Joy Comes in the Morning

Inspire’s Joy anthology will be available next month at our workshop and book release party. This is a taste of what you’ll see:

How can God bring joy from a parent’s worst nightmare, the death of a child? It seems impossible, doesn’t it? That’s what I thought, until I found the truth and depth of God’s promises.

“Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5 NIV) As anyone who has lost a loved one knows, grief lasts longer than a single night. The truth in this verse is, even though we grieve, God will enable us to find joy.

I was riding in the car one day and heard a strange sound. It was my own voice, singing along with the radio for the first me since my son died, a year prior. I was shocked into silence. How could I make a joyful noise when my son was no longer in this world? What kind of a mother was I?

In Abide in Christ, author Andrew Murray discusses how to stay in Christ during seasons of suffering. His admonition is to “spend much time alone with God.” During that first year after Bobby’s death, I spent “much time” crying to God, pouring out my heartache. I asked the usual questions:

Why did he have to die at such a young age?

Why do bad people live, and good people die?

Why did Bobby have to get cancer two times in his young life?

Could I have done something to prevent the recurrence of this life-stealing disease?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could find answers to those questions to make sense of our loss? The answers are found in Scripture, but they may not be the answers we want to hear. Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation (and trials and distress and frustration). But be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world. (I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.)” (John 16:33 Amplified Bible)

This is the true message of the resurrection. Jesus can bring joy through even the greatest loss, the loss of a child. God himself experienced the loss of His own child.  The cross, for a time, separated Father and Son.

Though I still live with grief, I can now sing. He gives me joy in the midst of pain. “I sing because I’m happy. I sing because I’m free. His eye is on the sparrow and I know he watches over me” (“His Eye Is on the Sparrow” by Civilia D. Martin).

Jane Daly is the author of two books, Because of Grace and The Caregiving Season. She speaks to groups on the topics of grief, caregiving, and writing.

www.janeSdaly.com

www.facebook.com/janedalyspeakerandauthor

@queenjanedaly

Life’s Plot Twists

Adventures in Writing

Writing is an adventure except, perhaps, when time escapes, the brain won’t cooperate, laundry is calling, dinner needs preparing, or distractions arise from everywhere. I have those similar disruptions along with pain and illness.

33154047 - surprised or shocked handsome sexy muscular man reading book isolated on white background, wearing glassesI live with fifteen chronic conditions, five autoimmune, five pain related, and the rest help drive the plot of my life’s story. Sometimes I’m asked how I manage when pain and ailments weigh down what I’m trying to write. The short answer?

Purpose.

A sign above my desk says, “Trusting God’s sovereignty one day at a time.” It’s my tagline and life motto. The challenge to stay in this thought comes as pain cycles through my legs or back so much I can’t sit long enough to write, or on days my stomach won’t work properly. At times, medications cloud my head and I can’t concentrate on writing anything, let alone something meaningful, or my fingers cramp and won’t hit the right keys. These types of inconsistencies make a regular writing schedule laughable (almost).

On those days, I have to look up. At the sign. To God. I spend time reading, praying, resting, when my eyes will work, quoting Bible verses, or encouraging other people also going through difficulties. Sometimes, I can bullet point writing ideas and end up happy to get even those down. A certain peace comes from not fighting lost expectations.

God called me to write. My health is the back-story of my life, to point to Him. This truth helps keep my focus on the reality of His purpose, not mine, played out in my life. I can’t allow worry about what I can’t do to crowd out what I can.

If I give my timeline to Him, I’m less likely to allow discouragement and stress to rise. If I can’t write much on one day, He seems to give me enough strength on another to complete what’s necessary.

The writing adventure is because of Him. He called me to it so He’ll see me through it one day at a time.

susansage.com

@SusanMSage

www.facebook.com/susan.sage

My Creative Journey

by Erin Bambery-Veliquette

“You’re a writer you know.” My friend announced this on our drive to an Inspire workshop.

“What makes you say that? I’ve painted murals for thirteen years. I’m not a writer.”

“You do writer’s things. Journal, jot notes, and tell stories in conversation.”

Our featured speaker grabbed my attention—God has already written your stories with your life’s events…Use a truth slant if you wish—change the details…record the stories He has given you! Memories flashed through my mind. The writer’s call roared, and I was stunned.

38758035 - child look at sea behind the wall, vacation conceptAfterward, God graciously equipped me with important writer’s tools. I joined Inspire Christian Writers and a critique group which encourages attention to deadlines, submission of stories to publishers, and contest participation. This group is my favorite tool for refining word craft, feedback, and accountability. Members urged me to find a group for children’s books.

I joined the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, http://www.scbwi.org then won a contest for a free critique of my manuscript. I entered an illustration contest onsite. The winner’s art receives access to publishers and agents.

At my first writer’s conference, I scheduled fifteen-minute appointments with editors, publishers, and faculty—vital for connections, feedback, and possible publication contracts. An acquisitions editor requested my portfolio and entered it into her network base. A freelance writer urged, “Pitch, pitch, pitch!”

My first story, Meaghan O’Meara’s Prayer Bowl, was published in Inspire’s Forgiveness. A second, Don’t Bypass Joy, My Love, will appear in Inspire’s Joy.

New to this industry, I’ve discovered success sprouts from creativity, practice, feedback, and marketing. Pitch the story, write a query letter, and learn good etiquette with publishers and editors. Blogs and social media create an individual’s “brand”—a personal identifier.

Expect a valuable experience behind the doors of opportunity God presents. Events are not limited to what we see. My years of design and mural creation for my clients provides me a chance in book illustration. God often connects our past choices to future outcomes which reveal a larger picture. Write and submit, then watch God’s creative power in action.

Erin Bambery-Veliquette writer and artist, is published in the Inspire Writers Forgiveness Anthology. Meaghan O’Meara’s Bowl. Erin lived abroad and traveled extensively. She painted wall murals for several years and illustrated the successful first edition of, Little Known Tales in California History.

erinwriter.com

www.facebook.com/erin.bambery