Monday, December 27, 2010
A friend and critique partner shared this verse with me recently when I received yet another glorious rejection. Heart sick. I think nearly every writer knows the feeling. Unless you’re one of the lucky ones, you’ve experienced some kind of rejection. At best, the deferment of your dreams. At worst, the annihilation of all hope.
And it’s hard to get up the next day and keep trying. Logic says that getting a job at Wal-Mart is a safer bet.
I want to give up. Why should I keep trying to sell something no one wants buy? Isn’t it a waste of time to pour my effort into pages and pages of a story only a handful of people will ever read? What is the ever-lovin’ point?
This is when writing becomes worship, more specifically a sacrifice of praise. Because, you see, I still feel called to write. I don’t know why. It doesn’t make human sense. I mean, if I’m called to write, shouldn’t someone out there feel called to read what I write? Or am I merely a slave to my own inner drive? Like a hamster on a wheel, am I endlessly chasing my instinct and blind to the reality of my situation?
I don’t know. All I know is the call is still there. Even when I tell myself it’s time to be a grownup and do really meaningful things, like clean the bathroom. Even when I quit and surrender to the ever-present role of taxi-driving drone. Even when I tell myself, “Evangeline, this is your life. Be a good wife. Be a good mom. Be a good daughter. Clean the bathroom. Drive the car. Make the meals. That’s it.”
But that isn’t it. God desires more from me than duty. He desires my praise, my joy. And, because He designed my praise and joy to come in the form of written words, He desires me to write.
And, wouldn’t you know it, my particular form of worship happens to be the medicine for my sick heart. What starts out as a feeble attempt to follow my calling turns into life-giving communion with my God.
I’m not going to pretend it’s easy to keep crafting an offering that has no value in the human world. But it is my worship, and so I’ll keep at it.
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. Hebrews 13:15
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
I'm not sure why anyone would write who had not been called. It's certainly not for the recognition or money. We are truly underpaid for the hundreds and thousands of hours we pour into a single book. So few people gain fame and fortune from writing. So why do we do it?
God has called us.
Whether writing is easy or hard, being obedient to God's call to write is Worship. We have nothing. We can only give back what God has given us. He gives us the gift of writing everyday so we have a gift to give Him back in worship.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Not that I've had many teeth pulled, but I've had toothaches, and I know how good that feels when it goes away!
Writing as an act of worship is rarely convenient. There are many other things I'd rather be doing -- like laundry, organizing my spice rack, even dusting my office.
Writing as an act of worship is never comfortable. Even as I learn more about my characters and my setting, I learn more about myself. What makes me tick. What makes me boil. What makes me cry.
Writing as an act of worship is seldom complete. Just when I think I'm done with a paragraph, a chapter, a book, I find other ways to improve the story, tighten the writing, strengthen the plot.
Writing as an act of worship is always sacrificial. No matter how excited I am about sitting down to put words on the screen, I must choose that over any of the other dozens of tasks begging my attention.
Writing as an act of worship is spiritual in nature. I pray before I put fingers to keyboard, asking the Lord to write His story through me. Without Him, I would be just another hack writer begging to be read. With Him, published or not, I touch lives.
Writing as an act of worship is my greatest service to my King. Through my writing, I'm able to return to Him the words He has given. I can point others to the loving creator of the universe, offer them hope in a dark world, and share the love of Christ, sometimes without even mentioning His name.
Writing as an act of worship is integral to my writing process. Whether you find writing to be inconvenient, uncomfortable, or incomplete, keep on writing. Look for the ways that your writing can be sacrificial, spiritual, and service-oriented. Fill your writing with your passion for your Lord, the promises of His Word, and professions of what He has done in your life.
This month, look for ways to worship the King through your writing. Even if it is just between you and Him. Write, write, write!
Monday, December 6, 2010
I can’t think of anything more worshipful in my writing than removing myself from the equation and allowing God’s voice to penetrate through the storyline. Following is an article I wrote for CCWC’s unpublished prose contest in 2002. It has become my plumb line in all of my writing since. I share it now with you, and I pray that you, also, will come to realize that the most important voice with which to write is God’s.
IF ANYONE HEARS MY VOICE
By Kathleen E. Kovach
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Revelation 3:20
Okay, repeat after me, "If you want to be a writer, you have to find your own voice." We've all heard it, read it, and studied it. It's standard curriculum for Fiction Writing 101. So, for years I tried to find my own voice.
I wrote poetry in verse, free verse, two lines, two pages, Haiku, Limerick. I even tried typing them in little letters like e.e. cummings, then despite my thickness, realized it had already been done.
I wrote short stories and novelettes, using first person, third person, a dog's view, but nothing seemed to be uniquely my voice.
So, I went into reflective mode. What is my voice? Why should I even have a voice? Who am I? Why would anyone want to listen to me? What do I have to say that's so important?
Then, out of the fog I call my thought process, a voice clear and strong gave me the answer. "I am."
I shook my head. I am…what?
The voice cleared my head with an eternity of wisdom. "I am important".
Those words seeped into my heart, my soul, my very existence. I had written about God before, but had I written with His voice? Had I allowed Him to speak through my fingers? Or did I just run with the idea in my head, hoping that it made sense?
The next step in this new revelation was to learn how to recognize God's voice. Out came the concordance. Scripture after scripture, I proceeded to learn wonderful things about God's voice. It evokes obedience--yet entreats. It commands and confirms. It roars, strikes like flashes of lightening, shakes the desert, and breaks cedars--yet, it is hushed. It's powerful, majestic, like a trumpet--yet, it can ask a simple question. It can raise the dead. It shakes heaven and earth, it twists the oaks and strips the forest bare--yet, the sheep who love that voice know it and are comforted.
My mission was clear. I must set myself aside and write with God's voice. This was harder than I imagined. Too many times I let my own beliefs, or the particular soapbox I was on that week, infiltrate my work. I had to stop and use the criteria from that concordance exercise. Did the message roar, was it powerful or majestic? Would those who read it feel comforted--or convicted? Would they feel anything at all? The voice of God moves objects, unseals tombs, and changes convictions. If I wrote with God's voice, it would change minds and mend hearts. Those who know His voice would say, "Yes, that's right."
What a responsibility! I had written for years, yet it was not until I became a Christian that I had anything to say. Then, I had to be certain it was not my words, but God's.
I'm still working on taming my voice to step aside for greater wisdom. But if I look to Him, and listen to that still, small voice, my writing will be stronger for it, and more importantly, will reach those who need to hear it.
Oh, someone is knocking at my door. I hear His voice so it's time to let Him in, have a meal together, and put my pen to paper.
Kathy Kovach is the ACFW Rocky Mountain Zone Director, and author with Heartsong Presents and Barbour Publishing. She writes Spiritual Truth…With A Giggle, thus proving herself as one of God’s peculiar people. Check out her books at www.FictionFinder.com.
Friday, December 3, 2010
“Come and behold Him,
Born the King of angels
O come let us adore Him
Christ the Lord”
Jesus, Creator of the universe, King of all time, the very Word of God coming to earth as a helpless baby, dependent upon a young girl for nourishment, hunted by cruel King Herod, under the protection of a poor carpenter. It’s preposterous.
Scripture says the angels watched in baffled amazement as God’s plan for the redemption of man unfolded. They couldn’t believe God would choose to become flesh and hang out with lowly man. To think the Holy One would allow those infinitely inferior to Him to birth Him, raise Him, and eventually kill Him seems outrageous.
And yet that’s what our Lord did. He left the splendor and perfection of heaven to walk among us, teach us Who God is, and save us from ourselves.
“Come,” the song says. “Come and adore the Lord! Behold the King of angels wrapped in cloth and born as man.”
And while something divine within me swells and longs to shout in exultant worship, I feel ill qualified to offer my adoration. All I can give and think and say and do seems miniscule in comparison to what He deserves and who He is.
Sometimes it is hard to come—to know how to adore.
What does adoration look like? How do I offer it to Something as big as God?
As I grapple with these questions, the face of my two-year-old nephew flashes onto the screen of my mind. He is grinning. His whole face is alight—brown eyes sparkling and smile free and full. His expression says, “I know you adore me, Auntie Paula and I’m thrilled by it.”
What amazes me about this memory is how little I’d done to illicit such a delighted response from the little guy. I’d simply looked his way, gazed into his big eyes, and smiled at him.
Perhaps that is all the Lord asks this day as well. No contrived worship. No cooked up accolades. No forced exultation. No struggle to give Him all He deserves. No fussing and worrying and feeling inadequate. Instead, just a humble honest acknowledgement of our love.
Perhaps Jesus is simply waiting for us to glance His way, look Him full in the eyes, and smile.
Maybe adoration is not so much something bigger than us, but an honest offering of our love.
Acknowledge how precious He is.
Let us adore Him.
~Want to think more about worship? I was hired to do a whole Rio Family Currents newsletter for David C Cook on worship. Check it out for thoughts on worship and ideas on how to worship with the family in this season of the incarnation!
A writer, speaker, and homeschooling mother of four, Paula Moldenhauer is passionate about God’s grace and intimacy with Jesus. She is published in book compilations, magazines, and e-zines, and writes curriculum for David C Cook's new RIO! line. Her website, Soul Scents, offers a free weekly devotional, and you can visit her blog at GraceReign. Paula serves as president of HIS Writers, the north Denver ACFW chapter. A devoted Pride and Prejudice fan, she loves good conversation, peppermint ice cream, and walking barefoot. Her greatest desire is to be close enough to Jesus to live His fragrance.