Friday, June 12, 2020

Grace in the Midst of the Storm by Carol Cox

Carol Cox
There may be days when you feel worn down from all that’s currently happening in the world. Many writers are finding it difficult to focus, and creativity sometimes feels elusive. Today, let's soak in these encouraging words from author Carol Cox
~ Dawn

Grace in the Midst 
of the Storm

Back when quarantine and shutdowns were just a possibility and not a fact, who would have anticipated the upheaval we’ve lived through over the past months?

All of us have had to adapt and adjust as we walk along this uncharted path. One of the biggest hurdles many of us have faced is trying to figure out how to carry on with any semblance of normalcy in the midst of the unknown, both in our day-to-day lives and in our writing.

You may have more people at home than usual, claiming your time and attention.

You may have been battling the virus on a personal level—dealing with it yourself or caring for a loved one.

You’ve probably seen your routine completely upended.

You may be experiencing quarantine fatigue, where your mind simply doesn’t want to function.

It’s hard to focus when your thoughts are spinning in a zillion directions at once, especially when you’re trying to assess outcomes for every action you might take. Novelists already tend to live in a world of “what-ifs.” That’s a great asset when plotting fiction, but not so much when trying to navigate the real world with any degree of certainty.

I’m a plotter, a planner. In life and in writing, I like knowing where I’m heading and having a road map that shows me how to get there. That works out well when I’m mapping out a story. My characters face challenges galore on the way to their happy ending, but I’m the one who put those hardships in their way, and I know how the plot will end. When I’m the one facing all the twists and turns, I find I don’t like it any more than my characters do.

But then I’m reminded of the Author who’s writing my story… and that His ways are not my ways. Since He’s promised that all things work together for good for those who love Him, that’s an indication that I need to start looking at things from a different perspective—

I’ve been spending large chunks of time with the people I love most. That is a priceless opportunity, and I want to savor every moment.

Staying at home has provided an abundance of extra time. Spending that time in Bible study and prayer may be just what I’ve needed in order to focus on what’s important in His eyes, not mine.

But what about that moment when I sit down to write, and the words simply don’t flow? What do I do with the guilt, with the feelings of failure, of not doing enough, of letting myself and other people down? Of letting Him down?

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned during this unusual time is that’s it’s okay to extend grace to myself as well as to others. God not only knows the number of hairs on my head, He also knows the number of words I’ll write—or not—on any given day. And my word count does not affect the depth of His love for me.

As Christian writers, we’re called to share His message with the world. But we also need to refill our own well at times so we’re able to share that truth with others. A good comparison would be the airline mandate to put on your own oxygen mask first, so you can be prepared to help others.

If the words won’t come, let me encourage you to let go of the guilt and take time to just BE. Allow yourself time to dig deeper into His word—time to spend with the Lover of your soul.

We’re living in uncertain days, to be sure. But just what is certain in this world? As believers, our certainty is in Christ—the One who promised He would never leave or forsake us. The One who invites us to cast all our anxieties on Him.

In the midst of all this disruption, there is still hope. No matter how big the storm or how chaotic the situation, there is hope in Christ. We have the amazing privilege of shining the light of that hope into the dark places of a world in desperate need of truth. But we can’t do that effectively if our own tank is running on empty.

Let’s take this time of forced inactivity and turn it into a season of growth and renewal.

Let’s focus on refilling the well so we can continue to share His story in a way that reaches the world.

God not only knows the number of hairs on my head, He also knows the number of words I’ll write—or not—on any given day. #seriouslywrite #tipsforwriters via @AuthorCarolCox
We’re living in uncertain days, to be sure. But just what is certain in this world? #seriouslywrite #tipsforwriters via @AuthorCarolCox
Let’s take this time of forced inactivity and turn it into a season of growth and renewal. #seriouslywrite #tipsforwriters via @AuthorCarolCox

Ticket to Tomorrow
Ticket to Tomorrow

Annie Trenton has two goals when she travels to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair…

First and foremost, she’s determined to see her late husband Will’s genius recognized by displaying his last invention, a horseless carriage, at the great exposition. She arrives in Chicago with Will’s absent-minded partner, Silas Crockett, thrilled at the idea that millions of fairgoers will be able to see and admire their innovative creation.
Secondly, she hopes to heal the breach between herself and her in-laws, an estrangement that hurt Will deeply.

Her plans never included feeling an attraction to Nick Rutherford, Silas’s nephew and a performer with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show…

…or learning that her in-laws are scheming to steal the rights to Will’s invention…

…or an innocent mix-up at the station that will throw her, Nick, and Silas into a world of deceptions, conspiracies, and danger.

Carol Cox is the author of 30 novels and novellas. With over one million copies of her books in print, those titles range from historical romantic suspense to contemporary romance and cozy mysteries, often set in her native Southwest. She and her family enjoy rural life in northern Arizona, where the deer and the antelope really do play--often within view of the family's front porch.

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