Don’t Quit – We Can do This

I felt a little guilty when I walked out of the Westmoreland Medical Clinic for the last time. In the parking lot I stifled my spreading grin, and after shutting the car door I unleashed a giggle. I was free!

Until that spring, I had no interest in reading or writing fiction. I wanted to stick with the Bible, the only book I felt I could trust to be true (nonfiction). My work in health records was the perfect outlet for me as I carefully researched and managed medical files. It was all about order and facts.

runner. free. skeeze. pixabay

But something changed when I left my job. I was now free to pursue something radically different.

I challenged myself to consider how Jesus often used parables – fictional stories to help his hearers understand the concepts he was teaching.

Could I do that?

I wanted to improve how I serve God and others, and broaden my communication skills. That meant I needed to learn to tell a good story, like Jesus, but how do I start?

I called myself a writer. That was hard. It was like admitting I might waste a lot of time arranging words with nothing to show for it. My husband said, “Go for it,” and my family was supportive, so I dove in.

The next step was to put money on it. I bought Writing Fiction for Dummies, by Randy Ingermanson. The following year I was privileged to tell the author how much I appreciated his book when I encountered him at the Oregon Christian Writers summer conference!

I did it!

I’ve sat through dozens of workshops, taken courses, attended author events, talked with editors and agents at writing conferences, and kept writing. I work with my critique partners so we can improve together.

My first devotionals were contracted last year and my first short story released just this week (see Jesus Talked to Me Today  in the sidebar). I don’t intend to quit. It takes a lot of faith, it’s true, to believe my writing is helping people.

I want to keep getting better

I’m turning another corner this year, though not as dramatic as my leap from medical writing (nonfiction) to stories (fiction). Now I’m learning to tell real stories, keeping them true, with a literary aspect. It’s like telling the truth but making it more captivating, or perhaps more understandable.

Here’s an explanation of what I’m talking about.

“Creative nonfiction merges the boundaries between literary art (fiction, poetry) and research nonfiction (statistical, fact-filled, run of the mill journalism). It is writing composed of the real, or of facts, that employs the same literary devices as fiction such as setting, voice/tone, character development, etc. This makes if (sic) different (more ‘creative’) than standard nonfiction writing.” – from Writing Tips page on the University of Vermont’s website.

Let’s go.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

When is the Best Time to Write? – Proverbs 14:23

It’s like asking a painter when he should choose the colors for his palette, or a chef when she should start working on a menu plan. When is the best time to start?

A better question might be, How can I predict when my super genius will show up – so minimal effort will give birth to amazing creations?

girl w watch. free.PublicDomainPictures. pixabay

Now is a good time

I parked under the Jerry’s Home Improvement sign last week, waiting for a man to show up with the car we were interested in buying. The window of opportunity for getting it to our mechanic was narrowing by the minute, but there I sat, tapping my finger on the steering wheel.

I was also concerned about my husband’s arrival. He felt the pressure of the ticking clock, as well. And I was uneasy about meeting a stranger alone.

A perfect opportunity, nearly

Instead of fussing about the inconvenience of it all, I chose to work on something I had more control over. I pulled my notebook out of my purse and found a blank page. It wasn’t easy corralling my thoughts at first, but I was determined to put some words on paper that might eventually morph into a blog post or a devotional for my publisher.

I found the unlikely location and out-of-the-ordinary scenery refreshed my thinking, and sure enough, ideas flowed. Now I have an inspirational message I can share.

Perfect situation or not, I can keep working. I can find some way to be productive. Like poking seeds into rich soil and tending the plants as they grow, my continued efforts will bring a profitable result.

“All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (Proverbs 14:23 NIV).

Now is a perfect time to write, and now I have another environment to write in – our newer car.

Kathy Davis

When your Life’s Work Gets the Dreaded Pink Slip – Job 1:21

Does God fire people who work for him? I don’t know about being fired, but I received a pink slip terminating me from my life’s calling several years ago.

When I attended a staff meeting at church, I observed the discussion about how the different ministries should be managed. It was insightful.

The first to give a report was a youth pastor who passionately shared his plans for reaching teens before they graduate from high school. He asked the other leaders to support him.

Another pastor, whose focus was on adult education (helping people move on from their past) brought up how family trees could be changed if everyone took his class. A third, the leader of the worship ministry, was just as convinced worshiping God with music should be the church’s priority.

Each leader felt his was the most valuable part of the church’s work, and it soon turned into a lively discussion. The temperature seemed to rise in the room when they were unsuccessful getting the others to agree with their point of view.

How do we let go?

I listened and inwardly criticized. Couldn’t they see they were holding on to their ministries too tightly? If God gave them their particular “callings” then he might also reorder things or even take them away. It’s all his business, after all.

But when it happened to me it wasn’t so easy.

My life’s work

Following the birth of our first child I threw myself wholly into parenting and managing our home. By the time my third arrived, I was sailing in my mothering ministry.

I’d never been more confident of God’s direction and blessing on my efforts. Wasn’t I doing the most important work–teaching others by example to be followers of Jesus, giving them the love and instruction they needed to navigate their lives?

And I was good at it.

I had a list of excellent reasons why my fruitful ministry should continue indefinitely. I volunteered to drive my friends’ children to Christian school, had a childcare business in my home, oversaw children’s ministries at church, sponsored orphans in other countries. I even home schooled three of our foster children.

Accepting the pink slip

Can you imagine my shock when I got my pink slip? Yeah, I thought about stalling the termination of my work with children by taking in more foster kids, but even then I wouldn’t be able to escape the truth. My cup was running dry. My Lord was inviting me to willingly move on from a vibrant, productive ministry, and to follow him in new ways.

Eventually, after a time of prayer and soul searching, I clutched my pink slip and watched it change into a boarding pass for my next adventure with God.

And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Job 1:21 ESV

We can skip along in our blessings and say the Lord did this or the Lord did that, but what will we say when those good things come to an end?

Hopefully, it’s blessed be the name of the Lord!

by Kathy Sheldon Davis