Friday, May 29, 2020

Speaking Life by Robin W. Pearson

Robin W. Pearson
During this time of additional challenges and uncertainty, how are we using our words to make a difference? Author Robin W. Pearson encourages us to think about the role we take in the lives of readers and listeners. ~ Dawn

Speaking Life

“Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.
To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments.”
~ Habakkuk 3:17-19


Yet. Such a powerful word, those three letters.

In this passage, it means “nevertheless” or “but at the same time,” and the minor prophet uses this little word to great effect. The tone of Habakkuk’s “music” moves from mournful to exultant, from a plaint to a praise. “Though the fig tree may not blossom…Yet I will rejoice in the Lord…”

As a believer, I know there’s power in the Word. It lives, breathes, and creates. The Word was with God; the same Living Word abides with and in us. We can rely on Him to encourage, exhort, discipline, teach, and love us (2 Timothy 3:16).

And as a writer, I appreciate a well-placed word, how it helps me wiggle a sentence into a paragraph, making it fit just so. A well-woven story not only connects characters and themes; it knits together readers from different backgrounds, cultures, and spots on the map by reminding them of their shared beliefs in faith, love, and family.

In my debut, A Long Time Comin’, Beatrice Agnew often wielded her spoken words as a sword; they cut to the heart of the matter, sometimes to the quick. Suffering drives her to use letters to convey what she couldn’t bring herself to utter. Prayer, contemplation, and faith—and some intercession from her granddaughter—season her thoughts with grace as she puts them to paper.

Habakkuk’s words, though they were also birthed from pain and doubt, reveal a conversation, not between him and his own sons and daughters but with God. He seeks answers, for he has none to give, and he approaches the Lord expectantly for a word of encouragement. One a fictional woman, the other a very real prophet, each in need of the Lord’s comfort and direction. Both compelled to write down the answers, to share them and “make it plain on tablets.” (Habakkuk 2:2)

These days when we’re facing so many unknowns, we can use some “fitly spoken”—and written—words (Proverbs 25:11). Folks are doing a lot of talking, but what are they saying? Consider their overriding message. Does it point to joy, love, and peace, or does it convey judgment, fear, and anger? In God’s eyes, the state of the union pales in comparison to the state of our heart. Our words should be a spiritual overflow of what beats inside, encouraging listeners and readers to trust in the Lord, just as Habakkuk’s words pricked the heart of God’s people Israel.

What words describe your life of faith? I can think of two.

Yet God.



A well-woven story not only connects characters and themes; it knits together readers from different backgrounds, cultures, and spots on the map … #seriouslywrite #tipsforwriters via @robinwpearson
Folks are doing a lot of talking, but what are they saying? #seriouslywrite #tipsforwriters via @robinwpearson
In God’s eyes, the state of the union pales in comparison to the state of our heart. #seriouslywrite #tipsforwriters via @robinwpearson



A Long Time Comin’
A Long Time Comin'


To hear Beatrice Agnew tell it, she entered the world with her mouth tightly shut. Just because she finds out she’s dying doesn’t mean she can’t keep it that way. If any of her children have questions about their daddy and the choices she made after he abandoned them, they’d best take it up with Jesus. There’s no room in Granny B’s house for regrets or hand-holding. Or so she thinks.

Her granddaughter, Evelyn Lester, shows up on Beatrice’s doorstep anyway, burdened with her own secret baggage. Determined to help her Granny B mend fences with her far-flung brood, Evelyn turns her grandmother’s heart and home inside out. Evelyn’s meddling uncovers a tucked-away box of old letters, forcing the two women to wrestle with their past and present pain as they confront the truth Beatrice has worked a lifetime to hide.


Robin W. Pearson’s writing sprouts from her Southern roots, her faith, and the love of her sweet husband, seven children, and her dog. In her twenty-five-year editorial career, she’s corrected grammar up and down the East coast, and her debut novel, A Long Time Comin’, has earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Follow @RobinWPearson on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and RobinWPearson.com to read about her adventures in faith, family, and homeschooling.






Thursday, May 28, 2020

The Unexpected Blessings of the Writing Life by Robin Patchen

Every time I’ve taken a test to place me on the introvert/extrovert scale, I’ve landed right in the middle. In other words, I need to be alone right up until I’m desperate for companionship.

I haven’t been short on companionship lately. We are so blessed that our grown children moved home for the quarantine, joining our third child, a recent high school graduate. This spring, I had my entire family together for Easter and Mother’s Day for the first time since 2015.

And, though it’s been a challenge to make space for three adults to work from home, I’ve enjoyed every minute of this family time.

What I’ve missed these months is my friends. Even though many of them don’t live nearby, there hasn’t been much time even for phone calls and Zoom meetings. And, while I love my family, there’s nothing quite like friendships with other writers, people who get this strange writing life.

For me, this community of other writers has been the greatest and most unexpected blessing of the writing life.

In recent months, I’ve grown my circle of writing friends to include eight other Christian romantic suspense authors. These women whose names I’ve seen in my “also-boughts,” whose books have decorated my Kindle, have become my friends. Together, we’re putting together a box set (more on that below) that will release in October. Honestly, I thought the Lord called me into this boxset to grow my audience and, perhaps, by His grace, to allow us to see our names on a bestseller list.

Now, months into it, I realize He had more in store for me than just business. (Doesn’t He always?) The Lord has blessed me with new friendships. He’s teaching me about working with others, about yielding to those who know more than I do, and about trusting Him to make it all work out. He’s reminding me that friendships don’t have to be tied to the community where I live. Great friendships can be borne over distances like never before.

That last lesson is particularly important for me right now.

After twenty-four years in Oklahoma, we’re relocating to the Austin area. I’ll be saying good-bye to my church family, my extended family, and my friends, many of whom are fellow writers. It’s going to be a challenge. But already, God is planting new friendships in my life. I know his plans for me—for all of us—are good. Despite the unknown lurking ahead, I will trust in Him.

Amazon Buy Link
DANGEROUS DECEPTIONS

Lives...and hearts...are on the line in eight brand-new Christian Romantic Suspense novels from the genre’s most explosive authors


Glimmer in the Darkness: Robin Patchen

When Cassidy learns another child has been kidnapped from her hometown, she's convinced the man who took the girl she’d been babysitting seven years earlier is behind the recent abductions. She alone holds the key to finding him. Though James blames Cassidy for his sister’s death, he’ll help if there’s a chance to save a child’s life. Can Cassidy and James identify the serial killer in time to rescue his latest victim?


About me:

Robin Patchen is one of the authors of the Dangerous Deceptions boxset, which includes eight brand-new, full-length Christian romantic suspense novels from best-selling and award-winning authors. It’s available on preorder for only 99¢.

Preorder Dangerous Deceptions at Amazon or your other favorite e-book retailers.
Learn more about Robin Patchen at her website and download a free copy of Convenient Lies

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

When You Can’t Write Because Life Hurts by Norma Gail


When you can’t write because life hurts, what do you do? Quit? Take a break? Write the hurts? We each react a different way. If you’re like me, matters of the heart and spirit pour over into your writing. Experiences that hurt either stifle our writing or open it up like a flower bursting through hardened soil and opening under the brilliance of the sun.

I took a break for a year and a half. In the same way a crimped water hose staunches the flow, no words streamed from my heart or gushed from my keyboard. I could deal with what was already written, so I edited. However, the pain in my heart was so raw and ugly, filled with anger and grief that I didn’t even want in a journal.

Within two years’ time, I experienced three relationships torn apart, our son went through a divorce, my mom died, I became caretaker for an elderly aunt and uncle, my husband went through a job change, and finally forced retirement. I underwent four major surgeries. My mind, body, and heart were worn out. My tears flowed freely. My words did not.

As time passed, scripture touched my wounds with healing balm. God’s word confronted me about attitudes, words, and actions that required submission to him. It became clear that I must seek and offer forgiveness out of obedience. Hurtful emotions had to be left to him. My heart became a garden where weeds threatened to choke the fruit. However, forgiveness kills spiritual weeds.

To forgive heals even when the heart hasn’t caught up. Peace comes when I pray God’s will and not my own. Rest happens when I walk away from the throne and leave my burdens there.

As writers, our hearts speak through words. It doesn’t matter what the form, devotions, inspiration, fiction, or non-fiction. Our emotions break their silence through words. Yet silence is necessary to hear God’s thoughts above my own. Whatever our struggle, it impacts our writing with new meaning which can touch our reader’s hearts with power.

It’s all right to take a break. I jotted down feelings, sentences, quotes, and scriptures. None formed a written piece of any kind, although their impact is etched in my spirit. God met me through those broken sentences.  

When we survive the trials life sends, we grow. However, we don’t grow in a vacuum. Others experience similar times. Psalm 37:23 says, “If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”

I survived. I’m stronger as a person and a writer because God upholds me with his hand. When life hurts and stifles words, rest in the Father’s arms, soak up his word like healing balm. Allow him to grow you in new ways. He will not let go.

© Norma Gail Holtman, May 11, 2020


When you can’t write because life hurts, what do you do? via @Norma_Gail

~~~~~~


Norma Gail’s debut novel, Land of My Dreams, won the 2016 Bookvana Religious Fiction Award. Within Golden Bands released May 19th. A women’s Bible study leader for over 21 years, her devotionals have appeared in several publications. She lives in New Mexico with her husband of 44 years.

Newly married Bonny MacDonell finds the transition from American college professor to Scottish sheep farmer’s wife more difficult than she expected. Though her husband says he has accepted her infertility, she fears his reaction when her miracle pregnancy ends in a devastating miscarriage. However, Kieran never shows up at the hospital. When found, he is beaten and unconscious. The only memory of his attacker is the words, “Get off my land.” As a result, his parents reveal a family secret involving an altered deed and missing aunt. Reeling from the threat to her husband and the loss of her child, Bonny struggles with depression. 


As Kieran's elusive attacker stalks the family, threatening their safety, the couple is forced to hire bodyguards. Bonny still longs to be a mother but Kieran fears his deep-seated opposition to adoption will drive them apart. Are faith and love strong enough to keep their fledgling marriage on solid ground? Will they choose to trust God when his ways are impossible to fathom?

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Three Ways to Increase Your Impact by Emily Wickham

“Like apples of gold in settings of silver Is a word spoken in right circumstances”
(Proverbs 25:11, NASB).


Words reach into far places. And as Christian writers, we aim to impact people’s lives with our words. We can achieve a more significant influence by implementing the following three practices:

BE AUTHENTIC

It can be tempting to limit our writing to all things favorable, but we should open up about our struggles from time to time. Life includes the not-so-great, and occasionally we behave not-so-great. Let’s just be real.

Authenticity also looks different for each person, so we shouldn’t seek to adopt another writer’s pattern. Some excel at sharing their innermost feelings while others practice caution in this area for worthy reasons. Various writers pen truth in an ultra-direct way as opposed to those who craft gentler messages.

Each type of writer appeals to certain readers. The point is, Be. You. God has gifted each of us uniquely to impact the audience He brings our way.

BE DILIGENT

Writers are creatives, yet a lack of diligence can accompany this blessing. Jumping from one activity to the next doesn’t bode well for writers. Rather, we must write through all of life’s adventures.
Instead of carrying out the ‘tyranny of the urgent,’ let’s look ahead with wisdom. Choose a writing routine that works best for you as well as your family… and stick to it.

By planning a doable schedule, we’ll experience encouraging results. We’ll find we work more efficiently while producing consistent content. Focusing on our God-given projects along with our commitments will benefit all.

Let’s attend to the writing opportunities God provides—whether blogging, composing articles, authoring a book, and/or other endeavors—with diligence.

PRAY AFTER POSTING

I’m unsure why this practice can easily elude us. Perhaps we underestimate the impact prayer plays in reaching others, or maybe we’re so excited to share each blog post/links to our work that we simply forget to pray. Yet I’m convinced our prayers contain tremendous power.

God provides each word we write. He also directs readers to our material. He hears us when we ask Him to use our words for His purposes, and He answers according to His will. All of this is pretty amazing. Let’s be faithful to pray after we post, knowing God holds a plan for each message.

By being authentic and diligent, and praying after posting, we can eternally impact our readers. Every step toward this goal is noteworthy.

Which of these three ways resonates with you the most?

Note: A previous version of “Three Ways to Increase Your Impact” first appeared on July 3, 2018 at www.proclaiminghimtowomen.com.

Consider three ways your words can significantly influence others for Christ. @emilywickhamPH @MaryAFelkins #WritingCommunity #Impact #SeriouslyWrite #writeauthentically

Emily Wickham seeks to stir hearts toward Jesus. She writes for LifeWay, speaks at ladies’ events, and shares Devotions for Women videos on social media. Emily encourages Christian women plus equips Christian writers on her blog. She is the author of one Bible study, which was translated into Spanish in 2016.

Emily, a resident of North Carolina, is Mark’s wife of 30+ years. They are the blessed parents of four adult children and two daughters-in-love. God’s faithfulness and love inspire Emily on her journey through life as she purposes to exalt Christ through written and spoken words.

Connect with Emily:
www.proclaiminghimtowomen.com
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
Instagram
LinkedIn

Alcanzando la Justicia
Do you know any missionaries to Spanish-speaking women? Or, is your church involved in outreach to the Hispanic community? Emily would love to put her Bible study on Esther into their hands, and she’s willing to fundraise for this purpose. Please see her website for more information. You also can purchase Alcanzando la Justicia on Amazon.