Relax. Renew. Return.

 

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Today is the last last day of my vacation. As I sit here in my hotel room one last time overlooking the San Diego Bay, I am inspired to write this blog post to express how grateful I am to have had an opportunity to get away.

Because I was simply burned out. Burned out from the business of living. And burned out from the business of  writing. 

So for four glorious days, I said goodbye. I put down my pen and paper, closed up my  computer and cell phone and got away. Away from the hustle and bustle of life and ministry to the beauty of  San Diego, CA. I enjoyed the leisurely evening walks with my husband as we strolled hand-in-hand up and down the San Diego bay; I enjoyed watching the huge cruise ships arrive and depart from the harbor; I enjoyed watching the various performers as they entertained and convinced us to buy their wares; I enjoyed hopping on and off the colorful trolleys to tour the various  attractions of the city. I enjoyed crossing the towering blue bridge to the seaside resort of Coronado and visiting its historic beaches and Hotel; I enjoyed riding up and down the hills of LaJolla and seeing the massive million dollar celebrity homes along the way; I enjoyed standing atop the highest point in San Diego and seeing a 360 degree view of the city and the Pacific ocean; I enjoyed  touring a former navel ship to see how the men and women of the navy once ate, slept, lived and played; I enjoyed looking out the window on a dinner cruise and basking at the beauty of the ocean illuminated at night, and saluting the huge battleships glowing in the darkness along the way; I enjoyed watching the simple wonder of a dolphin leap in and out of the ocean and laughing at the massive sea lions as they sun-bathed along the coastal seashore; I enjoyed sitting on the benches of every beach we visited and simply doing nothing but basking in the beauty and wonder of the Pacific ocean.

My bags are packed and it’s time to return home. But I’ll never forget my four glorious days in San Diego, CA. For I am renewed, refreshed and reinvigorated. And ready to return to the mission of writing.

Sharing the journey,

Jeaninne

 Responding to God’s call to write:  How are you taking time to renew and refresh yourself this summer so you’ll be ready to return to your mission of  Christian writing? Post your comments on my blog. I enjoy hearing from you.

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Are you expecting rain?

Seven times Elijah told him to go and look out toward the sea, and seven times he went. I King 18:43

After a long drought in Israel God told Elijah he would send rain. But when Elijah told his servant to look out towards the sea for a rain cloud, his servant came back and told Elijah he didn’t see one. So Elijah sent him again and again until his servant finally came back with a good report.

How many times have you submitted a poem, article, short story or manuscript to a magazine or publisher to only receive a discouraging report? Are you almost ready to give up on your dream to write for publication?

Even if writing for publication takes longer than expected in your life, don’t give up on your dream to become a Christian author.  No matter how long it takes, keep being persistent in your submission efforts, until you finally see the raincloud of publication.

Sharing the journey,

Jeaninne

Responding to God’s call to write or publish:

If you’ve been rejected for publication, how will you continue to persist in submitting your writings until they are accepted for publication?

 

 

 

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Got an idea?

All I had was an idea and God. 

Those were the words from the event coordinator of an author festival I recently participated in.  Although the coordinator shared she only had three months to organize the event with a zero budget, the event ended up being a success because she believed in the idea God had given her and moved forward in making it come alive.

That’s what God wants us to also do. For daily he gives us a plethora of writing ideas. But rather than moving forward with the ideas we receive, we sometimes allow our fears to stop us in our tracks until we have perfect conditions. We may wait until we have the perfect time to write. We may wait until we have the perfect place to write or we may wait until we have the perfect skills to write. But just as the young woman offered her event in spite of imperfect conditions, we are called to launch out and begin the journey to write for publication even when our conditions aren’t perfect. For, in the end, all it really takes to get started is a great idea and a great God.

Sharing the journey,

Jeaninne

Writer to Master: Father,  You’ve given me an idea for a writing project. May I believe in myself and have faith in you to believe it’s enough to get started on my journey to write for publication. Amen.

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Will you trust me?

Blessed is the man that trusts in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.  Jeremiah 17:7, NLT

Because I work with a number of people who are around the same age as I am at a new part-time job I recently started, the inevitable question that usually arises during our conversation is: Is this a second job for you?

And my answer is usually no. For although many of my colleagues have retired and are using the part-time job we all have as supplemental income, I am not. I am working because I have to work as I approach my retirement years.

It’s discouraging I’m not in the same financial position as my colleagues, but I still believe I did the right thing when I gave up my career to prepare for a career as a Christian writer. And just as God has taken care of me through the years as I prepared for my writing ministry, I believe he’ll take care of me as I approach my retirement years.  

Is God calling you to step away from an existing career to prepare for a  career as a Christian writer, but your retirement account is not quite where you’d like it to be if you go? Then trust God to fill in the gaps, for as you step out in obedience to write for the kingdom, he promises to take care of you along the way!

Sharing the journey,

Jeaninne

Responding to God’s call to write:   How are you learning to trust God to provide for your needs as you prepare to write for Christian publication?

Writer to Master: Father, if you are calling me out of my existing career to prepare for a new career as a Christian writer, help me to trust you to take care of me along the way. Amen.

 

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It’s a different world

When I took my daughter to begin her first semester of college, after helping her get settled into her dorm room, praying for her safety and planting a butterfly kiss on her cheek, I left her with the following words, paraphrased from the opening song of a TV show we enjoyed watching:

“Here’s a chance to make it,
If you focus on your goals.
If they dish it, you can take it,
Just remember you’ve been told
It’s a different world,
Then where you come from”

Excerpt:  A Different world theme song: Lyrics by Stu Gardner, Dawn Lewis, and Bill Cosby

Like the different world of college my daughter was soon to enter, it’s also a different world you’ll enter when you begin the journey of writing for publication. And beginning this new journey will require certain adjustments and character traits on your part if you’re going to succeed. It will require you to adjust your current schedule to make writing a priority. It will require you to develop a habit of writing regularly to practice your craft. It will require you get whatever training is necessary to improve your craft, and it will require you to develop the tough skin needed to accept constructive criticism to improve your writings for publication.

Like entering college, you’ll be challenged like never before as you enter the different world of writing for publication, but if you’ll remember to stay focused on your reasons for being there, you can make it in this different world.

Sharing the journey,

Jeaninne

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The pruning process

 

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch that doesn’t produce fruit and he prunes the branches that bear fruit so they will produce more. John 15:1-2, NLT

Did you know that one of the benefits of pruning a fruit tree is so that it can produce more fruit? Not only are the dead limbs cut off when they aren’t producing fruit to promote better health, but the Gardner also prunes those branches that are producing fruit so they can produce more. 

Like a good gardener, our heavenly father will also look at the branches on the “trees”  of our lives to see what type of fruit we are producing. And if he sees a branch in our life that is producing fruit, he may prune it to ultimately produce more.  

Such was the case with my career. For just when I was at the apex of doing the good work God had called me to do in my chosen career, one day I heard God whisper in my ear that it was time to let it go. Although I initially resisted, in time I came to realize it was because God was pruning me. He wanted to cut back this particular “branch” in my life that was producing good fruit because he wanted to prepare me to produce more fruit in another career – the career of  Christian writing. 

Is God asking you to cut back a particular area in your life today so you can prepare to write for publication? Then consider it part of your pruning process.

Sharing the journey,

Jeaninne

 Responding to God’s call to write: What area of your life is God wanting you to cut back so you produce more “fruit” as a  Christian writer? Post your comments on my blog. I enjoy hearing from you about your journey. 

 

 

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How do you see the land?

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Caleb tried to encourage the people as they stood before Moses:  “Let’s go at once to take the land. We can certainly conquer it.”  But the other men who had explored the land with him answered: “The land we explored will swallow up any who go to live there, for all the people are giants.”  Numbers 13: 30-32, NLT

The time had arrived. I had studied my craft, attended numerous writing conferences to learn how to write and publish professionally, and I had self-published three books. I felt I was ready to take the next step – to pitch my next book idea to a Christian agent to see if he or she would be interested in marketing my manuscript to a traditional Christian publisher.

But knowing the difficulty that lied ahead securing an agent, I wondered: Was I being realistic? Would I find an agent who would be interested in representing me as a Christian author, or should I just continue the route of self-publishing my next manuscript?

Before the people of Israel entered their Promised land, twelve spies were sent to explore it. Although all of the spies saw the same land, only two of them returned with a positive report.

What made the difference? It was about how they saw the land. For while ten of them saw a land filled with giants they did not believe they could conquer,  two of them saw giants they believed they could conquer.

When you enter the land of writing for publication, expect to see some giants there. You may find a giant of doubt that will cause you to question your writing skills and whether they are good enough to submit your work for publication. You may find a giant of fear waiting to scare the confidence right out of you to publish your book. You may find the giant of rejection waiting to stamp out every effort you make when you submit your work for publication, and you may encounter the giant of discouragement waiting to invade your psyche when it takes longer than expected to find a publisher. These “giants”, are not to be discounted, for they are very real challenges you will face daily as you seek to write for publication. How can you conquer the giants you may encounter? By viewing them the same way the two spies did – able to conquer with the help of the Lord.

Sharing the journey,

Jeaninne

Responding to God’s call to write:  What giants do you expect to see when you enter the land of writing for publication? How are you planning right now to conquer your giants?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Writing to make disciples

 

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Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the son and the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19, 20, NLT

I’m always excited to hear when my Pastor puts emphasis on our congregation going outside of the walls of our church to share the good news of Jesus Christ, for it’s just a reminder of our primary purpose as Christians – to go and make disciples.

Did you know that your primary purpose as a Christian writer is also to go and make disciples? For you are called to write words to help others know about the good news of Jesus Christ. You are called to write words to let others know about his compassion, love and concern for others. You are called to write words to let others know of the wonderful plan God has for their lives when they choose to place their faith and trust in him. You are called to write to let others know of his desire to heal them from their deepest hurts and their deepest wounds.

Christian author Marlene Bagnull states: “While we may never never go more than a few hundred miles from our homes, our written words can go around the world and make a difference for all eternity”.

Are you ready to use your written words today to make a difference for eternity? Then go, write and make disciples!

Sharing the journey,

Jeaninne

Responding to God’s call to write:

As you reflect on the great commission found in Matthew 28:19-20, in what ways is God wanting to use you today to write to make disciples? Post your answer on my blog. I enjoy hearing from you!

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Ouch!

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening-it is painful! But afterward, there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. Hebrews 12:1, NLT

I was so excited.  After spending hours combing through pictures for my cover, choosing the right devotions for my manuscript and uploading my content to my self-publisher,  I was finally ready to publish another manuscript to sell the general public.

Until I showed it my writing mentor.  After she shared her feedback and offered a list of recommendations for improvement, all the joy I felt inside about my new manuscript quickly turned into pain.

Like the painful feedback I received about my new manuscript, receiving negative feedback about your manuscript can also be painful, especially when you’ve spent hours writing what you thought was a great one.  Although painful, remember the intent of the feedback is never to hurt you but to help you improve your writings. Go ahead and cry if you need to, but after you’ve dried your eyes, get to work incorporating the changes recommended to improve your manuscript, then submit it again until you finally hear your editor say:  “____, your manuscript is ready for publication!”

Sharing the journey,

Jeaninne

Responding to God’s call to write:  If you haven’t already done so, locate and join a writing critique group in your local area, based on your genre, to help you hone your writing craft and get you ready to submit your work for Christian publication.

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He won’t forget!

God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward his name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.  Hebrews 6:20, NLT

I plan to return to the workforce soon because my finances require me to do so. But I can’t help but wonder as I prepare to return:  “Has God forgotten all of the time, energy and work I’ve invested into my writing ministry since I’ve been home, and the time I’ve invested in ministering to other writers?

The Bible says that God never forgets his faithful ones. For example, God didn’t forget Noah after he faithfully built the ark. God didn’t forget Abraham after he was told to leave his homeland for another.  And God didn’t forget Rahab when she was told to hang a scarlet rope over a wall when the Israelites destroyed Canaan.

It seems counterintuitive to return to work when my desire for so long has been to write on a full-time basis. But I believe God will not forget the work I’ve done while home and how I’ve sought to help others through my writing ministry. For He is a just God and in his own time and way, I know he’ll bring me home again.

Responding to God’s call to write:

How are you dealing with those times when you think God has forgotten the time and labor you’ve invested in your writing ministry, especially when you feel like you”re moving backward rather than forward on your journey to write for Christian publication?

 

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