I cried when my friend Cherrilynn asked me to go to Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. There was no way I could go! I had wanted to for three years, but the timing was wrong, the money wasn’t there, and how could I leave my husband and two teen boys, one of whom just became our foster son, to fend for themselves? Besides, I was sure my husband would never say yes. So I didn’t ask.
“Just praying and doing the One-Day-at-a-Time Sweet Jesus 🎵 thing,” I told my editor friend. “So much to write. So much drama and distraction. Sure wish I could run away for a few days to Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. Well—🎵 Hallelujah Anyhow.🎵 Thy will Lord—in Your strength.”
Then Cherrilynn called two days before departure and asked again if I would go with her to the conference.
The thought of attending a writers conference with all those amazing people and accomplished writers terrified me! Who am I to go?
Shouldn’t I have a several thousand page book written first to justify the expense and inconvenience to others? I have a couple children’s picture book manuscripts but… Am I worth it? Am I worth investing in? What if I fail?
Our worth is not defined by ourselves, others, or by our performance, but by Christ’s investment in us, His precious blood spent and His love for us. That makes us priceless. And it is He who bestows gifts on each of us for His glory and to help others.
I don’t doubt God’s calling on my life to write, but sometimes I doubt myself. I fear quitting. Remember in the Grinch when the townspeople are all shouting at him? “You don’t belong there!” echoed in my mind.
But I started packing immediately anyway. “Thy will, Lord.” I said. The preacher said, a devil exposed is a devil defeated. So, shut up Satan! The first thing I packed was Kleenex because I expected to meet God there. And all the obstacles melted away.
I told my pastor I hoped to find a table to hide under at the conference. He said somehow he doubted that would happen, that God has a way of drawing us way out of our comfort zone so we are dependent on Him.
The God-centeredness of Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference captivated me. Bravo Dianne Mills and Edie Melson for an amazing job as conference directors. Bestselling author, literary agent and minister, Bob Hostetler’s opening keynote address on persevering faith was empowering.
“Perhaps the Lord,” was enough for Jonathan to risk his life for…God doesn’t owe you publication or a contract…There is so much in writing that is out of your control, but none of it is out of God’s control. Will you keep writing, keep learning, and persevere through rejection?” —Bob Hostletter
Bob’s first novel was rejected 107 times before being accepted. I wanted to ask him how he held on and persisted for so long. I think of it often.
It may be —(not I know), was enough for David. We think the life of faith is a life of certainty—No. Uncertainty is the stuff faith is made of. —Bob Hostletter
I tried unsuccessfully to be invisible at the conference while Cherrilynn ran around promoting me. Award-winning writer and editor Cherrilynn Bisbano is an encourager with a heart to help writers—like a personal cheerleader but who is forthright in her counsel. Her company is a great choice to help with The Write Coach, is a great choice to help write the right proposal for your book.
I feared wasting their time and almost cancelled my appointments with Beth Patch, CBN.com’s Senior Spiritual Life Internet producer and editor, and with Edwina Perkins, managing editor of Harambe Press. I’m so glad I didn’t.
Beth Patch is a tenacious woman with a tender heart who generously shared her time and guidance with me. Her testimony is helping sustain me through some storms.
I just submitted my first devotion to CBN and am working on a few more. I’m also in the process of submitting articles to several other publications.
Edwina Perkins blew my mind when she took my hands and opened our conversation in prayer. What a beautiful and gracious faith-filled lady.
“Set in the 1960’s in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, two white ministers stand against Jim Crow segregation and host a multiracial summer camp for children.
One of those men was my father-in-law, the other his best friend…
With the racial tensions we are facing in our country, I believe it’s important that people see black and white people in unity, that there is a history of, and currently are, black and white people who work together and support each other.”
And her eyes lit up. She asked if I could write an adult book of 50,00 words from the civil rights stories I’d been given by my in-laws and my father-in-law’s best friend. .
“Lord? Help. Please.”
Your prayers are appreciated too.
So, yes: I’m a white Jamaican, turned American citizen, writing books on the Civil Rights movement. And those that have a problem with that have a problem—it’s just another form of prejudice. Jamaica is a country with a diverse people whose national motto is, “Out of many, one people.” —Come, let us band together and lift each other up.
Edwina said Harambe means pull together in Swahili—It was common to see people praying for, encouraging, and helping each other. The zeal of the Ridgecrest Conference Center staff to serve was outstanding.
The many broken but beautiful people who despite their trials and losses displayed such gratefulness and passion for God and faithfulness to their call to write moved me. That’s the beauty of Christianity—it dwells in the rawness of reality, but with hope and an answer.
During his class, Writing as a Ministry, Bob Hostetler asked if we had a mission statement for our writing. I replied, “To glorify God, encourage believers, and reach the lost.”
I wanted to invite him to read my series of 31 articles featuring interviews with pastors and wives from around the world, but I was too shy. I believe they would encourage him. I’m hoping he sees this.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)
We don’t earn your calling but we can disqualify ourselves by lack of faithfulness or poor stewardship. God convicted me recently about how I let the demon of one-more-thing drive me until I’m down to the wire before I give myself permission to write.
I’ve wrongfully felt I have to earn the right to write by doing all the to-dos. But to-dos never end and I’m often left with the leftovers of my time and self to give to my writing. Jerry Jenkins of whose writers guild I am a member of, and most recently, author and Pastor Lauren Decker counsel writers to write every day.
I don’t need to justify my right to write because God has already called and chosen me for this.
For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Romans 11:29 (NKJV)
The same goes for what God has for you. Fulfilling our call brings glory to God and is part of our worship.
Distraction will derail us if we allow. Make priority a priority or it probably won’t get done. This is especially true of spending time with God and our loved ones and for sharing Jesus with others.
Chaos calls. The mess and stress of life press. But circumstance doesn’t circumvent God’s will for our life. He is well aware of what lies ahead when He calls us to a task, and whom He calls, He equips. He makes a way.
I’ve got work to do.
“Hands to the plow
eyes on the prize
I lift my eyes to You, Lord
bow my head and pick up my pen.
Speak to me, Lord
or I will have nothing to say.”
Do the work but trust God to open doors for you. — Dr. Sandra Dalton Smith
When I bathe my writing in prayer it makes a difference. —Bob Hostletter
And when God opens doors, He expects us to walk through them. But I must be careful to pursue the Creator over the call, to embrace the Creator of creativity because without Him I can do nothing.
As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. Psalms 42:1 (NKJV
“I went looking for inspiration—and found none.
Then, I sought You, Lord
And I was inspired”
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5 (NKJV)
And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 (NKJV)
“I am with you,” God whispered to my heart. “And you don’t ask Me for enough.”
“Oh, God, help me to be faithful to my call. Here’s my pen, Lord; hold my hand.”
He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. I Thessalonians 5:24 (NKJV)
I was the live victim—I mean the interviewee on #PJNET Live on Thursday August 29th. Here is the promo video and link to the interview. (And no, Mark, I wasn’t awesome—I was scared!) 🙂
— Coach Prasek (@DataGenesis) August 30, 2019
CLICK HERE to watch the entire 30 minute show on #PJNET Live with my interview.
#PJNET Live hosts shows with a variety of guests Monday – Saturday 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Here’s the link to PJNET.tv. Once on their site click “Live Video & Chat” at the top of the screen to watch the show.
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© 2019 Rachael M Colby | Tattoo It On Your Heart