Tag Archives: writing

What I’ve Learned From Five Years of Blogging

Five years ago this week I started blogging. I jumped in knowing that for a publisher to consider my book proposal (what is now Get Your Story Straight), they would want to see I had an online presence. My following wasn’t huge (still isn’t by most bloggers’ standards) but God orchestrated the details of connecting me to New Growth Press. To think five years later I’m in the process of book 3 with them I wouldn’t have ever imagined.

Back then I just wondered if I would have any new content to post the following week. I still wonder at times. But more often than not I have more to write about than the actual time to do it. However, I have managed (more or less) to stick to my goal of one post per week.

Writing gurus say you don’t have to be published to be a writer, you just need to stay in the daily and weekly cycle of writing words. 500 words a day, or whatever goal a writer sets for themselves, just something to make it a habit and to hone in on your skills. I think it’s helping, though I know my grammatical errors and spelling mistakes might make you think otherwise!

Besides that I’ve discovered three things (good and bad) along the way of making this habit a hobby that demands the time of a job:

  1. Writing helps me process my thoughts and directs me to the Lord. Sometimes I start a post and don’t know at all where it’s going. It may be a topic or personal situation I’m struggling with, or feeling emotional over, but haven’t yet identified exactly why I’m feeling the way I am. Writing helps me sort through it, giving me words to what I don’t even know is going on in my head and heart. In fact, many times it’s upon finishing a post that my “Aha” moment comes and realize I either figured out the answer to what I was mulling over, or moved from a place of anxiety, fear or despair back to trusting in God’s goodness.

2. Writing gives me confidence and at the same time makes me vulnerable. The more I’ve written, the more I’ve found my voice. Through studying, reading, thinking and writing on certain topics in particular I feel more confident now speaking with “authority” despite not having the formal seminary or counseling training I wish I did. But at the same time, to put words out there publicly is to mark yourself for criticism and critique. This is where I have had to wrestle with my identity being secure in Christ. Only his opinion of me matters, so if someone disagrees with what I’ve written, or writes a review or comment that I feel is ungrounded I don’t have to justify myself in an efffort to make myself look better. This isn’t always easy and can shoot right through any confidence.

3. Spending time crafting the words for a post and honing in on the message I want to convey sometime feels like a waste of time. This goes along with #2 in that I must find my worth securely in Christ. To write a post and then feel like it wasn’t as widely read or embraced as I had hoped feels deflating. It also helps me better understand what my husband and other pastors go through after spending so much time preparing a sermon and then feeling like it falls on deaf ears (or in a church plant like ours that no one was there to hear it!). When this is the case with my blogging is when I wonder why I spend the time doing what I do any maybe I need to get a real, paying job. But then I go back to #1 and remind myself that even if no one reads a word I write, writing is beneficial to me.

To that end, I will keep on writing and encouraging others to do the same. It doesn’t need to be a blog or a book, a prayer journal is a fantastic way to help wrestle through your own thoughts or make notes about what you are learning in scripture or otherwise. If you take up writing in any form, as a new habit this coming year, I would love to hear what you learn. To five more years of blogging…

Growing in Grace Together,

 

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Get Your Story Straight in 30 Days

In just thirty days I will officially be a published author! It is hard to believe after the 2 1/2 year journey to see this book finally coming to fruition. However the journey didn’t stem from my own dream to someday write a book, which makes the story behind the book so much bigger than me.

While for years I have  written professionally in the context of fundraising letters and grants, it never once crossed my mind that I might start a blog and write books.  But after starting a girls’ Bible study six years ago, I ran into a problem and saw a need. I could not find good curriculum to use for my teen girls. The majority of what was on the shelves was topical fluff focused more on morality and good behavior than on the worth and work of Jesus.

Furthermore, I discovered more and more there to be a huge gospel disconnect with kids growing up in the church. The church does a good job of teaching that Jesus died for our sins so we could be saved, but too often fails to show how this same gospel message applies to all of life in very specific ways.  We tend to think the gospel saves us and then we move on to other techniques for growth in our Christian walks. And what happens is we get law/moralism/to do’s. Not freedom/grace/gospel! Which in all honesty is why so many kids leave the church when they enter college and adulthood.

Therefore, the aim of Get Your Story Straight is two-fold.

  1. To unfold the progressive story of the Bible and who Jesus is for us in a way that we see Him woven through the Scriptures from start to finish as the conquering King and Savior we desperately need.
  2. To deconstruct theological terms often neglected in Christian teaching today so students better understand, embrace and relish in the beauty of what it means to be justified, the truth about our sanctification, the freedom of grace (even and especially when we still sin) and the reality of living out the gospel with one another, in all of life.

This is deep, but in an easy to understand and relatable way, with content as necessary for adults to “get” as it is for teens – which is why I recommend it for high schoolers on up!

As one of my endorsers, Park Cities Presbyterian Pastor Mark Davis said,

If you view the Christian life as being about your performance, then what do you do if you are not performing well? Regrettably, many Christians never follow an inductive Bible study or develop the daily exercise of meditating on the greatest story ever told. This incredible step-by-step guide to learning and living the gospel of Jesus Christ will help not only teens to approach the Bible but adults as well. Led by this devotional, become captivated by the narrative and the characters in God’s story as you rest in the words of Jesus when he says, ‘It is finished.’”

To read what other endorsers have said click over to my Book page. I am beyond honored by these men and women who have attached their names to my book. My hope is their words might inspire more people to buy the book, not because I will receive more proceeds, but my desire (and reason for writing) that Get Your Story Straight will be a vehicle to heart transformation as readers begin to find their story caught up in the bigger story of Christ!

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