Wednesday, February 5, 2020

How to Waltz in the Wilderness by Kathleen Denly

Are you in the wilderness? If you’re reading this, chances are you aren’t there physically, but perhaps you are there emotionally and spiritually. What is the wilderness? How do you know if you’re in it? What should you do if you feel lost?

My debut novel, Waltz in the Wilderness, released yesterday. Although this was not the original title, it is the perfect title for my story because of the layered meaning within these words. My heroine, Eliza, experiences the wilderness in every sense of the word. Emotionally, she feels separated from those she loves. Spiritually, she feels lost in her relationship with God. Physically, she must enter and endure the wilderness to search for her missing earthly father. Like many of us, it is in the wilderness that she reconnects with her heavenly Father.

Many parts of this writing journey we’re on can feel like the wilderness. Whether it’s wondering why no agent has said yes to your proposal, which story you should write next, why you should even bother with this writing life at all, or something else entirely, perhaps like Eliza, you’ve experienced or are experiencing, something that has you feeling alone, confused, and unsure which way to turn. You could, as Eliza does, attempt to take things into your own hands and charge ahead, confident that your chosen route is the only way forward. However, as Eliza comes to realize, charging ahead without a guide and protector, often leaves you lost, in danger and even injured. So what should you do?

Look to our Leader.

Be patient in your confusion and lean on Him through any suffering. Trust that He has not abandoned you and has a plan for your good.

When women are waltzing, they often cannot see where they are going. In dancing, women are the followers and men the leaders. We must rely on our men to lead us in a safe path, yet if our connection is weak we cannot know which way he is leading. This is the reason ballroom dancers are admonished not to have floppy arms. That strong frame creates the connection that communicates from the leader to the partner which way, when, and how to move. As followers, we must be patient—attempting to move before the leader prompts us to, weakens our connection.

So whatever your current troubles, I ask you to pause and imagine yourself waltzing in the woods with floppy arms. It would be a dangerous activity with thorny bushes to bump into, above ground roots to trip over, and low-hanging branches ready to knock you down, should you misstep. However, you are not dancing alone. Nor are you dancing with an inexperienced or careless partner. You are dancing with the One who created you, created the world, and loves you more than you can know.

So while you’re in the woods, quit trying to peek over your shoulder or pull your leader along. Take a moment and check your connection. Strengthen it through communication (prayer) and getting to know your leader (Bible study). Then, enjoy the dance.

A time to weep, a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; Ecclesiastes 3:4 (KJV)

Many parts of this writing journey we’re on can feel like the wilderness. via @KathleenDenly #SeriouslyWrite #amwriting


Kathleen Denly writes historical romance stories to entertain, encourage, and inspire readers toward a better understanding of our amazing God and how He sees us. Award winning author of the Chaparral Hearts series, she also shares history tidbits, thoughts on writing, books reviews and more at



  1. The note beside my computer says "PRAY FIRST". My writing is better and flows easily when I go to God first. :-)

    1. Having a note like that is a great idea. :)

    2. I completely agree. Praying is always the first step. :)

  2. Thank you so much for this! I never knew the reason for the strong arms in a waltz.

    My word of the year is PLANTING. I'm a pretty impatient person, and I tend to run ahead of God on the path He's set for me, out of the reach of the "lamp unto my feet" that His Word is for me (Ps. 119:105). Things never go well. So I'm trying to remember that my only job is to sow seeds in obedience, and wait for the Lord to water them (James 5:7) and to bring any results, especially in my writing.

  3. I love the visual of running ahead of God's light. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!


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