Thursday, January 31, 2013

LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE


LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE


Sandra here to welcome you to another day in this new year. Can you believe it is already the end of January?  And one of my favorite months is coming up. February.

Valentine’s Day should be a national holiday for romance writers and readers.
Don’t you think?

I mean a celebration that includes love, chocolate and flowers.  Wowza.




But on a more serious note I want to talk about something that has been heavy on my mind. After the tragic shooting of the children last month I read a statement that has been rumbling in my head. The question was, “Where were you God?” and the answer was “You took Me out of your schools.”  I can’t remember where I read this but it has been haunting me.

It is a question I have been dealing with as a writer. By writing for the ABA market, am I taking God out of my writing? Or am I bringing Him where He needs to be?

When Current of Love was due to come out, I signed with writerspace.com because they are touted as being a wonderful publicist. They represent many best selling authors who are friends of mine. But if any of you joined me on some of my chats you could see that they also represented authors who wrote genres that most Christians wouldn’t want to read.

So I’m thinking to myself, should I be here?

When I met some of the personnel from Amazon Publishing at the RWA conference in Anaheim last year, one of them made the comment, “Oh I bet you are glad that you will be able to write a lot of sex now.”

So I’m thinking, is that what Montlake wants? Is this where I want to be?

When I was writing for Avalon, they had me take out obvious references to God.  They wanted wholesome stories that didn’t have controversial elements such as religion, sex, violence. As a Christian author, I could certainly show God’s presence without telling. This was done by the actions of the characters, their values and their love.

Even though God wasn’t named, God was still there.  It warmed my heart when Vince said in one of his comments on our blog that he thought Price of Victory was very spiritual. God was still there and He reached a lot of people through that book.

I believe He is at Montlake as long as I am there. My stories will continue to be wholesome and my characters will show Christian values and love.

And I believe He was at writerspace when I was there. I didn’t mention Him, but I showed His presence by my comments and how I responded to the publicity.



God has a way of reaching out to the lost that we can’t even begin to imagine.
I grew up as a Christian but I rebelled and left the church when I was an adult and didn’t return to a relationship with the Lord until I was in my forties. When I realized I needed a relationship with Him, there was no way I was going to go to church to find Him. I walked the park every morning and He sent a Christian to witness to me. See, He caught me where I was—in the park. And thankfully there was a Christian available in the park to be that witness.

And when I found that relationship, the Lord found ways to use me where I was. I taught in a public school at the time. Well as mentioned above, we can’t mention the Lord in a public school. But the LORD WAS THERE. I insisted on the minute of silence and explained very explicitly what that meant. I would explain to the students that in the old days we prayed in class to start the day, but now that there were so many different religions in our country and we have the first amendment to the constitution, we had a minute of silence instead. They were allowed to pray to whomever they wanted to and if they didn’t want to pray, they could be silent and think positive thoughts about their day. Then I would go on to explain that since I was a Christian, I prayed to God the Father, in the name of His Son, Jesus and invited the Holy Spirit into the classroom. They also came to know that I took that minute of silence very seriously.

As time went on, the students would really get into that minute of silence. They would ask for it all the time when a friend was ill, or if there was a problem in the class. One time I couldn’t find my keys and one student advised “Teacher, you need to have a minute of silence.” Sure enough we did and the Lord was always faithful to show the students what the minute of silence accomplished.

And ALWAYS there would be students who would ask questions that I couldn’t answer about prayer, the Lord, etc.  But ALWAYS there would be a student in the class who would volunteer to answer and I would tell them to talk about it during recess.

And there were Christian parents on the board who insisted on maintaining Christian values in our schools. One school I was at had astrology signs painted on the walls in the hallway. Christian parents went to the board and insisted the walls be repainted.

Are you getting my point? Even though technically, we couldn’t bring God into the classroom and school, because there were Christians in it, He was there.

And this goes for writing too.

I remember the national RWA conference in Reno in 2005. Debbie Macomber was the keynote speaker. It was not a Christian conference, but Ms. Macomber’s speech was all about how God had worked in her life.  She barely mentioned God, just in a brief reference that she had prayed about her decision to write. But all of her actions, decisions, behavior were a bright witness of God’s love. No one was expecting that. The whole audience was given a taste of the Lord because she is a Christian and she was there. She wasn’t trying to convert anyone nor was it on the agenda as a Christian event, but it happened and lives were impacted.

That is what He has been reminding me of whenever I begin to doubt the path my writing is taking.

I belong to both ACFW and RWA. I belong to the local chapters for both. And while I love being able to pray before a conference or meeting, I also feel it is important to continue to attend the RWA meetings and conferences. By my presence there, the Lord can be there also.

I don’t talk about Him all the time, nor do I evangelize. Those aren’t my gifts. But I must reflect Him somehow because whether I’m at school, at writer’s meetings, on the pickleball court or with family and friends, people come to me and ask me to pray for them or they come and talk to me about problems, etc.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t isolate yourself because you are a Christian. Get out there in the world and let your light shine. You will be used in amazing and miraculous ways. It isn’t an accident that all four of the Gospels have the command to not hide the lamp under a basket, but to let the light shine. Think of all the ways we can show God’s love in our actions, reactions, lifestyle, interaction with others.

My word this new year was to listen and obey. So I will continue to participate in the world activities where I am led. I will continue to write what I am inspired to write. And I will stop questioning where my work goes.  Hopefully by staying close to Him, His light will shine through me.



How is your light shining? What ways does the Lord use you? I love all the testimonies I hear in Seekerville.

God does love variety doesn’t He?

Please help yourself to a cup of steaming coffee or hot chocolate on this chilly day and share your stories.

Commenters will be put in for a drawing of their choice of one of my books. As announced in the Weekend Edition, CODY THE COYOTE is now out and all of my picture books are on ITUNES. Remember that I write my children's books under my maiden name Sandy Wardman.



Or if you prefer, I will make a $100.00 donation to your charity of choice. I received my first check from Amazon and was pleasantly pleased. So I have to find more places to tithe. smile


114 comments:

Jan Drexler said...

Sandra! thanks for this reminder. You're right. As Christians we bear the name of Christ everywhere we go, in every word we speak and in every word we write - and we need to be conscious of that.

Oh, and put me in the drawing! I know exactly where I would have you send that $100.00!

Christina Rich said...

Wow, Sandra!

I don't know where to begin. I pray I don't live without my light shining. Here lately I've been feeling a little pulled thin, but I have to remind myself that I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me. Somehow, inadvertently, I have been ministering to a relative by marriage whose marriage is complete chaos, right now. That has been humbling and a blessing.

And I've had two girls, one teen and a pre-teen in various geographical areas ask about writing. It's a chance for me to mentor and shine my light. Again, it's humbling to think God would use me in this area.

I was just renewing some of my memberships yesterday (tonight)to groups that I kind of just fell off the face of the Earth from. Life got crazy and I freaked and closed off. Yet, some of those people, even the non-Christians were a blessing to me and I hope I was to them. I had second guessed renewing, but felt led to go ahead and do so. Who knows what God has in store.

I wanted to tell you, too. I'm struggling with the ending of my 2nd Biblical, which is a whole different 'shine you light' thing. Anyway, was feeling a little down. Sunsets play a big part in my heroine's call upon the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. Your picture made me smile. It gives me courage to press on and trust in Him and this Old Testament story He gave me to write.

Thank you!

Christina Rich said...

Oh, put me in for the drawing too. I know exactly where I'd put it too.

Vince said...

Hi Sandra:

Unless your goal is to save the already saved or to preach to the choir, it would seem you will have to reach out among the non-Christians. There are many ways to do this.

Christ took a lot of criticism for working among publicans and sinners (even prostitutes.)


“When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”
On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Matthew 9: 11-13

Plato taught many ‘Christian’ values so well, four hundred years before Christ, that there was a move in the early church to make Plato a saint. These values can be taught without mentioning Christ. And those already holding these “Christian” values will discover in Christ a welcome voice when the introduction is made.

In the bible it says, “By their fruit you will recognize them.” Matthew 7:16.

By living Christian values we are doing God’s work. Rest assured. God is everywhere. He does not need anyone anywhere in order to have a presence there. Christians are useful, however, in making God’s presence manifest. I believe this is the ‘light’ we need to let shine.

Demonstrating Christian values in books by non-Christian publishers seems like a mission worth serving. And that you have done very well.

Vince

P.S. I would like to win, CODY THE COYOTE.

Edwina said...

Sandra,

Thanks for a great article and reminder that we are God's light in the world.

Please enter me in the drawing - I have a great cause that can use the $100!

Blessings!

Cindy W. said...

What a wonderful post Sandra. I needed it this morning. God knew that.

When I am at work, people seek me out now for prayer. We were a privately owned Christian company until 2008 and could speak openly. Now we are publicly owned and have to watch what we say. But people know I love to pray for people and when they need it they seek me out in my office. I think that is part of the reason I am still there!

Would love to be entered into your giveaway.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Sandra, this touched me so much. And the comments, ladies and my buddy Vince.... You guys rock....

Sandra, remember the sweet romances of our youth? They weren't inspirational in a religious fashion, but they were morally strong and beautifully written. I see your novels for Montlake/Avalon in that light, strong moral premise and beauty. God's light shines in the darkest of tunnels, so of course it's shining through your gentle words. And I just love, love, love Current of Love (and the Ruthy-quote on the back, lol!!!! I can't believe I didn't see that until yesterday!!! I'm such a dork!

Christina go ahead and write it. And then let it sit in your head a little. I'm amazed by how often I get nudges from the Holy Spirit that make me see little things I need to tweak once I've written the book... once you've relaxed into finishing it, those little thoughts will help you tweak and polish... or change it completely. I've done both.... I can't wait to read it. I'm totally psyched!

VINCE I'm with you totally. Preaching to the choir is fine, but how nice to reach those who might not normally pick up an inspy novel. And Sandra's work is the perfect transition. Lovely, sweet and romantic.

Cindy you're one of those folks who don't have to say too much for people to know you're on their side. Great gift, just wonderful!

Hey, coffee's here, it's hot and fresh and I brought donuts from Tops Markets this morning because they've changed their supplier and I think they have the best donuts around now... try them and see. I've got a huge selection of faves and if you don't see what you like, let me know... I'll bring more!

Mary Curry said...

Sandra, this is such a beautiful, inspiring post to start my day.

I've mentioned before a favorite prayer of mine. "Dear Lord,help me to live this day so that others may see You in me."

I like to think we can extend it to our writing as well.

I do agree with you that reaching out in gentle, welcoming ways, is doing the Lord's work. Thank you, Vince, for the scriptural support.

Jackie said...

What a great post. I've often told my youngest son (who is now a college tennis player) that the tennis court is his mission field. No matter if he's winning or losing he needs to reflect God's love there.
It's been amazing really over the years how many friends he's made through tennis in the south east states. He's a solid player, not the best and won't go pro, but I hope he'll continue to be a light to others.
Please add my name to the drawing. I've got a non-profit charity striving to be God's light also.
Thanks for this post!
Jackie L.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Morning Jan, You must be a night owl. First one here today.

Yep, we do need to be sos aware. My dh often looks at me after I have some ungodly outburst and says, "Well so much for being a saint." Makes me laugh. And then repent. LOL

Sandra Leesmith said...

HI CHRISTINA, Hi there, I'm so tickled you like the photo. My brother-in-law took it. He introduced me to Pinterest.

Isn't it amazing what inspires us? Or what God sends our way to nudge our imaginations?

And you're so right. I too have been blessed by non-Christians as well. And I know meeting them is never an accident.

Rose said...

Sandra,

The old adage, actions speak louder than words, come to mind today when I read your post.

I totally agree that a writer can show God's presence without saying it's there.

Glad you were pleasantly surprised with your royality check! Put me in the drawing, like Jan, I know exactly where I'd have you send it-and what a wonderful giveaway idea!

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, Sandra! If we're walking close to God (as you say, listening and obeying), we'll shed His light along the path wherever he leads us. I don't believe that means being "confined" to the CBA market, and your books illustrate this beautifully.

kaybee said...

This is great. We need to remember why we do this, and to take any avenue that is offered to share Him.
Kathy Bailey

Sandra Leesmith said...

HI VINCE,
You have brought a lot of light into my world and here is another ray. Of course God doesn't need us anywhere to have a presence. I am so chuckling. LOL

Interesting about Plato. Thanks for sharing that bit of history.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hello EDWINA, You have certainly been a light here in Seekerville.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi CINDY, Isn't it amazing when people come to you? I think that is precious. And it is good for you also, not just them. Praying at work helps keep you focused. It worked that way for me anyway.

Sandra Leesmith said...

RUUUUTHY. You just NOW are noticing that???? You are toooo funny.

Ruthy critiqued Current of Love for me btw. And any of you who have been blessed with a Ruthy critique know what I've been through. sigh.

But it was well worth listening to her. smile

Thanks for the donuts. I can't believe I forgot to bring food. I think I'm still recovering from the holiday overload.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi MARY, What a great prayer to start the day. I"m writing that one down. smile

Annie Rains said...

What a powerful post! I've been struggling with whether or not to stick to inspirational or to do non-inspirational, but to reflect God as much as I can in that genre. It's really been waying on my mind lately because I want to be where God wants me--I just don't know where that is. I love what you said about this. It's a timely post for me. Thank you so much.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi JACKIE, Yes, the tennis court is a super place to witness. All sports are because every sport has a winner and a loser. And you are so public on the court.

Thanks for sharing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi ROSE, Yes, I love how you put it. "Actions speak louder than words" Isn't that the "show don't tell" we always struggle with as writers?

Sandra Leesmith said...

HI GLYNNA, Thanks girlfriend. Hey are you warming up any? I hear its been below zero your way.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Thanks KAYBEE. Interesting photo btw

Bridgett Henson said...

There’s a game I play with my children’s’ group at church. I give them a flashlight and tell them to turn it on. In a brightly lit room their flashlights don’t have an impact, but in the darkness the light is clearly seen.

Guess that’s why Jesus commanded “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel.”

By the same token, there is a calling for shepherds of the flock as well.

Great Post, Sandra!

Wherever God places us, may our lights shine brightly for Him.

Bridgett Henson said...

Btw: Received Current of Love on Monday. I can’t wait to read it. And enter me in the drawing.

Glynna Kaye said...

Sandra -- We've had some bitterly cold days this month. Way below zero at night. It warmed to the mid-upper 30's/low 40's for awhile so we had over 2 1/2 inches of RAIN over the weekend!! Wonderful! Then it turned cold again and brought more snow. :)

squiresj said...

Some days I find it harder than ever to let my light shine. But even if God was in schools, it would not keep the enemy from trying to kill people. It is people who do not love God who would take lives of innocent children. They will face God for their deeds. It says if they hurt one of those little ones it is best they be cast into lake with rocks around their neck and drowned. So as long as evil is in the world, things will happen. Also government trying to stop citizens from protecting themselves and their families is not the answer. When I lived in Pine bluff, AR. It was hard even as a parent to get to classroom to see teacher. They locked the school down as soon as kids were in class. Security guards roamed the playgrounds and escourted children to and from buses to their classrooms. I took cookies one day and had to be buzzed in by office both as I went to class and when I got to door of class.
jrs362 at hotmail dot com
Please enter in contest

Jeanne T said...

Sandra, I am so encouraged by your post. You are right, God is with us, and sometimes we witness more strongly to His presence in our lives without a single word being spoken.

I loved that you had a moment of silence in your classroom when you were a teacher. I never did that and I wish I had. I did have students talk with me about the Lord, though, but I didn't say much as I also worked in a public school.

Anyway, I love your thoughts. Please put me in the drawing. I know many organizations I can choose from. :)

Sandra Leesmith said...

HI BRIDGETT, Yes, we need shepherds, sheep, everything. As Vince reminded us, God is everywhere. And His plans for us are amazing and certainly different fro each one of us. That is why it is so fun to read about everyone's personal ventures.

Hope you enjoy Current of Love.

Sandra Leesmith said...

GLYNNA I'm freeeeezing just to read about it.

Stay warm.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi SQUIRESJ, Yes, it is a shame that we have to be "locked down" in school. And you are right, the evil one prowls around like a lion. We have to use wisdom in our endeavors and LISTEN to the Holy Spirit. Thankfully we have the Holy Spirit to help us in these troubling times. My heart just aches when you see and hear about the many trials and tribulations so many are facing. Not only spiritual, but physical, economic, war, etc.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi JEANNE T, How exciting. Another teacher. Those children were ALWAYS teaching me more than I ever taught them. LOL

Did you say worked as in past tense?

Terri said...

Excellent post! I was so glad you said God was at that school, it bothers me so much when I read people's comments who infere God wasn't there. God never forsakes us because of laws of the land.

Sounds like you were an awesome teacher!

Pepper said...

Great post, Sandra...with a wonderful message.
I work in a state university where most of the people believe very differently than I do - but I'm so thankful to know God's placed me right where he wants me. He changes lives by starting with His kids - and planting them in places where His bloom in them will grow.

I think sometimes he uses our spoken/written words, and then other times he uses our unspoken words to influence people. It's always so amazing to me that Jesus went to where the need was - if the people needed a story, he gave them one. If they needed 'sign language', he gave them that, if they just needed a touch, that's what he gave them.

It's humbling and beautiful to know that He uses us in that very same way - and as we grow in Him, we become more and more aware of it.
So cool!

Marianne Barkman said...

Awesome! i know this word can be used too much, and personally i have been guilty of that, but couldn't find a better word for this. Sandra, you rock! i read the same piece about God not being in the schools, and in a way that is correct, but i love how you say that where a Christian is, there God is. And i love how your novels can draw in the non-believer subtly, without blaring out that this is ALL about God. Honey draws more than vinegar, and i think, too that many people shy away from certain authors (again, i'm guilty) because of the preachiness of the novel. Thanks for the coffee and donuts...have you tried Tim Hortons for either? Need to get them into the southern states. Thanks again for another enjoyable morning, and yes, i know of a non-charitable organization that could use a bit of a boost.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi PEPPER, I bet you do have an interesting bunch of people at the university. I love university life. We live close to ASU and all those young people around are so much fun.

Knowing you, I can just picture the wonderful light you shine at your university. smile

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi MARIANNE, My mother used to pound into my head the expression "honey catches more flies than vinegar"

Just with that, you've brought a big smile this morning.

And no, haven't tried Tim Horton's coffee or donuts. I'm always game though. smile Bring some over.

Pepper said...

Aww, Sandra - that's sweet of you! ASU, as in Appy State?

Sandra Leesmith said...

oops, the pooches just woke up. Have to take them for a sunrise walk. Beautiful red sky this morning. I'll be back in half an hour.

While I'm gone, I'm perking up another pot of chocolate velvet coffee.

Sandra Leesmith said...

PEPPER its ASU as in Arizona State University.

Pepper said...

HA! Yeah, that's where I was confused. I was thinking...NO WAY, you're THAT close?!? :-)

Julie Lessman said...

Sandra, I echo Annie -- "What a POWERFUL post," my friend -- LOVE IT!!

You said: "I believe He is at Montlake as long as I am there."

WOW, that gave me chills (good ones) because when Light walks into a dark room, it ALWAYS dispels the dark, which is what YOU are doing, my friend ... and quite well, I might add!!

I remember when I used to work in a large travel company where everyone sat in their own cube, so there were miles and miles of cubes on a floor. One day I was praying in my cube about something, and in my mind's eye I saw shafts of light shining up at the ceiling from all over the company, like flashlights, and there was one shining up from my cube too. In my spirit I felt like God was saying, "Julie, you're not alone ... My light shines through all these people throughout this building because they belong to Me, just like you ...

It gave me goosebumps then as now, because it is SO true!! We are walking, breathing flashlights pointing the way to God, so we sure in the heck better make sure our batteries are charged at all times!! :)

Hugs,
Julie

Melanie Dickerson said...

Sandra, this is such a beautiful post. I love it! You are so right: Wherever we are, God is there, if we are letting our light shine. We don't have to evangelize to let our shine! I think some Christians don't realize this, but you have proven that it's true!

Sometimes I worry that my books will put people off, because they are overtly Christian. And maybe they do put some people off, but those same people could be influenced by a Sandra--someone like you who shines her light in a million different ways--and then maybe they will remember something they read in my book and will see it in a completely different way.

What I'm trying to say is that we all are shining God's light, even though we don't all write the same, and that is a good thing. So keep up the great work, Sandra. I am glad you're doing what you're doing!

Myra Johnson said...

I agree--a powerful post, Sandra! What a clear and meaningful reminder that as Christians we are (or should be) Christ's messengers wherever circumstances take us.

pol said...

Sandra I so loved reading your comments today on the post, so meaningful. I have this book in my TBR stack about Victory so will have to pull it to the top now...
my word for the new year is LOVE so your post really hit me in many ways. We strive to do our best each day and hope that somehow we have shed some light on our Father above. He definately lights the way for us and we need to follow his example more.
Thanks for sharing today, I too have a charity that I support and would like be in your drawing for this. Giving is important in our daily walk.
Paula O

Elaine Clampitt said...

Sandra,
Your post reminds me of our churches "theme" for this year. "Get out of the house", as in get out of the doors of the church and live your life where there are people who need to see and experience it. That is what I want for my writing. I am also a member of both ACFW and RWA and am writing sports romance. I hope to find a publisher this year and am seriously considering ABA because of the people I want to reach. We'll see what God has in store.

Thanks for sharing.
Elaine

Library Lady said...

The Lord has used me for 34 years in the Church Library. I pray that He will continue to use me for many years to come.
If I win the $100 I would use it to buy books for the library.
Thank you for passing along your Blessing!
Janet E.
von1janet(at)gmail(dot)com

Library Lady said...

The Lord has used me for 34 years in the Church Library. I pray that He will continue to use me for many years to come.
If I win the $100 I would use it to buy books for the library.
Thank you for passing along your Blessing!
Janet E.
von1janet(at)gmail(dot)com

Hallee Bridgeman said...

This is a beautiful post. Thank you.

Hallee

Sandra Leesmith said...

Doggone PEPPER wouldn't it be a kick if I was that close. Maybe better I'm not or we would never get any writing done. LOL

Sandra Leesmith said...

JULIE, I got goosebumps too just reading that. Wow. What a gift the Lord gave you to see that. Reminded me of Elisha when he suddenly saw the army surrounding him.

Isn't it lovely how God sends those moments when we need them? He does spoil us.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Yes MELANIE, you got what I was trying to say. It doesn't matter how and where we shine, what matters is that we do. We are all needed in our own special way. We are all used in our own special way. Which is why we are all so unique. Don't you just love it?

And I really laughed when you said you worry about saying too much and here I am worrying about saying too little. You know who the author of worry is? my my

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi MYRA, and you are a wonderful light shining bright in my life anyway. smile

Sandra Leesmith said...

Ooh PAULA, I love your word for the year. LOVE. Now that's definitely a word that will provide light all around.

I'm guessing that is why we all love romance. Love, love, love.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi ELAINE, Great going on sports romance. And don't get your mind set on where you think you'll be LOL. Just be available everywhere because you may be pleasantly surprised as I was.

btw I love sports romance so be sure and let us know when that gets published. (Notice I said when and not if)

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi LIBRARY LADY, What fun to be involved in a library that long. I think in my heaven there will surely be lots of libraries. smile

Sandra Leesmith said...

Thanks for joining us HALLEE.

Mary Connealy said...

Ah, Valentine's Day. Such fond memories of Romance.
I remember the year when My Cowboy asked me what I wanted for Valentine's Day and I said, "How about a box of chocolates."
And he said, "You don't need the calories."

Pardon me while I am overcome with sentimental tears!!!!!

Digging for Pearls said...

Thanks for the reminder Sandra. This was the theme at my son's homeschool graduation this past May. We have an opportunity every day to let our light shine for Him.

Blessings,
Jodie Wolfe

Vince said...

Hi Ruth:

You must be a genius! Your comment, “Preaching to the choir is fine” was prophetic.

After I wrote my post, very late last night, I went to sleep but soon woke up in the middle of the night to a voice that said, “I want the choir to be preached to!”

First thing this morning I added this quote to my website:

“What many people forget is that someone does need to preach to the choir. The word of God is the water of spiritual life.”

And then Julie writes this today:

“We are walking, breathing flashlights pointing the way to God, so we sure in the heck better make sure our batteries are charged at all times!! :)”

Preaching to the choir charges their batteries.

A light just went on!

In short, we need every kind of Christian writer. Each author is important in God’s plan. The amazing beauty of “Price of Victory” is that it also attracts large numbers of bicycle enthusiasts who don’t normally read romances or Christian fiction. Now that’s having a great platform in a difference sense of the word.

MARY: I think your little prayer sums up a whole philosophy of life:

"Dear Lord, help me to live this day so that others may see You in me."

I’ve printed this out in centered 48 point Century type on four lines and put it on my wall next to Debby Giusti’s “Writer’s Prayer” (both are the same size) and my one word “Rejuvenate”.

I think it really helps to always stay focused.


Thanks everyone.

Vince

Tina Radcliffe said...

Sorry Sandra, but I had to laugh at this...

"They wanted wholesome stories that didn’t have controversial elements such as religion, sex, violence."

That darn religion, always being controversial. LOL Okay, just my perverse sense of humor sneaking in.

Sandra Leesmith said...

MARY you are tooooooo funny. I hope you taught that cowboy that a box of chocolates is going to get him a lot more than calories. LOL

Sandra Leesmith said...

Wow JODIE you don't look old enough to have a son graduating. smile

Digging for Pearls said...

Ha! Ha! My sons are almost 19 and 22 and I have an eight month old granddaughter. :)

Blessings,
Jodie

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hey VINCE. So True.

You were listening. That's my word. LOL

Melanie said the same thing. We do need reminders. All of us. And its so interesting to see all the different ways we are used and spoken to. Dreams, other people, events, etc. One of my favorites is animals. I can't tell you how many times I've heard through one of the pets or a sighting of a wild animal. And He uses that with me cause he knows I pay attention there.

Rejuvenate. Great word.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Well TINA, it IS hysterically funny. I agree.

Sandra Leesmith said...

JODIE yikes-a grandmother too. Good for you.

I bet you're enjoying that.

Susan Anne Mason said...

Hi Sandra,

Thank you for this beautiful post today! Amazing!

I will try my best to let my light shine!

Speaking of prayers, could use some today. Hit with a blizzard. Hubby in a 3 car pile up this morning -he's okay but our new car is damaged. And I have to travel to take my son to the neurologist this afternoon. So need prayers for safe travels and that the doctor can come up with a way to help my son's headaches. (First day in about 2 weeks that he didn't wake up with one!)

Thanks everyone. You guys are amazing!

Put my name in Sandra and if I win, I'd love for you to donate to a charity! How wonderful.

Cheers,
Sue
sbmason at sympatico dot ca

CatMom said...

Oh Sandra....your post gave me chills today (and NOT because of the cold wind we have blowing in my part of Georgia, brrrr...). Seriously, I've been praying about joining a writers group that is not Christian--and I've been struggling with that decision. But after reading your post today, you've reminded me of some excellent points about how we can let our light shine for HIM! ~ When I taught in public schools for 21 years, I viewed that as a ministry of sorts, and although I wasn't supposed to talk about God and Christianity, when my little students questioned me I'd give them honest answers and explain that was what I believed. In my last few years of teaching I got very bold(LOL) and even had a small Nativity scene displayed in my Kindergarten classroom (the kiddos loved it!). Of course, my husband was so afraid I'd get fired but I was willing to take the chance. (Thankfully no one ever questioned me) ~ So THANK YOU for this excellent post today, and I'm sure YOU are a shining light wherever you are. Hugs, Patti Jo

CatMom said...

p.s. Sue Mason....bless your heart...PRAYING for you, sweet lady! ~ Hugs, PJ

Natalie Monk said...

Wonderful post, Sandra! Sometimes I've wondered if this writing thing is worth it. I've dreamed that writing would be my ministry, but so often I don't feel worthy or "qualified" to minister through fiction.

This post was so encouraging. There IS a mission field out there for writers and God CAN use someone like me. :)

Oh, I also wanted to mention that the Plot Whisperer consultation you generously provided as a giveaway some months back helped me so much! I've got my plot threads all in order and now I'm just fleshing out the scenes and getting ready to stitch it all together. Just wanted to thank you for such an awesome gift.

Jeanne T said...

SANDRA--Yes I workED as a teacher before I married my military man and moved a number of times early in our marriage. I love helping out in my kids' classrooms now, but I'm not eager to get back into teaching. :) It's always fun to meet another teacher.

Mary Connealy said...

Sandra this was a beautiful post. I know one of my enduring prayers is that God makes my words do more than I am capable of doing on my own.
I get letters from readers who talk about a message that came from my work and often I'll think, "Did I even put that in there? Or is God speaking to someone, using my words."

Being allowed to write is such a precious honor. I pray God can use me for his purpose.

Sherida Stewart said...

Wow! Seekerville provides at just the right time for me so many times!

Thank you, Sandra, for your perfect timing. I was indecisive about which way my WIP was headed, but you give me direction. My Christian voice will shine through my writing in many areas, perhaps quietly because that is the way God made me.

And "My One Word" this year is LIGHT! That word feels more perfect for me each day that I live with it and pray about what LIGHT means to my relationship with our Lord and my place in the world. I need to work on my blog post today--"My One Word"---LIGHT!

Thank you again! Your LIGHT is glowing for us all!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi SUSAN ANNE, You bet we're praying. Nothing like everything happening at once. yikes. Glad your husband is safe though. And I'm praying for the doctors also. Wisdom. smile

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi PATTI JO, A kindergarten teacher. Me too for the first twenty years. Then I couldn't bend down and tie shoes anymore so moved up to junior high for the last ten. LOL

Glad you'll be shining that light around. It always amazes me how we get used. smile

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi NATALIE, Oh I'm so excited to hear that the Plot Whisperer helped you out.

And I'm so tickled you are writing. We never know how we are going to be used. So many times it is without us even knowing it. That is why we need to stay close to HIm. At least I try to keep reminding myself of that. chuckle

Sandra Leesmith said...

JEANNE what a treasure you are to be in the classroom helping the teacher. A volunteer with training. woohoo That teacher is so thankful I'm sure.

Debby Giusti said...

Your light shines, Sandra, and the light of the Lord shines through you! Lovely blog.

The questions you raised are common. I've struggled, as well. I think most Christian writers grapple with similar concerns.

Some Christian writers shy away from the RWA Conference, but I love that environment and have many friends there. Often they ask me to pray with them before they pitch or meet with an editor. Our Faith, Hope and Love Chapter hosts a meeting and prayer session prior to the official opening of the RWA Conference and everyone attending the mega-event is lifted up, which, IMHO, is the perfect way to start on the right foot!

Your kids in the classroom were so lucky to have you as their teacher. The story about your missing keys and needing a moment of silence was so precious...perhaps a story for one of the Chicken Soup books.

I attended a funeral for a 27 year old today. His mom is a friend. So sad. Please remember parents Karen and Bob in your prayers today.

Off to my local book signing in a bit. Thanks to all those who have ordered books!

Hugs!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi MARY. Oh trust me, He is using you. But I know what you mean about what other people read into your writing. When I spoke at the reader club luncheon and all had read my book, I was amazed by some of their questions. My thoughts exactly. "Did I say that? I surely didn't mean what you think I did, but if that's what you got out of it. hooray."

Like I just said to Natalie, we often don't even know we are being used.

Sandra Leesmith said...

oooh SHERIDA, You gave me goosebumps. What a terrific word. Light. Thank you for sharing.

And I love the quiet voice.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi DEBBY, How heartbreaking and I will surely be praying today.

And I'm praying for a great turnout at your booksigning. The info is in last weekend's edition folks. Debby donates the proceeds to St Vincent de Paul food pantry. The phone number is 770 487 3977 for the Omega Bookstore.

Debby Giusti said...

Natalie, I never feel qualified or worthy...don't let that stop you from writing. Please! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Christina,

Praying you'll nail the ending.

And you will!!!

You are a writer!
You are a writer!
You are a writer!

Debby Giusti said...

Sue,

Praying for all the burdens you're carrying today.

Safe travel to the doc!

Hope you get good results!

Debby Giusti said...

Vince, I'm lovin' your wall with The Writer's Prayer!

Love Mary Curry's quote, as well!

Jenny Blake said...

Sandra thanks for this. I put a note on facebook about swearing in a Christian book and one comment basically said she hoped her book would get in the hands of non christians and reach them.
I was shocked because when I receive a christian fiction I dont expect any bad language and then I thought if she wants to reach the un-saved they don't want the in your face christian content. (this had a lot which for a Christian was good).
Your post shows you can write for the general public who want clean books with a faith element even if its not inspirational and also without bad language. It also shows that people want these books.
Thank you so much for this post as it totally validated my feelings on the issue.
Have a good international charity that the money would be well used for also.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi JENNY, There is indeed a market out there for good clean reads. I'm glad that was validated for you. Keep the faith. smile

Misty Russon said...

This post has made me think. Thank you for taking the time.
I would love to win the book!
mistyred1968@yahoo.com

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi MISTY, Thanks for joining us. Your name is in the hat.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Sandra, I never turned the book over. EVER.

Beth was holding it and commenting on how beautiful the cover was and wondering if she could borrow it and I said "sure..." And she flipped it over while she was asking if this was a book we worked on when we had time to critique in the dark ages and I said yes, and she said, "Hey, they used your endorsement on the back!"

DUH ON ME, AS USUAL.

But I did bring food... although I should be dieting. Or at least abstaining a little.

Sandra Leesmith said...

RUTHY I know what you did. You brought the food so you wouldn't eat it. I'm laughing because that is what I do. lol

Lyndee H said...

Not feeling very shiny today. Sorry, Sandra. Da flu, da flu...Congrats on the new book!

And I do believe in the phrase 'bloom where you are planted.' We have that potential every day, in every situation, and it seems like that's just what you've done with your writing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

LYNDEE I hope you are feeling better SOON. I'm sending prayers for you.

Great quote. Thanks

Walt Mussell said...

Sandra, this is a great post. It is especially meaningful to me as I am a member of RWA but not a member of ACFW. (I don't evangelize either. As a guy in a predominately female organization, I just try to keep my mouth shut and listen. :-) )

Pat Jeanne Davis said...

A very beautiful post, Sandra. So much to ponder and act on. Thank you for the challenge to let our light shine.
Please put my name in the drawing for your donation to a charity. God Bless.

Debra E. Marvin said...

Thanks Sandra! A lovely testimony to God's omnipresent character. It's so easy to forget we are just supposed to Love. Every dark place around us can be brighter if we are reflecting Him.

Cara Lynn James said...

Lovely post, Sandra! I think we need more Christian writers in the ABA. It's a gift to be able to show God to others without being preachy.

Jenny Blake said...

im back! I have a new modem and I know have proper connection. I have a new brace for my wrist which lets me use my fingers and type hasn't helped with the typo, good think I speak it fluently.
Oh I was lost without proper access.

Sandra your post was what I needed, it came at the perfect time.

ok now I have a zillion emails etc to work on and an over due post to put up.
hope to get to the overdue book reviews to but even with the new splint the wrist is saying no more for a bit.

Sandra Leesmith said...

WALT you are toooo funny. And wise.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Thank you PAT JEANNE. I'm always doing a lot of pondering. Its a good thing. Right?

Sandra Leesmith said...

Thanks CARA. You have a lovely gift of doing that yourself. I give your books out to others all the time. smile

Sandra Leesmith said...

DEBRA, you said the magic word. LOVE. Its amazing what a touch of that will do isn't it?

Sandra Leesmith said...

Welcome back JENNY. I so am in empathy with the Internet difficulty since I went two weeks with problems myself.

Some of you may have noticed that sweet Missy came on board and blogged the day I was supposed to last week. Today was supposed to be her day and we traded. Thank you MISSY.

So have fun catching up. That was a big event for me also. I'm still not caught up. sigh

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

I'm really, really late to this party but even if you don't see this comment, Sandra, I want to say you're a beautiful gift to me.

You live in the world, but are not of it. We're all called to live like this. I'd be happy to have my little hermitage, but that's not where God has called me to be. (Mean, so mean! :D)

I know families who have been made to feel 'less than' Catholic because they can't send their kids to Catholic school and that makes me very sad. I just remind my friends that their children are such wonderful witnesses wherever they go, no special uniforms required!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi VIRGINIA, you made it. hooray. You're not too late and I'm so tickled. You mean a lot to me also. smile Your light has brightened my day many times and just when I needed it the most.

Hermitage? Where? I want to come. Oh but then it wouldn't be a hermitage would it? LOL

Praying for your friends. We are so judgmental sometimes and it makes me sad.

Love the "no uniforms" comment.

Audra Harders said...

Sandra, you couldn't have said it any better. You don't have to be blatant about your faith. You live your life and let God do with your life what He has planned. It's incredible what those "moments of silence" can accomplish!

Thank you for sharing your insight today. It was timely and spoke to my heart.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hey AUDRA. Delighted to have touched your heart. You have touched mine so many times. smile

Mary Preston said...

He is always with us. I thank you for a wonderful post that spoke to me so clearly.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I love Walt's take on this.... He is a smart dude!

And DEBRA....

Amen.

tickmenot said...

I enjoyed reading how you brought God into the classroom!

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

Sandra,

*THWACK*

Thanks! I needed that! :)

Excellent analysis. Thank you for sharing how the Lord has been using you, and especially how He meets us where we are.

When doubts come, review your post here. I know I will often.

Our Lord dined with and otherwise ministered to sinners and tax collectors, right?! Why should I be any different?

I've been amazed at how May the K9 Spy (when incognito) and I have opportunities in schools and at festivals/fairs to show His Light. I pray that I don't miss the opportunity when it shows up!

All the best to you with your varied career, and thank you for doing what you do! Keep up the agathos work!

And congrats on Amazon! How exciting!!!!

Amber Schamel said...

Sandra,
Thank you for sharing your testimony! I understand what you are saying here. We were just reading in Galatians this morning about how Peter had stopped eating (really fellowshipping) with the Gentiles and the Lord rebuked him for it thru Paul. It is important to not be afraid to witness to those in darkness.

But I also think that it's important to keep a balance. We are to be in this world (not hiding from it) BUT not OF this world. However this doesn't mean that we can go anywhere we want to and do anything we want to under the guise of "witnessing" to people. My father was led astray by this lie in his younger days. He was a well established business man and his salesmen enjoyed going to "gentlemen's clubs" and it motivated them to make sales. My father started going along with them because he was very disciplined in his thoughts and he thought that he could witness to people there, but in the end he too fell prey to the spirits in that place. It wrecked his marriage, and our family, but blessedly, we serve a God of grace and redemption. This is why I feel like we really need to keep a balance here.

The Bible also instructs us to stay away from all appearances of evil. So it's all in balance. :)

Thank you again for sharing your testimony. I enjoyed the article very much. :)

I would love to be entered in the drawing. I have a favorite charity too.

Amber S.
Larkspur, CO