Thursday, July 30, 2020

Reflections of God in our Stories by Elizabeth Goddard

My husband teaches pottery classes and recently completed firing the clay pieces in his kiln. I love to see what amazing creations will come out of that kiln! Considering he can never be quite sure how the glazes will turn out, or if something cracked during the firing, he’s always anxious to see the fruit of his labors as well. And really, it was no surprise when the bowls and bottles turned out exquisite (I could be a little biased). Fortunately, nothing had cracked during the process.

My husband staged the stunning pieces against the base of a tree and took pictures which he then shared on social media. I admired the images and shared them on my social media as well, but what really caught my attention was that my husband was reflected in his pottery as he took the pictures.

While this shouldn’t surprise me, the moment was ‘revelatory,’ if you will. The deeper context. . .I could see my husband in his work. My thoughts jumped straight to God. Our creator, the master potter, wants to see Himself in us when he looks at us. After all, we’re His work. We are the clay and He’s the Master Potter.

God wants others to see Him in us as well. We should reflect him.

The same is true of our writing.

Our writing should reflect God. Readers should see, feel or sense God in our writing, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. But I don’t think it’s something we have to work at to make happen. It can occur on its own.

Let me explain . . .

Christian writers often have varying degrees of a spiritual message in their books. When I’m writing a novel, I usually don’t set out knowing the spiritual theme, but I allow that to grow organically. I admit that sometimes the message is far from obvious, and other times it’s overt. I’m often surprised that readers will take away a different spiritual message from one of my books—regarding the same book, one reader might say it had no spiritual message, while another reader might say it contained a deep spiritual thread. How can that be? Either the message is there, or it’s not.

How about the spiritual message is in the eye of the beholder. For example, how many people have looked at the images of pottery without noticing my husband’s reflection?

I believe as Christian writers, even if our books have no overt message, God is reflected throughout the stories, and it’s up to the reader to pick up on that or not. Christian writers—those who truly love God—can’t help but reflect the Creator in their work.

In my latest release, Don’t Keep Silent, I wrote the story and the various spiritual themes emerged on their own. In fact, the title came later, as did the scripture that confirms the title and the story:

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. Proverbs 31:8–9

As one reviewer put it, “A major theme of this book, indicated by the title, is knowing when to remain silent, and when to speak up. It reminds us to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves; keeping quiet about wrongdoing is just another form of evil; and the implications of what can happen when we keep silent.” (Sara Wise

So draw close to Him daily and your writing is sure to reflect Him, and in the end, I believe this is the ultimate reason God calls us to write, so that we can reveal Him to those who are looking for Him, as well as to some who are not.

Our writing should reflect God. Readers should see, feel or sense God in our writing, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. @bethgoddard #seriouslywrite

I believe as Christian writers, even if our books have no overt message, God is reflected throughout the stories, and it’s up to the reader to pick up on that or not. Christian writers—those who truly love God—can’t help but reflect the Creator in their work. @bethgoddard #seriouslywrite

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Don’t Keep Silent Blurb:

Investigative reporter Rae Burke will do anything to find her missing sister-in-law, even if it means facing Liam McKade, a man who almost lost his life saving hers. A former DEA agent, Liam thought he could find peace at his Wyoming ranch, but he just doesn't feel at home anywhere anymore. When the reporter who blew his cover on an important investigation inserts herself back into his life, he's less than thrilled. But Rae's keen investigative skills have led her down the right path--and directly into the dragon's mouth--leaving Liam no choice but to protect her. As the danger increases, the past they both tried to flee catches up to them, along with the feelings they once had for each other.

Bestselling and award-winning author Elizabeth Goddard plunges you into a fast-paced, high-stakes story of honor, forgiveness, and justice.

With over one million books sold, Elizabeth Goddard is the bestselling, award-winning author of over forty romance novels and counting, including the romantic mystery, THE CAMERA NEVER LIES--a 2011 Carol Award winner. Four of her six Mountain Cove books have been contest finalists. Buried, Backfire and Deception are finalists in the Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense, and Submerged is a Carol Award finalist. A 7th generation Texan, Elizabeth graduated from North Texas State University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and worked in high-level software sales for several years before retiring to home school her children and fulfill her dreams of writing full-time.

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  1. I love how we can share the love of God through stories. I enjoy reading your stories. :-)

  2. Hmmmm....lots to think about here. I needed to hear this as I’ve
    Been trying to hard to ‘put’ God unto my writing, rather than
    Allowing HIM to put Himself there.

    1. So glad! This message was for you then. :) Yes, you can hardly contain Him as you write as long as you are drawing close to Him! Blessings! Beth

  3. Thanks, Melissa!! I love that too. God is so good!

  4. Thanks for sharing, Elizabeth! It's sometimes interesting and surprising what themes come through my stories - even when I think I have it all planned out. LOL!

    I didn't intend for my first historical romance to have an overt spiritual theme. I thought I was going to weave one in subtly. Instead, several themes came through, and they were very clear. But they made sense to what the characters had experienced in their lives - and were experiencing at the time.

    1. Exactly! I love it when that happens, and I feel like God is teaching me something too when I go back and read what I've written and that spiritual nugget is right there for me to pick up!

  5. Lovely post - we should be a reflection of God. I really enjoy your books!

  6. Amen! Preach it sister! LOL I'm glad you enjoy my books too. :)

  7. Elizabeth, what a perfect “revelatory” moment for you when seeing your husband’s reflection. As Christian writers, our stories should reveal our hearts for God. At a conference I attended one author said she uses a pen name so her mother wouldn’t know what she was writing. My immediate thought was “But God does.” So you can tell where I come from. I hope my love for our Lord shines in every word I write. Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts!

    1. Exactly! God sees everything, so yes everything we do should be not only a reflection of him, but also done in an attitude of worship! Thanks so much for sharing! Blessings! Beth

  8. Elizabeth, thanks for guest blogging on Seriously Write! I thoroughly enjoyed your post. And I must say your husband creates beautiful pottery. I always pray my writing will reflect Christ. I used to work with a woman who told me she grasped more from fiction than nonfiction because she was able to see how the characters reacted to trials. Of course that’s a paraphrase. It makes me realize the importance of what we write.

    I look forward to having you guest again soon!

    1. Terri, it's like Jesus telling parables, we can understand so much more sometimes through story! I'm so privileged that God called me to write. Thanks for having me!


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