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?