Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Step in the Write Direction--September 22, 2014--Writing Through Your Trials

A Step in the Write Direction

September 22, 2014

Update: Praise Report: Some of you remember my prayer request several years ago for little Penny who needed a new heart. She received the heart, and is doing fine—just celebrated her seventh birthday. Shortly after Penny received the heart, her mom Gena had a little boy and when he was about four months old, an old heart condition resurfaced and Gena passed away. Fast forward three years, and on November 8 Penny’s dad will be married to a beautiful Christian woman. We’re all so very happy for the whole family!...They took my nephew off life supports last week, but he’s still hanging on—in a coma, but still hanging on….

Our music minister shared a few weeks ago about visiting a man who had cancer of the tongue and they had to remove part of it. He said, “I’ll never be able to sing again.” Our minister asked himself, “If he could only sing one more song, what would it be?” and he chose one that we sang this morning. Last Wednesday after church, the children’s minister told him he had a phone call. It was this patient. They had taken part of an arm muscle and made a new tongue and he talked to our music minister on the phone! Who says God doesn’t heal today?! But, as he shared about his one song, it made me wonder, “If I could write only one more story, one more article, one more poem or book, what would it be? What does this hurting world need?” Perhaps we should each ask ourselves this question—and when we come up with the answer, start working on that manuscript today!

Comment from last week’s blog:
Dear Donna, Bingo!  You nailed exactly what I needed to hear ~ about using my voice in writing the material.  I am struggling to write "Only By Grace," and was having a hard time saying it in a conversational way, not a scholarly way.  I will give it another try.  Thanks.  Love, Anne Grace

Thought for the Day: “Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!” (Psalm 116:2).

Song for the Day:
‘Tis the blessed hour of prayer, when our hearts lowly end,
And we gather to Jesus, our Saviour and Friend.
If we come to Him in faith, His protection to share,
What a balm for the weary! Oh, how sweet to be there!

            —Fanny Crosby, “Blessed Hour of Prayer”

Laugh for the Day: A musician who joined an orchestra on a cruise ship was having a terrible time keeping time with the rest of the band. Finally, the band leader said, "Look, either you learn to keep time or I'll throw you overboard. It's up to you — sync or swim." (“The Gospel Greats Newsletter, 9/16/14).

Writer’s Tips: (from unpublished writer’s devotional book):

The Locust-Eaten Years
I will repay you for the years the locusts
have eaten (Joel 2:25).

A minister had experienced a very rough year, including a church split and a decrease in membership and finances. He belonged to a denomination in which pastors gave an annual report at the district assembly at the end of the year. He didn’t know what to say and finally he said, “This has been a challenging year.” He shared a little of what had happened, then said, sort of offhandedly, “Well, I suppose the Lord will restore to me the years that the locusts have eaten.”

Then something came to his mind that he shared with the group of ministers. He remembered when he was a young boy on a farm in Kansas, the locusts came and demolished their crop. His father was really discouraged; their whole livelihood was gone. As it came closer and closer to planting another crop the next year, the father didn’t know what to do—give up, sell the farm and move into town, or try again.

Finally he decided, “I’ll try one more year and see what happens.” Planting a new crop, he later discovered that all the locust carcasses had created a fertilizer and he had the best crop that year he had ever had.

What have you done with your locust-eaten years? All the things that have happened to you in the past? Have they eaten away inside and ruined your “writing crop”? Have they made you bitter? Or have you written them as personal experience articles or books to show others how the Lord brought you through, and how He can do the same for them?

When I shared this story at a writing workshop, a lady raised her hand and tearfully asked, “But what if the locust carcasses don’t make a fertilizer? What do you do then?”

The Lord brought to my mind another story about a violinist giving a concert and, partway through, one of the strings broke. He transposed to another key and continued.

None of us understand why we go through the things we do—and it sometimes seems that Christian writers endure more tragedies than any other group of people. Perhaps that’s because God knows that when the trials are over, He can trust us to use them to help other people. Sometimes we just have to change keys and go on with our lives.

How can you share the trial you are experiencing today with readers? Personal experience? Short story? How-to article? Book? Poem? Ask the Lord to lead you.

 Have a good week spreading the
gospel through the printed page.

Donna Clark Goodrich

"A Step in the Write Direction--the Complete How-to Guide for Christian Writers"
"The Freedom of Letting Go"
"Healing in God's Time"
NEW: The Little Book of Big Laughs (a 105-page purse-pocket-sized joke book

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