Thursday, November 3, 2011


November is National Novel Writing Month, and after the bidding of a girlfriend who encouraged me to participate in the event last year, I finally decided that this was the year to give it a shot. The goal is simple, you're supposed to write 50,000 words in 30 days. All totaled I think it will come out to about 125 pages if you hit the 50,000 mark. The goal is really no more complicated than that. No one is judging your work or editing your spelling and grammar, it's just about getting writers to write. You don't even have to finish the book in the 30 days, as long as 50,000 words are written, you have succeeded at the challenge.

It's not much past noon on day 3 for me, and I am going strong. I have hit the 10,000 word mark (10,455 to be specific) and am six chapters in to a novel of Christian fiction. There are moments where I wonder if the sense of accomplishment will be enough for me, or if I'll have regret of having written a work of fiction that other than a few close friends no one may ever read. If course there are lofty dreams of becoming the next Karen Kingsbury (accomplished Christian novelist) that waft through the corners of my imagination as well.

It's an interesting process writing a story. I think it has been said that all fiction has some roots of truth in it, and I can certainly trace lines between the story and characters I am creating with people and experiences in and around my own life, but the more I write, the more I find the story and the people in it taking on a life of their own. It's exciting. Just as in reading a good book, when I have a hard time putting it down and can't wait to get back to it, I find the same true in writing a story, one I can only hope will be found "good" upon it's completion.

One thing I did find interesting though was the importance of creating a mental history for my characters. As I write about who these people are in the moment of the story, I find myself having to reflect in my imagination on who they were before and where they'd come from. I actually had to finally sit down and write out a timeline and mark the milestones of the lives of my characters: places they had been, things that happened to them, ages they were in times of crisis or victory. I had to give consideration to how the people's paths has crossed in their history, and how their relationships in their pasts effected their interaction in the present day.

It made me think about how true that was in the real world for us as well. Who we are and where we are in life today has a lot to do with where we've been and what we come from.

I can't help but wonder if that isn't why in the Bible God is often reminding us to "remember" and to "tell."

Oh, give thanks to the LORD!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him;
Talk of all His wondrous works!
Glory in His holy name;
Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD!
Seek the LORD and His strength;
Seek His face evermore!
Remember His marvelous works which He has done,
His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth,

O seed of Abraham His servant,
You children of Jacob, His chosen ones!

Psalm 105:1-6

Have you ever shared your testimony with someone? A lot of people are intimidated at the thought of telling their stories, the stories about the things God has done in their lives, or even the promises He has spoken into their hearts. Even when they have seen prayers answered or dreams fulfilled, often many hold back from sharing it with others. Why? Fear perhaps? Intimidation? But I encourage you, step outside of your comfort zone.

Our testimony is the history of our lives, but if we will remember and tell, our "history" can become HIS-Story. And when our story is used as His story, telling of from where we have come, and our experiences along that path, we can bring both benefit to others and glory to God. Your life is a Truth that cannot be denied as God has written the gospel both on our hearts and demonstrated to those around us through our lives.

An added bonus I have experienced personally in the telling of my own testimony is the increase in my own faith. When I think upon the things God has gone has done in my life up to this day, and as I speak of His goodness to me, it is a powerful reminder of how and why I can trust Him with the story that still remains unwritten. For as a follower of Christ, I know God has good plans for me (Jeremiah 29:11), and a future planned also for my good and His glory.

As I continue writing me novel in the coming months, I can only hope to have the inspiration to write a story that will both entertain and encourage. But as I look forward into my own real life, I can look with confidence, knowing that the Author of my life will write the story of a lifetime, His Story, so long as I remain surrendered to Him.

I look forward to how my novel will unfold, but I can hardly begin to express the anticipation that rises up inside of me as I think of the promise and potential of my life tale that lies ahead following Jesus, a truly never ending story.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

100 Verse Challenge - Week 8

One of the things I love about the Lord is his timing. If you want to know the truth, I sincerely see the Lord as the Great Orchestrator. He is the God of the details, and if you could get a peek into His "Day Planner" I am confident we would be blown away by the way He manages everything. I know lots of people believe coincidences, but I'm not one of them. I do believe in God-incidences, and when I read the perfect passage or devotional or hear just the right song at the perfect time that I need to hear it's message, I give God credit, and I find myself in awe of His timing and organization.

So although it's not one of the life-changing God-incidences this week for me, I did get a kick out of the fact that in the reading plan I am using to read through my bible in a year, I started the book of Hebrews this morning, and both of our verses for this week are key verses from the book of Hebrews. When I get to chapter four this week I will take greater note of the context and content, because after all, when Robert J. Morgan picked the 100 Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart, both of these verses make the Top 20. (#s 15 & 16 to be exact.)

The two verses this week may actually make out 100 Verse Challenge feel challenging. Though I suspect both will be at least somewhat familiar to many believers. Morgan suggests the importance of reading our first verse in context. He recommends backing up and reading Hebrews 3:7-4:12, encouraging us to take particular notice of the references to rest in this passage. The verse itself is important because it is God's Word about God's Word. His break down of the verse is summed up nicely in a quote by A.T. Pierson, which says: The Word of Christ proves itself to be the Word of God by its living energy and it's penetrating power.

Verse 1:

For the Word of God is living and effective and sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as to divide soul, spirit, joints and marrow; it is a judge of the ideas and thoughts of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

Our second verse comes just a few scriptures later in the 4th chapter of Hebrews. It's a verse about prayer. Morgan recommends we walk through it with the 5 W's. Remember the 5 W's in school when you were working on reading comprehension? Who, what, where, why and when. Let's look at the verse and then walk briefly through the questions to break down the verse.

Verse 2:

Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.
Hebrews 4:16

The break down: Who? "Let us..." What? Prayer is approaching God, ...let us approach... Where? ...the throne of grace... Why? that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us... And finally, When? the proper time.

"At the proper time," in our modern language we might use the term "in the nick of time." It's full circle here, God's timing is perfect. Whether it be in the moment of need, or the need of escape for temptation, a timely word or encouragement, God's timing is in fact perfect. I'm telling you, I'd give anything for a glimpse at His day planner, and even more for His gift for planning it. At least I can say I am happy to benefit from it.