Janet here. I write for God so naturally I talk to Him about my career. When I’ve been most discouraged, He’s given me a contest final or win, a reader’s encouraging review, a Bible verse to claim. Countless times in countless ways He’s helped me do what He’s called me to do.
Often in amazing, practical ways like the times God’s provided specific help writing His stories. Snippets of dialogue, new aspects of my characters I hadn’t seen, plot elements that raise the stakes, twists and turns have sprung into my head and taken me by surprise.
To give you an example: One morning out of the blue the following popped into my mind: When you’ve been married to a polecat, it takes a while to get rid of the stench.
I was startled by that sentence and what it meant but I immediately wrote it down verbatim, figuring God had sent it so I needed to pay attention.
As I looked at that sentence several things became evident. I believed this statement came from a woman. A woman who had been married to a polecat. For those of you who don’t know what a polecat is, in my area polecat refers to a skunk. But this skunk wasn’t the four-legged, white stripe down the back variety. No, this skunk was a two-legged brute. Definitely not hero material. With divorce unacceptable at Love Inspired Historical that meant this woman was widowed. I didn’t know how her husband had died, but I sure knew she wasn’t grieving. :-) I also knew this wounded woman would not fall for another man any time soon. I wondered why she’d married this creep and suspected confidence in her judgment had been shaken.
That one sentence became my next story. I’m not one of those writers with stories fighting to get out of their heads and onto the page. I often struggle to find my next idea. Yet God just handed this one over. How cool is that?
I asked the Seekers if they’d had similar experiences where God gave them guidance with their careers, or support when they needed it most, or a seed of a story, even a full blown manuscript.
Ruthy Logan Herne shared her experience with a God-given story:
My dear, young friend Lisa had just found out she had breast cancer. A few of us decided to do a "Pink Garden" for her and she agreed...so we dug up and prepared a pretty plot in their yard. As I turned into the Garden Center for flowers, I was totally surrounded by "Pink". It was their Breast Cancer Awareness Day and as I looked around, the story for "The Lawman's Second Chance" flooded me. I saw a young woman whose husband didn't stand by her, and I could see Lisa running the family farm garden center and fighting a public battle to raise breast cancer awareness. The whole story was there, in my mind, the widower with kids whose wife was taken home to God vs. the woman whose husband left her to fight cancer alone. I called Lisa and Jeff, got their permission, went home and wrote the proposal for May's release "The Lawman's Second Chance".
Great to see how God gets His stories told. Thanks Ruthy!
Julie Lessman relayed this experience:
One of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had as an author was when I was writing my fifth book, A Heart Revealed. You see, this is a love story about a friendship that slowly ripens into romantic love between the hero and a heroine who was abused and battered by her husband. Only problem is—the rat husband is still alive back in Ireland. As an author who thrives on surprise endings, I didn’t want to do the obvious, so one autumn day I’m sitting on my lower deck brainstorming when I looked up into the sky and said, “God—you are the God of creativity and you have an ending for me that I just know will blow everybody way. Would you mind sharing it with me, please?” As God is my witness, within ten seconds, an idea fluttered into my brain like those scarlet and gold leaves that were fluttering all around me. The idea was SO masterful and SO genius, that I literally jolted straight up in the chair and started laughing, knowing that I could have never come up with anything like that on my own. And do you know that to this day, no one has guessed the ending so far? Now that’s the kind of brainstorming partner you want!
Thanks, Julie, for the wonderful example of our Creator providing exactly the creativity you needed.
Mary Connealy shared this:
I belonged to RWA for a few years before I even heard of Christian Fiction. You have to remember that this was before wide spread emailing and Google and internet in every home.
I lived a long way from a bookstore even and if there were Christian bookstores they were few and far between. I just didn’t know Christian fiction existed. And I’d read Janette Oke, too, it just never occurred to me to look at the spine for a publisher. So, I was reading my monthly RWR magazine and there was this little story about ACFW. It was in its infancy then, but I hunted it up and joined and it opened this whole world for me. All my books I’d written weren’t Christian fiction but they were all sweet romances with heroes and heroines who conducted themselves with Christian principles that were just unspoken. To have them say aloud what they were living was so simple. And I found all these Christian publishers to pitch to. It changed everything. I feel like God had me writing for a line of publishing long before it existed.
Thanks, Mary, for sharing how God gets us where we need to be to write for Him.
Myra Johnson shared this experience:
Myra Johnson shared this experience:
Two years after winning the Golden Heart and still no book contract! I was so close to giving up that the next disappointment could easily have pushed me over the edge. I wasn't in the best frame of mind to attend the 2007 ACFW conference but I went anyway, determined to put on a brave front and try to enjoy spending time with the many writer friends I'd connected with over the years. But God had other ideas. More than once during that conference, He seemed to know exactly what I needed when I needed it. One huge surprise was having random people tell me God had nudged them to pray for me. Then, a couple of nights into the conference, I had the most vivid dream of my life. I saw myself as a body without a skeleton--the whole framework that held me together was gone. I sensed God telling me that's exactly what I would be like if I gave up His gift of writing. The message of that dream was strong enough to see me through, and before the next ACFW conference I had received my very first book contract, with another one coming only a couple of months later! Now, anytime the ongoing ups and downs of this business start to get me down, I recall the dream and trust all over again in God's plan for my life.
Thanks, Myra, for sharing how God enabled you to keep on keeping on during a particularly difficult time.Tina Radcliffe shared this:
In June of 2011 I finally realized that my writing career wasn't my writing career. I think up to that point everything about my 'career' was like throwing darts at a target and hoping something would stick. The moment I put Tina's writing on the altar and it became His writing was when I received clarity, direction and peace. I noted the date and the time in my Jesus Calling devotional. But-I also noted three additional dates afterward where I had to again put my career on the altar. We writers are very controlling. I kept taking it back.
Thanks, Tina. Most of us can relate to that struggle. I know I can. We writers are often discouraged when we don’t make the progress we want and forget God’s timing is perfect. Isn’t it great and humbling to see God at work in His plan for our lives?
For a chance to win a copy of The Bride Wore Spurs, April 2, 2013 (on pre-order now) share a time when God provided exactly what you needed, perhaps in such a way that He caught you by surprise or blessed you beyond your wildest dreams.
I brought a bountiful buffet of breakfast items: sausage, bacon, ham, scrambled eggs, blueberries, yogurt, tomato juice, raisin toast and pastries. Here's the back cover blurb for The Bride Wore Spurs:
To keep the Texas ranch she loves, Hannah Parrish will wed a man she doesn’t. Cowpokes won’t take orders from a young, single female. But while her exasperating neighbor Matt Walker jokes about her being a mere debutante, Hannah is a rancher to the core. Just like Matt.
Grab a plate and let’s chat.
The Cowgirl Takes a Husband
“Will you marry me?” It’s a question widowed Matt never intended to ask again. Now spirited Hannah is asking him for a marriage of convenience! Yet whether she’s birthing a calf or caring for a young orphan, the tomboy next door is becoming the partner Matt always hoped for. Now he must convince her the greatest strength comes in trusting your heart to another—and your future to God.…
Grab a plate and let’s chat.