“Why are you here?” I asked the 12 women who attended my devotion writing workshop.
“God has brought me through some really dark times, and I want to share the hope he’s given me with others,” one woman said.
“I have a messages burning in my heart that I have to share. I need to know how,” said another.
“I’ve been looking for a Bible study curriculum for an upcoming women’s retreat at my church. I haven’t been able to find just the right one, so I thought I’d write my own. I’m hoping to learn skills that will help me,” said a third.
I challenged them with Alton Gansky’s words: “When you write for God, and you really mean it… your work may never show up on the shelves at Lifeway. It may never find its way into bound print at all. But when you write for God, when you write with the heart of a servant…you may find that your words are only meant for the guy sitting next to you. If you can accept this…live with it…grasp it…then you can write for God as a ministry.”
And then, once they had a vision for what God can do through their writing, we got to work.
I taught them how to write a hook that would immediately capture their readers’ interest.
And then we wrote our hooks.
Peer review – “Would you read on?”
I taught them how to see God everywhere, and how to turn these “sightings” into devotions people can relate to.
And we wrote some more. Peer review – “Can you relate to this story?”
I taught them how to tie Scripture or a scriptural principle into their simple stories to make them powerful and life-changing.
And we shared what we’d written. Peer review – “Are you encouraged? Challenged? Convicted? Inspired?”
And then we wrapped it up. How can we leave our readers with a challenge, not a sermon? How can we help them feel as though we are kind friends walking the faith path beside them?
In conclusion – six of the twelve women who had crafted their stories right there in front of us concluded their tales with strains of victory – women with broken bridges, weak foundations, lost jobs, marriages, and hopes, all surrendered their stories to the Lord and invited him to use them for his glory.
“He who has been given a trust must prove faithful,” I reminded them. “You are writers. Now write for God.”
“Nothing is wasted in God’s economy," I reminded them. “If just one person gains insight, hope, courage, or wisdom from what you’ve learned through your experience, then God has used your pain to accomplish his good.”
I am humbled and privileged to have been your teacher.
Thank you, Debbie Somjak of Unfolded Hearts Ministry for catching a vision for the workshop and inviting me to come.
Thank you, Gail Purath, and Christian Devotions Ministry, for allowing me to share your best writing tips. Thank you, Michael, for listening to our blogging talk for hours on end and always maintaining a smile. (The ice cream at Jason's Deli helped!)
Thank you, Charlotte and Michael Manis, for opening your home and your hearts.
May God be glorified!
For information on how to host a writing workshop of your own, CLICK HERE.