I've had a prayer, written by a writer who I deeply admire, pinned on the corkboard above my desk for the last year. Her words bring me comfort and serve to be a humble reminder of why I write, for whom I write, and what my words should point to.
I've found myself lately needing to go back to the basics. To be reminded of the truths of the Gospel. So often I talk about the Gospel, I act like I know the Gospel and live in light of the Gospel, but how often do I actively rehearse the truths that I know about God and his grace? How often do I remind myself of who I was, what Christ has done for me, and who I am now?
This month was filled to the brim with change. With all of those changes, my time for reading seemed to dwindle, so this month's lists of books is a little sparse. Nonetheless, I'm excited to share these October reads!
I often struggle with the contradiction between striving to be more like Christ while also trusting God to work through me. The juxtaposition seems almost impossible. How are we supposed to work out our own salvation if it is God who is working in us?
I'm really excited about this issue's writing tips because I get to introduce you to a writer and editor who I look up to immensely. I'm privileged to work with Grayson Pope at GCD, and he's recently started a regular column on writing. In this article, he shares two things that your writing must have in order to grab (and keep) your reader's attention.
In fall the aspens' tiny leaves turn an unbelievably brilliant yellow, fluttering like a thousand little coins. Stripes of gold and orange flash by the window as you drive. Splotches of yellow splashed across the sides of mountains, making the mountainside look like it’s on fire. I've always loved the changing of seasons; the shift in temperature signaling that something new is coming.
September was a gloriously long month. We had family and friends come to visit. We started meeting again with our Gospel Community groups. We spent some time breathing in fresh mountain air. And the mornings started to turn crisp and cool, leading me to break out my sweaters and spend a few more minutes under the warmth of the covers. It was the perfect month for reading.
It's one of the first questions I am often asked by writing mentors when I am struggling with some aspect of my writing. And it's become one of the questions that I most love to ask other writers. Who we read shapes how we write.
Am I the only one who has a hard time accepting it when God says "no" to me? Am I the only one who grits my teeth in frustration when God's response to my prayer for a good thing is "wait"? Am I the only one who feels forgotten by God when something hard happens in my life?
In a way that I can only attribute to the power and sanctifying work of the Spirit, my faith has become less blind understanding, less knowledge of seminary-ingrained truths, and more real, concrete, deeply-rooted-in-my-soul knowledge of God.
As believers, we must write as one who will give an account for every word we speak (and write). At the same time, there is grace when we don't get it right. We must embrace this tension, writing with fear and trembling while leaning into the abundant grace of God.
The first half of the year I went heavy on the theological and spiritual formation books, but something in me shifted this month and I just NEEDED some fiction. So prepare yourselves for an overload of the fiction books (and a few theological books) that I read this month!
If you're a writer, you know what I'm talking about. That dreaded feeling of sitting in front of a blank page and having absolutely no idea what to say. The whiteness of the page seems to laugh at you and the nothingness seems to bore into your soul.
Don't change your words or your presence to fit what you think people want to hear or what you think will garner "likes." Write the words that spill out from the depths of who you are. Write the words you can't help but write.
Maybe it’s the season I’m in now, but life feels especially uncomfortable lately. As much as I try to fight for joy, discontentment seems to continually rear its ugly head in my heart. It feels like the things I am praying and striving for most, God has chosen to keep just out of reach...