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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