature. Self-love whispers in one ear and God whispers in the other. The first is restless, bold, eager, and reckless; the other is simple, peaceful, and speaks but a few words in a mild, gentle voice. As soon as you listen to the loud voice of self you will not hear the soft tones of holy love. Each speaks only of one thing. Self-love speaks only of self—it never gets enough attention . . .
God’s love, on the other hand, whispers that self should be forgotten—counted as nothing so that God might be all. God wants to completely fill you and unite himself to you. Let the vain, complaining babble of self-love be silenced so that in the stillness of the heart you may listen to the love of God. Fenelon, The Seeking Heart
What do you think? Does God speak to us?
Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. Hosea 2:14
When I see a flock of sheep I see exactly that, a flock. A rabble of wool. A herd of hooves. I don’t see a sheep. I see sheep. All alike. None different. That’s what I see. But not so with the shepherd. To him every sheep is different. Every face is special. Every face has a story. And every sheep has a name. . . The shepherd knows his sheep. He calls them by name.
When we see a crowd, we see exactly that, a crowd. Filling a stadium or flooding a mall. When we see a crowd, we see people, not persons, but people. A herd of humans. A flock of faces. That’s what we see.
But not so with the Shepherd. To him every face is different. Every face has a story. Every face is a child. Every child has a name. . . The Shepherd knows you. He knows your name. -Max Lucado, Experiencing the Heart of Jesus