Friday, April 3, 2020

Writing Words of Grace to a Captive Audience by Melinda V. Inman

Meme that says "Writer Life"

Writing Words of Grace to a Captive Audience

Do you have any idea how significant our words are right now? God has us here, at this time, in the middle of a pandemic, writers with skill, all for a significant reason.

In this time of social distancing, of flattening the curve, of choosing to confine ourselves in order not to harm one another by spreading this new virus, COVID-19, the writing of words is crucial. Though homebound, we’re able to stay in touch through texts, posts, tweets, letters, and messages. Via Facetime, Zoom, and other platforms, we stay connected.

We can’t meet for coffee. Our churches can’t gather. We can’t dine in a restaurant. But, we can write words and gather together electronically, speaking to one another from a distance.

Social media usage rates are up by 50%. Twitter has become an even more significant place to interact. Along with Facebook, Instagram, and others, these provide opportunities to share the love of Jesus. Here we offer God’s Word. We write the grace-filled encouragement that others need in order to keep going, to process their own mortality, and to know they aren’t alone. Cries of distress are sounding from souls who are afraid, who are abandoned, who need hope.

We have the ability to encourage one another from afar, to build community with those who need someone to listen, to hear what troubles them as they exist all alone at home. This is the time to read and to hear what others are saying. This is the time to offer to pray and to type that prayer out into the next tweet or comment. This is the time to console.

Meme about Writing Words of Grace

This is also the time to soften this tragedy with humor. From a distance with family members, we scrolled through one after another ridiculous joke at the expense of the toilet paper hoarders. Lighthearted memes poking at the silly amidst the deadly serious cause us to laugh, to share these with one another. They provide another way to form and to sustain community from afar.

But now, we’re deeper in. We’re going to be here for a while, so both humor and gravity are required. A couple of weeks was initially predicted, but now officials are building hospitals in football stadiums and calling upstate National Guard units to help. There’s no humor here. We pray. We write the truth, avoiding unsubstantiated anecdotal information that provokes misunderstandings. We pen serious, factual, grace-filled content.

This may play out longer than we expected. If we get a reprieve in the summer, we may all dance in the streets and hug strangers who pass by at the moment of our release from captivity.

We hope and pray our human losses are few. We pray our future holds an economy which hasn’t collapsed entirely, employment once again for those laid off, a surge in wages, and, by the grace of God, a vaccine for COVID-19, transforming it into another seasonal illness like the flu.

Can we hold on? We must.

Pray for strength. Be kind to one another. Use gentle voices, no matter the discomfort and provocation of close quarters. Give one another grace. Remember our ancestors one hundred years ago, who faced their own pandemic. Following their example, stay calm and carry on.

Our feelings will not shatter us, for the Savior is with us. We focus our hearts and minds on him. He has the power to save us and to carry us through, no matter the outcome. He’s with us in the fearful middle-of-the-night moments, in the brave “I got this” moments, and in the moments when we may find ourselves or a loved one sick, precious lives cradled gently in Jesus’ strong hands. He never leaves us. He never forsakes us.

Our responsibility now is to write about him, engaging in real conversations with real people who are terrified and who want to know Jesus better. Use humor. Use compassion. Within the walls of your confinement, use the words God gives, writing of his grace.

God has us here, at this time, in the middle of a pandemic, writers with skill, all for a significant reason. #SeriouslyWrite #Encouragement via @MelindaVInman
Our responsibility now is to write about him, engaging in real conversations with real people who are terrified and who want to know Jesus better. Use humor. Use compassion. #SeriouslyWrite #Encouragement via @MelindaVInman

The Shadows Come
The Shadows Come

Sequel to No Longer Alone
(WW1 Based on a True Story)

Germany threatens all of Europe. Millions have died. President Woodrow Wilson makes the declaration that the United States must enter the Great War to rescue our allies. Congress approves. Our story begins. In America’s heartland, everyone hunkers down to provide food for the world and resources for the war effort. A draft is necessary, and all young men must register. One by one, these are called to war. With this threat looming, Prentis and Avery raise the necessary horsepower, cultivate the needed crops, and contribute their labors to the Red Cross.

But crises at home, an insidious busybody, and one after another called up to fight in Europe bring the greatest dangers they’ve ever faced together. Then there’s the influenza pandemic. Will they survive the war abroad and the war being waged at home, threatening their love and their lives? Will their loved ones make it home again?

Melinda V. Inman, Author of Fallen: Refuge:
No Longer Alone; and The Shadows Come

Raised on the Oklahoma plains in a storytelling family, Melinda now spins tales from her writer’s cave in the South. Her fiction illustrates our human story, wrestling with our brokenness and the storms that wreak havoc in our lives.


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  1. Beautiful and inspiring, as always, Melinda. A wonderful call to use the gift and vocation of writing to bless and heal. Thank you, friend!

    1. Pam, thank you for your kind (as always) words of encouragement. This is the time to write those words. You're doing a wonderful job carrying out that mission!

  2. It really is a wonderful time to share encouragement, laughter and the grace of God! Let's take advantage of it :)

    1. Yes, it is, Mary, as you do so well! We're here. We're already writing. We've got the connections on social media. We're writing about the hope and security we have in Jesus! Thanks for commenting!

  3. Thank you for sharing this post, Melinda. Very thought-provoking and a great reminder of the opportunities we have even during a health crisis. As writers, we have a mission, so we must carry on---trusting in our Lord!
    Thank you again. Blessings, Patti Jo

    1. CatMom, thanks for commenting! Now is the time to write to the need. We're all home, and we all need encouragement. As you said, "we have a mission!" God bless you, sister! Stay safe!

  4. Melinda, thank you for this post. You brought peace and calm to me just reading it. Now is the time to step up and speak the language of love and peace, not to mention the comfort of Christ.

    It is a great opportunity for Christian writers.

    1. Terri, I appreciate your words. Peace and calm are what we all need in this time unlike any other that we've ever experienced. All of us are in need of comfort, and the Lord has us prepared and already in those places where people are reading and viewing. Let's seize this opportunity!

  5. Our words are always important and even more so in this stressful time. Great post Melinda.

    1. They really are, Melissa! And during stressful times, as you say, even more so! Thanks for commenting. God bless!

  6. Melissa, I totally agree that writers have the capacity to provide great witness to God and his character and his great love through the internet right now. I just pray that Christians rise up and use this moment well - to encourage, lift up, celebrate each other, bring hope and comfort. Blessings to you and your family.

    1. I hope so, too, Anne! I really do! This is the time when Christian writers need to speak to this issue and offer all you've listed in your comment. I hope my words inspire writers today. Thanks for stopping by to comment.

      Thank you also for adding to this current conversation during a time of great struggle by sharing a post today about your upcoming book on Job and his sufferings. I find this very timely! The Lord superintended the timing of your project, knowing what our future held. May all of your writings receive many readers at this time, both your most recent post and your book soon to be released.

  7. Wonderful piece, Melinda. Thank you for encouraging us to turn the present difficulty into a time of ministry. This is a tragic time, but also a time to be on mission. I love how you pointed us to use the internet for the kingdom of God:

    "Here we offer God’s Word. We write the grace-filled encouragement that others need in order to keep going, to process their own mortality, and to know they aren’t alone."


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