Many people have experienced God’s power, mercy, and redeeming grace in amazing ways. The Lord transforms lives as His people courageously testify about the things He’s done in and through their circumstances.
Sometimes, our sharing is done in an intimate setting. Sometimes, writers pour out their hearts in a book. The Lord prepared Jane S. Daly to write Because of Grace from the moment doctors diagnosed her son with cancer, through the grieving process following his death, and in the refuge of His peace from which she shares her journey with others.
In this interview, Jane reminds us that, no matter how large the audience, a personal testimony is a gift that can be life-changing when placed into the hands of our Almighty God.
Inspire: Thank you for sharing your testimony in your debut book, Because of Grace. Please share the keys to making a personal story relevant to universal audience.
Jane: There’s a saying, “No tears from the writer, no tears from the reader.” Being vulnerable is the most important part of telling your story. People want to know how you dealt with the bad stuff, and receive encouragement from you. Otherwise, it’s just preaching.
Inspire: What was the most challenging part of writing your personal story in a way that would be relevant to a universal audience?
Jane: The most challenging part, period, was reliving all those emotions. Anger, grief, denial, bitterness. Everyone experiences pain, and exposing that pain is where others can relate to your story.
Jane: I began blogging when Bobby was first diagnosed. I wrote a couple of articles which I submitted for publication. An editor suggested I write a book about my journey, so I pulled much of the content from my journal, blog, and articles.
Inspire: Why is it important for writers to be emotionally and spiritually ready to share their painful past in such a permanent public form?
Jane: We need to know that our fellow Christians don’t have it all together. So often we put on our Sunday faces, and never let people know the painful things we’re going through. It’s encouraging when we find out how God is helping others who are suffering, too. For instance, I was asked to write an article about a woman who was kidnapped and raped. She appeared very together at church, and no one would have ever known about her ordeal. Because she chose to reveal it, other women were emboldened to come forward and receive healing.
Inspire: How can a writer tell if they’re ready to publish their story for a universal audience?
Jane: Critique groups, such as Inspire Christian Writers offers, are invaluable. We write in a vacuum, so having others read our work helps keep things in perspective. They catch grammar problems, continuity, and universal appeal. I LOVE my critique group ladies.
Inspire: If a writer feels ready to share their testimony in a book, what can they do to be better prepared for the process?
Jane: Know that it won’t be easy. Be prepared for tears. Be prepared to want to abandon the project. Be prepared for God to bring things up that you didn’t realize you still needed to deal with.
Inspire: Please share a final word of encouragement for writers who think they might be ready to share their painful past with a universal audience.
Jane: If you think you’re ready to write your story, gather a couple of people around you and ask for their prayers. Ask them if you can rely on them for encouragement when you want to give up. I started a Facebook group called “Fire Pit People.” We share our ups and downs, frustrations and temptations. We support each other, and occasionally virtually slap each other upside the head.
Inspire: Thank you for inspiring us to write with courage and transparency, Jane.