Writing is the Fruit of the Gift

Like a parent whispers in a child’s ear just before they let that child go out into the world, God whispered just before I began blogging…

Remember, writing is the not the gift, writing is the fruit of the gift.”

This wisdom and truth has remained my compass on this journey.

At the time, I had little understanding of what God really meant. I’m still unfolding the mystery of what the gift is, and how the fruit comes. But, I have a deeper revelation now than before.

Looking back, I see I had no idea what I was getting into when I started blogging. I didn’t know how tempting it would be in this online world to want to feel connected to this person, or that circle, or their community, and neglect the most life-giving connection there is — being connected to the Vine.

Writing-is-the-Fruit-of-the-Gift

Separated, we cannot produce a thing. Though, we try.

Jesus said, “Live in Me. Make your home in Me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with Me. I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with Me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant.” (John 15:4-8 MSG)

Perhaps, that is the gift — the Greatest Gift only made possible by His death on the cross — union with Christ. A gift so easily taken for granted, because He will always be there, waiting. So we keep on persevering, trying to make a difference, to make a lasting impression, to make things happen in our own strength. Yet, we can do nothing apart from Him.

Even. Write.

Well, that’s not entirely true. We can write. But, if we aren’t sitting at the feet of Jesus — not to check off a religious duty — but to partake from Him living bread, to give Him time to pour into us what we are to pour out to others, then we offer stale bread. And, our bodies weren’t made for stale bread.

“It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.” (Matt 4:4 MSG)

If we are not near enough to hear His heartbeat, and get quiet enough to hear His Voice, then all we can do is echo what all the other voices are saying. When all the while, we are called to be an echo of His Spirit, saying what He is saying.

What He tells you in the darkness, speak in the light. What He whispers in your ear, proclaim on the rooftops. (Matt 10:27 NASB)

We can write, and we can raise our voice and add to the noise. But, the world doesn’t need more noise. The world needs words produced by the Spirit of God, because of a people consecrated for His purposes as ambassadors on this earth to bring freedom to the captives, sight to the blind, healing for the broken, and the Gospel for the lost.

In case you are tempted to worry about numbers that are lost, because you are taking time to sit at the feet of your Lord, let it be the lost that are counted because of you living the Gospel…

Wandering souls that come to your table, feasting on the fruit of grace and truth, partaking through Words of life, because the words were first lived.

Would God ever give us a more compelling reason?

 

Michele-Lyn

Michele-Lyn Ault lives in happy chaos with her family on the outskirts of Orlando on 30 acres of Florida country. She is a wife and homeschool mama of four. Michele-Lyn pours out her heart in words, at times courageously afraid, on backlit screen and sometimes her soul bleeds a little as she writes on her blog, A Life Surrendered.

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When God Uses Writer’s Block

Writers block

Lately, I’ve experienced a bit of a writing drought. I’ve been parched, searching and hungering for the right words to express. But the words themselves seem to stay stuck deep down within me, unable to quench my desire to share.

For months I hemmed and hawed about this, chalking it up to writer’s block. I wondered why I was unable to puncture this wall that stood between me and my keyboard, between me and my journal even.

And then recently, while I had my face on the floor before the Lord I heard a whisper. A whisper telling me, ‘this is why’. It was as if He had gently rested His arm on my shoulder and was pointing out a vast chasm within my heart. In the middle of the chasm stood a wall, a wall that blocked my view of the why; why my words had dried up. He then nudged that wall with the tip of His finger, that wall that stood between me and my words. It was at that moment that I realized that that very wall was also blocking my heart from Him. And as He nudged it, it began to crumble, but it didn’t come crashing down as I had hoped. It was as if He had an invitation for me, something waiting on the other side of that wall, but before He tore it down He wanted me to embark on a journey with Him. A journey of healing.

As writers who have been called to write for Him, we know that our words come from somewhere deep within us.  We understand that we do not write for accolades and prestige, but instead we realize that it’s woven into the very fabric of how He’s made us. It’s how we reflect Him, He uses it to heal us, and often it’s when we hear Him the most. But when walls spring up and we can’t hear the words He has written on our heart, that’s when we should pause. That’s when we should listen.

I walked around hungry for words for months, yet I remained in this fog; ignorant as to why this barrier remained in my life.  Meanwhile, the writer inside me was straining to get words out. And that’s when He met me on the floor.

You see, I have been struggling with forgiveness, and because of that my words and more notably my relationship with God turned stale.  I was wronged, greatly wronged by someone very close to me; and rather than take these wounds I received to the Cross as our Lord commands, I put on a bandaid of sorts and carried on. I fully expected my heart to continue to beat and the sun to rise each morning- for life to continue as normal. I downplayed my inability to write and refused to recognize it as a red flag of the sin in my heart. 

When our words dry up writing friends, it is a clue that we should step away from the screen {or the page} and go straight to His feet. It is only when we are pure and obedient before God that our words can have the eternal impact that we long for. Meaningful words are fleeting apart from Him.

And although I wish I could tell you that this drought has ended and that the rain has come, I still crawl to the Cross daily longing for Him to meet me. I fight each morning to truly understand forgiveness and I ask Him to infuse it deep into my core, into the marrow of my bones. I find I have to constantly remind myself that despite my wounded heart, I have inflicted just as great of wounds upon Him through my own sin. This daily wrestle is a journey, but it is one that I am grateful for. And it is with tears streaming down my cheeks that I can attest to the fact that He is faithful. This writer is slowly getting her writing-groove back and the words are bubbling back to the surface. I can honestly say, the words are only flowing because He is knocking that wall down, He is doing a work in me.

I’d love to challenge you, my sweet writing friend. Are you struggling to get your words out? Do you have sin standing between you and God? Ask Him to show you, and sit back and wait for Him to gently nudge you on the shoulder and point out what’s holding your words inside.

I pray that your written ministry is glorifying to Him, sanctifying for you, and a shining beacon for your readers.

By, Mandy Scarr

Photo Credit-  Mandy’s husband, J, took this picture.

Mandy Scarr

Mandy is a lover of deep relationships, theological discussions, and peanut butter. She seek to share with women of the freedom she walks in because of her relationship with Jesus. She and her husband live in the beautiful suburbs of Washington, D.C. Connect with Mandy further at www.mandyscarr.com, on Facebook, and Twitter (@mandyscarr).

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How to Write Your Story

How to Write Your Story - Allume
Many bloggers venture into this online space because they have a story to tell.

So if you’re interested in blogging your story, here are some tips on how to write your story.

First you’ll want to determine your borders. Then you’ll want to use the three-pronged approach to story-crafting.

Determine Your Borders

For most writers, getting started is the hardest part. Beginning a new writing project is like trying to hold a blob of JELL-O in our hands. It’s shapeless and messy. And we can easily become overwhelmed at trying to figure out how to contain it. So our first order of business is to determine our content and give it some borders.

To get started, think of the individual “scenes” from your story that you might want to include. Sketch a short list of these scenes. Then select one scene. In other words, select a part of your story that happened in one location on the same day.

By drawing these parameters and working with one scene at a time, we can avoid becoming overwhelmed by the enormity of the entire writing project.

Use the Three-Pronged Approach to Story-Crafting

In the literary world, every written work can be categorized as either fiction or nonfiction — except personal narratives. They’re a literary breed of their own, and they employ the techniques of both fiction and nonfiction.

A personal narrative must read like a novel with an overarching theme. It has all the elements of fiction — characters, setting, plot, conflict, and resolution — except that it’s a true story. Since personal narratives tell a true story, they should follow the same three-pronged approach to story-crafting.

The three ways to present a story are 1) description, 2) dialogue, and 3) narration.

The difference between description and narration lies in the advancement of the plot. When we describe, we stop to notice what the setting or a character looks like. When we narrate, we move the storyline along by showing what happens next.

1. Description

When describing, include the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.

Who is in this scene?
Where does this scene take place?
When does this scene take place?
What is happening in the scene?

To craft a well-written story, we want to follow the advice: Show. Don’t tell.

The “sin of telling” is least probable in dialogue.
The “sin of telling” occurs most often in description and narration.

If a sentence begins with one of the following constructions, then it’s likely a “telling” statement. Scan your writing for any sentences that begin with these phrases. Then try to rewrite them.

It is/was . . .
It has . . .
There is/was . . .
There are/were . . .
There has/have . . .
I remember when . . .
I remember that . . .
She is/was . . .
He is/was . . .

2. Dialogue

When writing dialogue, aim for a conversational sound. People don’t usually speak in complete sentences. Most people talk in fragments, so our dialogue should reflect the way people actually talk.

Let your characters speak. Allow your readers to follow your story by listening to the conversations that take place.

3. Narration

To write your personal narrative, choose the following two things:

  • your point of view
  • the tense you will use

For point of view, some narrators have the ability to know the thoughts of other characters in the story, but since you’re a character in your own story, it’s more realistic if you present your story from your own perspective. So be careful not to “head hop” and portray other characters from their perspective.

For tense, you need to decide if you will write your story in the present tense or past tense. Obviously your story took place in the past, so you might automatically begin writing in the past tense. But remember that your reader is experiencing your story for the first time. It might help your reader feel like she is “in the moment with you” if you write your story in the present tense.

For the Blogger

If you’re a blogger who writes DIY kinds of posts, many of these same tips apply.

It’s important for all bloggers to determine the borders of each post. Containing a post to one singular focus helps our readers to follow a consistent train of thought. It’s also helpful when bloggers include descriptive words regarding sight and sound and touch. This helps our readers visualize what we’re saying.

And if you’re a blogger who wishes to write your story, I want to encourage you. Your story matters. Try some of these tips. See what works for you. And no matter what, don’t give up.

What are some of your favorite writing tips?

Tips on How to Write Your Story @Allume <Tweet this!>

Denise J. Hughes

Denise believes in the power of a well-told story. She teaches writing at Azusa Pacific University and even has her students start a blog. She’s the author of On Becoming a Writer: What Every Blogger Needs to Know, and she devotes her blog to helping others develop their craft and deepen their faith. You can connect with Denise on her blog — denisejhughes.com — or on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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