The Joy of the Lord

Heather D. Blackman

In the midst of the storm,
The joy of the Lord becomes your refuge where you not only survive the storm,
But thrive through the storm.

In the face of adversity,
The joy of the Lord gives you courage to look past your circumstances,
And see the goodness of God.

In the fight of your life,
The Joy of the Lord reveals your inner champion to not accept defeat,
But triumph in the victory of God!

In times of weakness,
The joy of the Lord gives you strength to draw from your well of praise,
And claim power in Jesus’ name!

In moments of uncertainty,
The joy of the Lord gives you confidence that no matter what comes next,
Nothing can separate you from the Love of God!

In life every day,
The joy of the Lord extends far beyond the good times,
To a lasting assurance for all times.

 

joy of the lordHeather D. Blackman recently rediscovered her passion for writing poetry as an extension of her creative spirit. Her poetry has been published in Inspire Promise and Inspire Forgiveness. It is Heather’s desire that her poems will uplift, encourage, and express the love of our Heavenly Father.  

 

A Real Writer

I’ve been writing my whole life, but I didn’t feel like a real writer.

karen fosterIf people asked, “What do you do?” I’d tell them I’m a mom, a substitute teacher, a volunteer jail chaplain. Anything, but a writer. After all, they might ask what novels I’d written, or assume I earned a steady income as a freelance writer.

Never mind that I’d been writing stories from the time I could hold a pencil. Or that I spent several years as a newspaper journalist. I never showed people my portfolio filled with published first-person stories and Christian devotions. Never asked people to read my blog.

Compelled to write, but reluctant to admit I’m a writer.

Perhaps if writing had been my vocation instead of a hobby, I would have advertised the fact. Instead, I remained mute, and allowed my writing to wax and wane while I raised my children. And I prayed that one day, I’d become a real writer.

While other writers talked about “God’s calling,” I resorted to plucking flower petals for a sign. “God wants me to be a writer. God doesn’t want me to write. God wants…”

Then one day, a real author told me. “If God equipped you to write, then you must use your gift for whatever means. Now, say it out loud—I’m a writer.”

I glanced around and whispered. “I’m…a…writer.”

“Say the words like you mean them.”

“I’m A Writer.”

“Now, go write.”

That moment freed me to write, attend writers conferences, and join Inspire. I experienced a measure of success, but the melancholy thought lingered—am I a real writer?

What’s real?

Does a real writer have to pen a novel? Reach a quota of published manuscripts? Have a large platform? Become a well-known name?

In The Velveteen Rabbit, Skin Horse says, “Becoming real happens when a child loves…really loves you.”

By that criteria, the God of the universe really loves me. He calls me His own. Proclaiming truth—who I am in Christ—is my real identity. Writing is what I get to do.

— Karen Foster

Karen Foster loves to write, speak, and blog about the intimate satisfaction that only God can bring. Otherwise, Karen’s nose is in a book or she’s using her green thumb in the garden. KarenFosterMinistry.com.

The Power of a Four Letter Word:

Guaranteeing Success at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers

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God’s people from around the world, including my writing and prayer partner from Chile, are preparing for the upcoming Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference.

Some are breathing sighs of relief because they made the deadline for pre-submissions. Others are talking themselves off the ledge because they missed the deadline.

A few are practicing pitches.

Others are smiling, nodding, and excusing themselves for an urgent call. “Okay, Google, what is a pitch?”

Friends who met online are excited about seeing each other face-to-face for the first time. Old friends are looking forward to reunions. And a few first timers are nervous, because they won’t know one single person when they step onto that beautiful campus.

Quiet ones will feel invisible or like they don’t belong, while gaggles of writers feel at home amongst their tribe.

Many, if not all, will be terrified of rejection.

Writing Past the Doubts

I’ve just broken through a 3-day writing slump. For three solid days I couldn’t write a cohesive sentence to save my life, which thank God, was never threatened.

37323112_sLast week I committed to a writing project that I’m very excited about. I also committed to work with a mentor to (finally!) dust off a project that stalled out a few years ago. These two writing decisions brought me a brief episode of euphoria. I re-worked my schedule to accommodate them and bellied-up to the keyboard ready for adventure.

And you know what happened?

Doubt.

Suddenly, I was hammered by it.

All the voices in my head formed a choir that serenaded me day and night. “You’re no good, you’re no good, you’re no good. Baby you’re no good!”

And you know what I did?

I believed them. In fact, I helped them build a case against me. I remembered every rejection, tough critique and bad grade I ever received. It’s amazing how the mind works. I forget why I walked into the garage, but can recall with perfect clarity every criticism that’s come my way.

For the past 24 hours I thought of all the ways I could graciously wiggle out of my writing projects. After all, “I’m no good!”

Then, I decided to fight back. I put my pen to the pages of my prayer journal and cried out for help. I asked for renewed passion and for a little inspiration to get me over the hump.

And you know what happened?

I sat down and wrote. And wrote. And wrote.

The words flowed effortlessly and landed on the page as though they belonged there. I wrote thousands of words including a chapter, an outline and a couple of blog posts. Tomorrow I’ll finish my submission for the Inspire Forgiveness anthology.

The euphoria is back! I just needed to pray and write.

What do you do when you’re assailed by doubt?

beth_thompson brightElizabeth M Thompson hosts weekly Open Studio writing times in her home because she loves to write in a quiet house filled with other creatives creating. When she’s not reading, writing, or serving the Inspire writers, she can be found along the American River, pedaling her bike, paddling a kayak or walking hand-in-hand with her husband Mike. Elizabeth blogs about overcoming on her website and can be found on Facebook and Twitter if you’d like to connect with her. Be sure to stop by Prayers4Writers every Wednesday evening from 6pm PDT/9pm EDT on Twitter. Use #writetoinspire to join the conversation.

Get Inspired! Workshop Recordings are Now Available Online

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We know you can’t attend every event Inspire hosts–and that you still want to learn and improve your craft. So, we’re happy to announce that our Get Inspired! workshops are now available on our website. These workshops are free for all Inspire members. Just log in on our website and you’ll have immediate access to the recordings. If you’re not a member, but would benefit from these and future workshops, you can join today and you’ll have access a lot of great content.

ScrivenerWordWorkshop  TIPS & TRICKS WITH WORD, SCRIVENER BASICS AND HOW TO SUBMIT TO INSPIRE FORGIVENESS
Michelle Murray and Lori Sinclair present a power-packed training workshop on the three topics listed above.
Publishing Smackdown PUBLISHING SMACKDOWN: Part 1 and Part 2
Traditional Publishing vs Indie Publishing: Not sure how you want to publish your next book? Listen in as Susy Flory and Lorena Bathey debate the pros and cons of both options.
DialogueWorkshop DIALOGUE WORKSHOP
Keli Gwyn and Candace Calvert lead an entertaining, educational and interactive discussion to help writers sharpen dialogue skills.
jennifer_harrision LINKEDIN WITH JENNIFER HARRISON
If you’re like most writers, you know you “should” be on LinkedIn. You may even have an account. But you have only a vague idea why you’re there. You’re not alone!
Kathy_Boyd_Fellure PINTEREST-PERFECT-PLATFORM WITH KATHY BOYD FELLURE
If you haven’t already discovered the picture wonderland of Pinterest you’re in for a treat. Board pinning is a fun, relaxing, and creative way to draw an international audience.
DrPortiaHopkins DR. PORTIA HOPKINS explores WRITING AS A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE which leads to healing for both writer and reader as we engage with our hearts and write with vulnerability.
SocialMediaWorkshop  SOCIAL NETWORKING…HOW TO MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU
A panel discussion on how writers can effectively use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Blogging to connect with potential readers.

New recordings will be added soon, so once you’ve listened to these, be sure to check back frequently.

What would you like to learn? If you have a suggestion for a workshop, please leave it along with your comments. Your feedback shapes our mission!