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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What You Must Do Before You Can Write

What You Must Do Before You Write

When I started writing online, I didn’t call myself a writer. I wrote when I had time, and when I felt so inspired. I didn’t feel pressure to create, writing has always been a release for me.

That season lasted for a good while until things shifted. I wrote a book. In the months leading up to the books release, writing became a job. I elbowed things out of my way to sit down to write. I no longer waited for inspiration, I sat down and pursued it with a feverish desire to write words that mattered. This kind of passion isn’t all bad–Madeline L’Engle had it right when she said  “Inspiration comes during the work, rather than before it”.

After the book came out, I lost my balance. I had shoved everything aside to write, write, write–and in the words of James Howell, (and later, Steven King),  “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. My energy waned. My desire to experience life away from the keyboard began to fade.

In my fiery pursuit of crafting word masterpieces, one painful letter at a time, I found myself increasingly frustrated by the serious and concerning disappearance of ideas of which to write about. Living as a mother of 4 young children, it seemed ideas should run through my head in abundance, with time for capturing them being the real problem.

But the opposite was true–the more time I devoted to trapping and transcribing ideas, the more stagnant my thought pool became.

Shuffling through an old filing cabinet I came across my creative writing folder from a class I took in high school. Scratched across the yellowing manila, I rediscovered a truth I’d practically forgotten.

Before You Write

In my pre-Jesus youth and fascination with transcendentalism, Henry David Thoreau was one of my favorite writers. I used to imagine myself trekking off with him to Walden Pond where we’d pick at the sweet grass and dip our rebellious toes in the water, while the forrest creatures lazed about on branches overhead and on the banks beside us, sucking up the marrow of our words as Henry and I mused about life, love and writing. On occasion, Emerson would join us…

Anyway. 

Thoreau said, “How vain is it to sit down to write when you have not yet stood up to live”.

And it occurred to me, on the trek towards publication, that’s exactly what I’d neglected to do–live. 

Writing is hard work. (In case you’ve been fooled in to believing otherwise.) And while it’s true, words don’t materialize while we’re off living life, failing to record it, the reality is, if we’re not really living life, there’s nothing to record. (Profound, yes?)

This is obvious, and yet it’s a struggle all writers face at some point. The balance between living life and writing about it is always in question.

Some seasons of writing call for more time in the chair. This is an inevitable part of doing the work. Deadlines, commitments, project milestones–all have to take priority in certain seasons. But these should be the seasons. They should not last, and we should not ignore the need for a change of scene.

While I sat behind a screen clicking away at the keys, I missed afternoon walks in the sun, and butterfly watching in the yard. I missed hiking in the park, and blowing bubbles on the porch. I missed the joy of cooking from scratch, as I served too many hurried meals from a bag.

I wasn’t living life, I was surviving. 

Among the things I neglected, my time in the Word had also grown shorter and more rushed. Forgetting that God is the source of all life, left me grasping for all the wrong things in an effort to produce.

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.Psalm 16:11

While God can create ex nihilo, the rest of us need a little something to work with. My creative well ran bone-dry and I panted after the memory of something I’d discounted.

I believe my writing reflected as much. The richness of inspiration does come during the work, but after the living of life.

If we want to produce stories that speak of glory, we have to spend time, on the other side of the screen, immersed in the rich, messy, full-color emotion of actual living. We have to stand up, and live. And then sit down and write.

I don’t pretend to have this balance thing all sorted.

As I write I’ this, I’m currently eyeball deep in deadlines and projects that cannot be ignored without consequences and repercussions. But I sense the time for living is very near and I can say, that I am writing this with one foot out the metaphorical door.

Walden pond awaits. Spring flowers have begun raising their fronds from beneath the hardened soil, in a beckoning wave of invitation. Soon the butterflies will return. Afternoon bubble-blowing is just days away.

It’s about time to escape to the woods for a little inspiration–it’s time to live.

Have you ever struggled with balancing working and living? When is the last time you “stood up to live” first?

Kris

As a sequin-wearing, homeschooling mom of four, Kris is passionate about Jesus, people and words. When she's not writing, she enjoys taking gratuitous pictures of her culinary creations on Instagram. Once upon a time, she ran 10 miles for Compassion International. She is the author of  Holey, Wholly, Holy: A Lenten Journey of Refinement, and blogs at Kris Camealy.com

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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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