Faith,  Heart,  Hope,  Hope-filled Fiction,  Soul

Do You Need Encouragement Today?

This week I’m in Black Mountain, NC at the Mountainside Novelist Retreat. The beauty of the mountains surrounds Ridgecrest Conference Center, and the beauty of the Christian writing community has surrounded me.

Along with large group sessions over the three day retreat on characterization, plot, world-building, emotions, and dialogue, I’m part of a smaller group of eight who meet with our mentor, Lynette Eason. In our discussions, we give and receive constructive feedback on the first five pages of a work in progress and talk about how we can make our writing and characters stronger. 

My Retreat Group (Minus Lynette and one other)

Between all the sessions, there’s time around the cafeteria table, in elevators, and hanging out in the lobby to discuss and brainstorm scenarios for our stories. When I’m discouraged about a comment that makes me wonder if my story will ever go anywhere, or a mistake I’ve made, there’s a friend beside me to offer encouragement, pray with me, and help me talk through it.

We all need encouragement don’t we? It doesn’t matter if it’s about writing, parenting, your marriage, a career, a difficult decision, or many other things—encouragement is essential for us to keep going.

This is one of the beauties of the body of Christ. When believers stay connected to God and are filled with the Holy Spirit, we aren’t competing, but are interested in what others are doing and cheer them on.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25

“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Philippians 2:1-4

One thing I love about these passages, is that we as believers work together with one mind and purpose. Our purpose is to glorify God and lead others to Him. That’s my goal with my writing—and it’s the goal of many writer friends I’ve made this past year.

Lynette Eason, DiAnn Mills, & Eadie Melson – Novelist Retreat Mentors

Before I started down the road to seek publication, I never thought about how much time, energy, prayer, and resources authors pour into the books we have the joy and privilege to read and gain insight and spiritual growth. This includes fiction and non-fiction. 

Some people may question how a fiction book can impact someone’s life since it’s not true. Well, Christian fiction may be about fictional characters, but the situations they find themselves in and the consequences of their sin, are very much reality. When an author pours God’s truth into a fictional story, God can and will use that story to highlight His love and grace and draw people to Himself that wouldn’t attend church or read the Bible.

Lynette Eason led the devotion this morning for the large group, and she spoke about how God used Esther “for such a time as this.” She asked, “How would history have been changed had Esther not obeyed?” She then asked, “If you stop writing, will history be changed?” Only God knows the answer to that but if He’s called us to something, He has plans to use us.

My writing may never make a worldwide impact, but will it impact one? Will a fiction story about a character struggling with shame and guilt help someone accept God’s forgiveness toward them and forgive themselves? If so, it’s worth it.

What has God called you to do? Could your calling change a life? Have you been obedient to that call? Or are you making excuses why you can’t do it? Think about how the history of your own family could change if you don’t answer the call.

Esther could have walked away from what God asked her to do, but she didn’t. She chose obedience and impacted the world.

Will I? Will you?

Lynette closed her devotion with this thought: God has chosen you for such a time as this. Be obedient, take risks, and watch God reward your faithfulness.

My encouragement to you today is keep moving forward. Don’t give up on the dream God has put in your heart. He is faithful.

Join the conversation. What has God put on your heart to do that you are struggling to obey? Are you bold enough to comment here to bring some accountability to your life? Do you have a friend in your life who encourages you to be the best you? How do you support and encourage others in your life? Has God brought someone to mind you need to encourage today? If so, don’t put it off. They may need to hear exactly what you have to say to keep going in the direction God has for them.

As a Jesus girl for more than thirty years, Deena Adams understands how important hope is to daily life, which fuels her passion to inspire others through hope-filled fiction based on true to life stories. She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency and is a multi-award-winning writer, an active ACFW member, and ACFW Virginia president. Connect with Deena through her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.