Month: March 2022

Do You Really Know Who God Is? Part 2

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Do You Really Know Who God Is? Part 2 Write from the Deep podcast with Karen Ball and Erin Taylor Young

God is SO big. So full of mystery and wonder and power. How can our human minds ever really know him? By taking one attribute at a time and savoring it, letting him reveal himself to us. Come join us as we explore more attributes of the character of Almighty God.

Thanks to our sponsors on Patreon, we’re able to offer an edited transcript of the podcast!

Erin: Hello, listeners. Welcome to the deep. We’re glad that you’ve chosen to join us. A couple of episodes ago, in episode 159, we started talking about knowing who God is and quickly discovered we had way too much material. Surprise! God is very big. 

So, this is part two. It’s important as writers that we have the best understanding of who God is, what his character is, and what his attributes are because the writing life is hard. It’s filled with trials. It’s filled with temptations. It’s important that we know who we’re trusting in and that we know him well. 

Karen: Especially because he gives us truth to speak. We should expect attacks from our enemy, who prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). But you know what? If you’re grounded in who God is—in his attributes, in his character, in his truth—you can ward off the attacks.

Truth always prevails. God’s truth always prevails.

God is Sovereign

Erin: It does. Today we’ll start with: God is sovereign. What that means is that he rules. Always. Not sometimes. Not once in a while. Always. He can, because he’s all-powerful. We talked about that last time when we said God was all-powerful. Omnipotent.

But it’s more than just being able to rule. God has an actual plan that is perfect. That he’s ruling by. If you’re familiar with the whole plotter and pantser writer descriptions, God is not a pantser. He’s a plotter, and he’s got this whole plan. 

I feel like for writers, we need to take comfort in that. Nothing, nothing is happening in your life apart from God’s will. Nothing’s happening in your writing world that is apart from God’s will. He’s working everything to your good and for his glory. 

Not only that, but he’s our king. He’s sovereign. We owe submission to him. I don’t think it’s an accident that when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, Jesus said, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” Hallowed. Because he’s sovereign. And, “Your kingdom come, your will be done.” (Matthew 6:9-10)

Another thing I think we need to think about with this is that it’s not okay to be complainers and grumblers. Yeah, we know in the Psalms, like king David, he poured out his heart, and there was some complaining in there, but that wasn’t the rule of his life. He always acknowledged God. Even though we have these human feelings of displeasure with what’s happening, that’s not to be the rule of our lives. We’re still always to be submitted to his sovereign will. 

I think we need to be reminded of that. In Habbakuk 2:20, and this is a verse I found recently and I’d love it, it says, “But the Lord is in his holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before him.”

I think that needs to be our attitude often. Silent submission, not grumbling and complaining. That’s a way that we can show we’re submitted to God’s sovereignty. 

Jesus is the Man of Sorrows

Karen: God through Christ is also the Man of Sorrows. Anything that we have experienced on our journey, whether it’s our faith journey or our writing journey, any sense of pain or struggle, any sense of betrayal by those that we thought we could trust. And too often, we place our trust in men. We place our trust in publishers. We place our trust in other writers. We even place our trust in friends and family. The sad fact is people are broken, and people will always let you down. 

I’ve heard writers saying things like, “And they call themselves Christian publishers!”

Well, let me just dispel that myth for you. Today there is no such thing as a Christian publisher. There are publishers that are peopled by employees who are Christians and doing their best to follow God. But even they will make mistakes and make missteps. And it may cost you. 

You may feel betrayed when a contract is canceled. When a series is stopped after the first book. When you think for sure that they’re going to contract your book and suddenly they’re like, “No, we’re going to go a different direction.”

Guys, any of that, any of that has come to God through Christ and all that he suffered. I mean, talk about betrayal by those you trust. Yet he continued to love, and he continued to move forward, and he continued to sacrifice everything for us. 

Sometimes when you’re in a difficult time you think to yourself, “Nobody understands what I’m facing.” Then a writer friend, or a family member, or somebody will come and put their arm around you and say, “I understand.”

I just had this happen recently where I was frustrated about something, and somebody wrote me a really sweet email and said, “I understand what you’re facing.” 

My immediate human response was, “No, you don’t. You don’t have this situation and this situation and this situation.”

God stopped me right in the midst of that, and he said, “That person understands portions of it. I understand it all. I know sorrow. I faced sorrow and betrayal. I was cut to the core by my creation turning its back on me. You can trust me with all your sorrow, all your pain, all your sense of betrayal.”

I just hit my knees, and I thought, “I’m so sorry, God. I’m so sorry that I got so wrapped up in my emotions that I lost track of the fact that you are in control and nothing comes to me but by your hand, and that you understand. You understand every pain, every sorrow, every sense of betrayal or loss.”

We can trust him and be grounded in that truth of his character. 

God is loving

Erin: Yeah, and everything that comes to us by his hand, we need to understand that it’s God’s loving hand, because God is loving. He loves with a perfect love, and he’s not going to stop because God is eternal, and love is part of his attributes. So his love just doesn’t stop.

I love what A. W. Tozer says. He says, “God’s love for us is uncaused and undeserved.” That’s important because we can’t earn it. And we can’t ever be less or more loved because God’s love is already perfect. Nothing we can do is going to change that. God’s love is without limit. 

Then I sit down and wonder what does perfect love even look like? That is so hard for us to get a grasp on. We can’t experience that in human relationships, because as Karen said, we’re fallen, and we’re broken, and we’re flawed. We can’t love each other perfectly. From God is the only place where we can experience this perfect love. 

How many times do we NOT turn to him for it? How many times do we turn to other things, other people, for a love that’s more than they can give? Or something that they’re not meant to give?

I think about us as writers, we want our readers to love us. Yes, we’re there to serve them, but we’re not there to get love from them. We can’t find perfect love. We can’t get our acceptance and our validation there because God is the one who gives that to us. God is the one who loves us perfectly. That’s what we need to be thankful for.

I think, too, we need to remember to give grace to each other because God gives grace to us and still loves us. He gives us a model for loving others: his love. Not that we can do it like he does. 

But his love… sometimes guys, just take five minutes. Just take five minutes and sit down and dwell in God’s love. Think about it. Meditate on it. Or just let it flow over you. It’s well worth it to consider and to take time to live in that place. 

God is our counselor

Karen: God is also our counselor. Proverbs 2:6-8 tells us, “For the Lord gives wisdom. From his mouth, come knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright. He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the ways of his saints.”

My husband, Don, and I have always had a difficult relationship. Still do sometimes. We went through 20 years of marital counseling. When we first started going to counselors, we went through like four of them, and all four of them quit counseling. They all said it didn’t have anything to do with us, but you know, you never can be quite sure. 

Then God led us to a man who was a true counselor. He was a godly counselor. We learned that real counselors, counselors who are doing what they’re doing because God has led them to it—and God is our Counselor—they do more of than just listen and give advice. 

They don’t just sit there and, like you know, all these things we see on TV where the way that counselors are depicted there are like, “And how does that make you feel? And how does that make you feel?”

That’s not what God does. God enters into whatever we are experiencing. Whether it’s a good thing, whether it’s a hard thing, whether it’s confusion, whether it’s not knowing what the next step is, we can take it all to our counselor, to our God and just pour our hearts out to him and ask him to grant us guidance. 

He doesn’t just give advice. He shows us the way we should go. He listens not just to our words, but to our hearts and to our spirits. He helps us to understand ourselves and others. He gives us insight and revelation so that we can understand situations better. He helps us to see our own weaknesses and to deal with them if we will submit them to him and place them on his alter. 

I had a terrible time, and still do at times, dealing with pride. I’m an abled person in many ways. I’ve been able to do a lot of things without a whole lot of effort to do it. I let myself believe in my own press for a while, and then I was just flattened by something that I couldn’t deal with. 

I realized I have nothing to be proud about. The only thing, like Paul says, that I can take pride in is Christ and him crucified. Nothing else. I can take pride in the fact that I trusted God. I told him I can’t. So God helps us see our weaknesses and to deal with them. 

He’s the one true catalyst for change within us. As our counselor, as our holy guide and the one who grants us holy revelation, he’s the catalyst within us that will change us into a better reflection of Christ in the world. In our writing, in our relationships, in everything that we say and do.

If you’re not reflecting him in what you’re writing, seriously, what’s the point? Don’t go through the pain. But if you want to do it and you want to reflect him in the stories and the nonfiction books that you’re sharing, then recognize who he is to you as your counselor. 

Erin: Right. And as your counselor, think of him also as your guide on your writing journey. Sometimes we get so caught up in wondering what we should do. We talk to everybody, and we read books about writing, and we read blogs, and we do this and we do that. We ask all these things, and we forget to ask God. So be sure that you’re looking to God for his counsel in what you do each day and every step you take on your writing journey.

God is Just

Erin: The next attribute we want to talk about is that God is just. His judgments also are perfect. It says in Deuteronomy 32:4: “The Rock, his work is perfect for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without inequity, just an upright is he.”

I think that understanding the justice of God helps us to better appreciate his great mercy. We cannot forget that what we deserve in this world is death. We are not perfect people. We are sinful people. What God gave us is not what we deserve. He gave us a Savior, Jesus, to pay the penalty, to pay for our willful defiance, our inability to submit. Jesus satisfied the just wrath of God.

I think we as writers, we need to remember what we deserve and how we got mercy instead. I think this helps our attitude every day to be one of gratitude and humility. We need that as writers. 

We need to practice mercy toward each other. I’m not saying that you should be a doormat, but practice mercy. Jesus says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Matthew 6:7 (ESV)

As Karen was talking earlier about the publishing industry, I mean, guys, it’s not fair. Publishing is not fair. We need to avoid seeking our own vengeance. That’s something for God to deal with, because God is just. All we need to do is approach God with complete trust as our just vindicator and the one who’s in control. 

God is a Refiner

Karen: God is also our refiner. I love this idea of him as our refiner. You’ve all heard the Scripture where he tells us that he will test us and refine us like silver (1 Peter 1:7). Where it gets melted and the impurities rise to the surface. The person who’s doing the refining scoops that off and just keeps going through that process. 

I think, too, of a sculptor who works on a piece of granite and inside that piece of granite is this beautiful creation, but he has to chip away at everything that is not the refined piece. Being refined is never easy. It’s painful. 

My husband and I, as this is being recorded, have been preparing our home to sell. With everything that we do, I think to myself that I just want to put it on the market the way it is. Just take it as is. I don’t want to go through all this. 

We tend to be like that in our faith. “I just want to write my books. I just want to do the speaking. Why can’t people just buy it the way it is?” 

There is refinement that has to take place in order to lead us toward excellence in what we’re doing for God. That painful process of being refined, of being thrown into the fire and burned with all the dross coming off, of having the chisel set to those hard parts of us that are hardened against God—none of that is fun. 

But God is a master refiner and a master sculptor. What you will become is a masterpiece that will reflect him. We’re told in Scripture, in 1 John 3:2: “We are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” 

We will be the reflection that he has been making us into for him. To stand beside him and glorify him. Our refinement is not about us being better and perfect. Our refinement is about being more obedient, more submitted, and glorifying God for who he is. To let the world see us, glorifying him, raising our hands to him, and letting him shine through us. 

Erin: I love that metaphor of the sculpture. I don’t know if any of you have ever seen Michelangelo’s sculpture called David, but can you just picture this sculpture of this man halfway done? People will be walking by going, “Hmm, I don’t have a lot of faith here, Michelangelo. He doesn’t look too good right now…” 

It is not a pretty process. And yet the end result! Now, maybe we’re not going to see that end result until heaven. And maybe it’s not going to be 100% pretty along the way, but Karen is right. It’s all about patience. It’s all about being willing to go through that process.

God is relational

Erin: The next thing is that God is relational. Think about the Trinity. That’s probably always going to be a mystery to me, but it also makes me think that there is a perfect fellowship in this three in one. Perfect fellowship among God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. That tells me that God is relational.

Then there’s the fact that God says he’s going to make man in his own image to walk with him in the cool of the garden. That’s relationship right there. Now, God doesn’t need people because he’s self-sufficient. He’s perfect without us. We can’t make him better. We can’t complete him by, like, knowing him or loving him or anything. But we become better people for our relationship with him.

As writers and people, sometimes we forget just how much God desires to have relationship with us. Just because he doesn’t need us doesn’t mean he doesn’t want us. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t desire that relationship with us and enjoy that relationship with us. 

One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 31:3. It says, “I’ve loved you with an everlasting love…” that’s relational. It goes on, “Therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness.”

There’s even more relational language in Hosea 2:19-20. This is the New King James version, but I like the way it says, “I will betroth you to me forever, yes, I will betroth you to me, in righteousness and justice in loving kindness and mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness and you shall know the Lord.”

That’s all about relationship. And the writing journey, we’ve said this so often, the writing journey is all about relationship with God. It’s the carrying out of life, of mission, in God’s presence with him. 

God Is the Giver of Delight

Karen: Right. And in that same spirit, God is the giver of delight. I mean, all you have to do is look at the world that he created. This isn’t even the perfect world that he first created. This is a broken world that we’ve allowed sin and corruption to come into and bring decay. Yet, even as we look at this broken world, there is so much delight. So much beauty. 

Even just the flowers. They’re starting to bloom here. It’s spring as we’re recording this. My mini irises have just come up. My daffodils and jonquils are starting to open. They were buds yesterday. Today, they’re flowers. How does that happen? 

I keep looking at all of this around us. All of the beauty in the birds, in nature. All of the beauty in the people that we know and that we see. I’m not talking about what’s on the outside. I’m talking about on the inside. The beauty of that spirit submitted to God. The beauty of those who step out in courageous movements to spread God’s gospel. 

Again, as this is being recorded, Russia is invading the Ukraine. I just saw a picture of a street overflowing with Ukrainians who have stepped into the street and are praising and worshiping God and calling on him for protection as the Russian army is coming against them. 

That kind of beauty, friends, comes from the Spirit of God that comes in a washes over us and helps us to be brave no matter what’s taking place. God delights in us and over us. He gives us delight. Little ones. Big ones. 

In Zephaniah 3:17 it says, “For the Lord, your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

The Creator of the world is rejoicing over you today in this moment. And as writers, God has given us this incredible invitation into creation. When we craft our books, his hands rest on ours. His words flow through us. Whatever we’re writing comes to life because of him and his love, not just for us, but for those who will read our words. God is the giver of delight and you can come to him and be praising him and thanking him for that attribute.

Erin: Amen! 

Karen: There’s so many things for us to know about God. There are so many pieces and parts and intricacies of who God is that our human minds can’t even begin to understand. Yet he comes to us with patience and with great love and opens our eyes at the perfect time to see whatever we need to see of him and to embrace the things that he wants us to embrace of him.

Not because we’re perfect. Not because we’re worth it. But because he loves, regardless of all of that. God is so big. We are so small. Yet everything that he is is there for us. To draw us into relationship with him, to draw us into becoming a better reflection of him. 

Friends, God delights over you. God loves you. God brings you justice. God will guide you. God is perfect. God is omnipresent. God is! 

Just stop for a moment and think about that. God is. And he’s for you. Let’s rejoice in that and savor that today, as we think about the work that we are doing, as he has called us to do it. 

Erin: Amen. 

Karen: Amen.

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

Has God been showing you more about one of his attributes lately? Which one? How?

THANK YOU!

Thanks to all our patrons on Patreon! You help make this podcast possible!

Thanks so much to our March sponsor of the month, Tammy Partlow! She’s a speaker at women’s retreats, and her debut novel Blood Beneath the Pines, a suspense set in the deep South, is now available. She’s hard at work on the next book in the series!

Many thanks also to the folks at Podcast P.S. for their fabulous sound editing!

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161 – Be a Prayer Influencer! with Guest Lenora Worth

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Be a Prayer Influencer! With Guest Lenora Worth Write from the Deep podcast with Karen Ball and Erin Taylor YoungAs writers, we hope and pray that our words will reach readers’ hearts and minds. That our work will influence them to go deeper with God. But there’s another way we can open ourselves for God to use us, and that’s to use our words in prayer. Guest Lenora Worth shares how God has blessed her through being a prayer influencer.

About Lenora Worth

A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Honor Roll, Lenora Worth writes romance and romantic suspense for Love Inspired and sweet romance for Tule Publishing. She also writes for Kensington Books. Three of her books have finaled in the ACFW Carol Awards. She received the Romantic Times Pioneer Award for Inspirational Fiction. Lenora is a NY Times, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling writer and a 2019 RWA RITA® Finalist. With one-hundred-plus books and novellas published and over three million books in print, she enjoys adventures with her retired husband and loves reading, baking, and shopping … especially shoe shopping.

Thanks to our sponsors on Patreon, we’re able to offer an edited transcript of the podcast!

Erin: Welcome to all of you, our wonderful listeners in the deep. We’re thankful that you’re here with us. We have a guest, and we’re thankful for that, too!

Karen: Our guest is Lenora Worth. She and I worked together years and years and years ago. When I was heading up fiction at Multnomah Books, she was one of my authors when I was the managing editor there. I always enjoyed her books and loved her humor. 

She’s an ACFW honor roll member. She writes inspirational fiction for Harlequin’s Love Inspired and sweet romance for Tule Publishing. She also writes for Kensington books. This is one very busy lady! She helped launch the Rodeo Nights Western Romance imprint. Her Love Inspired Suspense novel Body of Evidence made the New York Times bestseller list. She’s also a USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling author. 

She is amazing! In 2016, she received a Romantic Times Pioneers of Fiction Award, and when her 75th book published, she received the ACFW milestone pin at the same time that Debbie Macomber received the same pin. Lenora said she was more excited to share the stage with Debbie Macomber than anything else. I don’t blame her! Debbie is amazing, too. 

Three of Lenora’s books have been nominated for the ACFW Carol Award, and she is an RWA Rita finalist. She’s written a hundred plus books and has an estimated 3 million books in print. She loves cheesecake, shoe shopping, walking on the beach, and reading. And she has an amazing prayer ministry, which is what we’re going to talk about today.

Erin: Yes! Thank you, Lenora for being here. Welcome! 

Lenora: Thank you for having me.

Erin: So, we love to ask everybody, what does the deep mean to you? 

Lenora: The deep. You mean this deep we’re in now, or any deep? 

Erin: You can decide. It can mean whatever you want. 

Lenora: Well, with you two, it means fun, I’m sure! Deep into fun. But I think when I hear the words in the deep, it means going to those places you might not normally go and exploring the fiction you might not think you can write. And taking up on the challenges that you’re afraid to step into. Sometimes we go in the deep and we get in trouble, but most of the time we go in the deep and we find exactly what we’re looking for.

Karen: I love that. 

Erin: And since you’re speaking as a person who obviously has taken on a lot of challenges with your hundred plus books, those are good words. 

Lenora: Thank you. 

Karen: Lenora and I belong to the same online group of published novelists, and we have always had what they call a Monday morning prayer time, or a Wednesday morning prayer time, where one of the members posts a prayer for the requests from the whole group. Lenora took that over…how long ago was that, Lenora? 

Lenora: You know, I was trying to remember that the other day. I think it has been about a year now. 

Karen: I think so. I’ve always loved reading the prayers from the different writers who have shared them, but there was something different about Lenora’s prayer ministry. She made it so personal and so encouraging. Yes, it was the prayer requests, but it was also things deep from her heart to share with these other writers. It was just moving. The first time I read one of her posts, I just, I almost wept. It was so moving and so personal. 

What led you to doing that? I mean, obviously you’re a very busy woman. What led you to taking on the prayer ministry for this online group?

Lenora: I really don’t know what happened to me. I mean, I just thought somebody needs to do this. You know, we started it out as prayers for our children, and it would go from one person to the other. We would gather the prayers and then we would repeat them in one long prayer post so we could pray over these people. 

But sometimes when I was in charge, it took longer for me to get it together. And I thought, well, prayer is urgent. If it’s a small prayer, a big prayer, it’s urgent. Why not just do it once a week, like almost live, as live as possible?

Karen: Right. 

Lenora: That’s what made me volunteer to do it that way on every Wednesday. Because you know, I grew up Baptist. Now I’m a Methodist. But we had Wednesday night prayer meeting and vespers and things like that. I thought midweek, you know, we’re rushing through the weekend and it would be a midweek uplifting time even during urgent prayers. 

So, that’s how it started. And Karen can tell you, once I get to talking, I don’t want to stop. Once I get writing, I don’t want to stop either. So it just kind of organically happened. 

I was really shocked when people started responding to it. I’m like, well, what did I write? I mean, I put thought into it, of course, because I really deeply want these prayers to be answered in one way or another. It’s just really whatever’s in my head that morning. Something grabs me that I can relate to the prayers that people are asking us to pray. 

Karen: It was amazing to me because I always respond to prayers. I used to say I’m praying, but I wasn’t really. I mean, you know, if God brought it to my mind, I would pray. But these were so personal. It’s like you brought us into each other’s lives in such a way that it reminded us, “Oh, this isn’t some random prayer requests. This is a prayer request from someone we know, we like, we respect, we care about.” 

It humanized the prayers in such a way that as soon as I started reading your requests and the things that you added in to help us to do that, to step in the other person’s shoes, I would pray right off. And that’s what I do now, when I read your prayer. I pray right off. I’m like, “Yes, Lord. I agree with that in the authority you’ve given us.”

You have done that for so many of us. You have spurred us, through what you do in humanizing this, into intent and serious prayer. And into rejoicing. It is like a worship service. It is like being uplifted. That’s really phenomenal. 

Lenora: Well, as usual, the Lord just let me stumble into it because he knows me. He’s like, “You can do this.” And I’m like, “Well, I don’t think I can, but I’ll try.” 

You know, when I walk on the beach, I talk to God. I guess that’s where it stems from, too, because that’s my private place to have talks with God. A lot of things have happened on the beach that I knew God was involved in.

So when we do our Wednesday prayers, and we’ve known each other for so long, probably 20 or 25 years, and it is all women. We’re all mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, daughters. All the things that women go through. The men made us kind of leave the other group. We scared them with some of the things we were talking about. 

We talk about health issues, and children, and moving, and not being able to move, and losing a job, or not being able to write that next book. These are things that we as writers all identify with. I think that’s why to me it became more personal because, you know, prayers are urgent. We need them right now. So, everybody can know that on Wednesday morning, I might be a little late, but I’ll get there, and we will have a prayer meeting. 

Erin: What’s so fascinating about this, too, is that you have that time on the beach where you’re talking to God, but this is just another medium when you’re writing out this prayer. I think that’s really a neat thing for especially writers to think about. If they’re feeling like their prayer life maybe is lacking or could stand some expansion, you know, that’s true for all of us probably, it would be neat, you know, do we write out our prayers? That would be fun and could be an exciting new way to connect with God. 

Lenora: Well, it’s how I’ve always connected with God. I grew up on a farm and I was the last of seven children. I was more like an only child because they were all up and grown, and they had given me such wonderful examples of what to do and what not to do.

I would go down to what we call the branch. It was like a little stream, and there was a tree there that would wave. I called that my God tree, and I would talk to that tree and then I’d feel better about things. I did that all through high school until I left there. 

So to me, talking to God is very personal. I’m not a biblical scholar, but I love Jesus. And so, I like to put that in when I’m talking. When I feel like I’m talking to this group as a woman to other women, I like to put that in there. You know, he’s here with us always.

Karen: Yes. It’s the encouragement, it’s the affirmation that you share with us. It really is like we’ve all gathered together in a living room, and we’re sitting there, and we’re together. I know for those of us who are writers, we spend so much time writing our books or whatever, and we can look at prayer sometimes as an add-on, you know? Like, “Yeah, I’ll pray for that when I have time.” Or, “Lord, I’ll pray for that when you bring it to mind.”

And yet this is stopping and taking time to get personally invested in praying for each other. To get personally invested even in the words of encouragement and what for me are encouraging devotionals. Just short little devotionals that you give us to remind us of who we are in Christ and of what prayer means to us and to each other.

So my question is, what have you discovered about yourself in this process as a writer? 

Lenora: Well, that I can do things if I let God lead me. I mean, with every book I send out, I think, “Oh, this is the worst book ever, but God led me to write it.” I feel like, “Well, if God led me to write it, it’s going to be okay. If it doesn’t sell a million copies, it’s going to be okay. If one person reads it and it helps that person, it’s going to be okay.”

That’s how I’ve written every book. I always start, before I even write one word, I just hold my fingers on the keys and let God flow through me. I ask him, “Please, give me the words.”

As writers, words are our life, and why not expand that to our prayers, too? Use the thing we love the most to talk to God in a way that God can feel it, and you can feel it, and you can help someone else. 

Karen: Very cool. 

Erin: How do you feel like you’ve been impacted personally through what you’ve been doing on Wednesdays with these prayers you’re writing?

Lenora: Well, it helps me to get grounded and settled, because we all have problems in life. With the last few years with everything that’s been going on in the world, it all becomes personal sometimes, and you’re like, “I just can’t do it anymore.”

This has helped me know that I have a place to go, that I can share things in confidence with people who understand, because they’ve been through the same things, and they’re dealing with the same things.

Karen: Right. 

Lenora: It’s important to me, myself, to be there, to show up because God wants us to show up. Like Karen said, to actually pray for these people. Pray for the new requests that come in, ask people about the requests that have passed, you know, “How are you doing? Are you doing better? Would you like to update us?”

There’s some people on there that don’t want to talk about anything, but they’re included because we know that he is with them, too. So I always try to include them and say, “If you have unspoken prayers or requests, we’re listening. We’re here.”

Erin: I think that’s so important, what you’re talking about, this need for connection for us as a body. I believe that God made us that way deliberately. He made us a body and built into us that need for connection. I love that it can take a lot of different forms. You guys have this great online group that works for this connection. 

I have been a part of writers groups. I currently am a part of a mastermind. These women are where I go for that connection and that prayer and, oh my goodness, what a difference it makes. So I just want to encourage everybody out there. Find a connection, find a group. 

Karen: Even if it can’t be face to face. This group is very large that Lenora and I are part of it and it can’t be a face-to-face thing. I’ve seen now that just doing a prayer list or posting the prayers that are needed and the requests that have come in, that that can be a very personal, intimate thing. You find yourself drawn to God’s throne as you’re petitioning for the people that you care about. 

Lenora: I think that’s what helped me, to still answer that question, it has helped me to be closer to Christ. That’s something I needed. And with the pandemic, we don’t get together as much as we used to. 

Karen: Right. 

Lenora: Hopefully that will happen again. But to gather as women, because women, you know, women follow Jesus. They believed in Jesus. They held these things in their hearts and pondered them. So we as women, it’s our time to be us and to be females who are dealing with difficult situations or joyous situations. We can talk to each other, honestly, without knowing that the whole world is listening. It’s just us and Jesus.

Karen: I love that. 

Erin: Well, the honesty part, again, we live in a curated world, even like, look at social media, people are just seeing what we choose to put out there. We’re losing that place where we can drop the mask. Where we don’t have to fear being seen, because really we all want to be seen. 

It’s such an interesting paradox. We’ve been talking at our church about a book by Curt Thompson, I think it’s called The Soul of Desire. But he talks about how we want to be seen, but at the same time are afraid to be seen, because we’re thinking we’re imposters or we’re worried about what others are going to see.

So this kind of connection, and especially prayer, there’s something about prayer, that helps us drop the mask and be authentic with each other. It is so needed. I think it helps our writing too. 

Karen: It definitely does. It informs our writing because especially in today’s publishing world where publishers are bringing in sensitivity readers, and suddenly we find ourselves in the hot seat for writing the stories that God has given us to write and not using the right terms that we’re supposed to be using.

It gets so frustrating, and it gets so debilitating for writers, where we’re afraid to put our hands to the keyboard. But when we’re grounded in this sense of prayer for others and even for ourselves, and when we remember that God is with us and we don’t have to be afraid, we can let go of trying to be “politically correct,” and instead focus on being “God correct.” 

Be correct according to what Scripture tells us, what God is moving you to say. Write what God tells you to write. Put your fingers on the keyboard, like you do, Lenora, and just let him fly through what you have to share. Through what he’s given you to share. I think we spend way too much time trying to do the right thing in the world’s eyes, rather than doing the God thing. 

Lenora: Well, you’re right. You know, one of my recent posts was about being a prayer influencer. That’s the new catch word. “Oh, one need influencers.” There are social media influencers. Why not be a prayer influencer? You know, help people who need the prayer, want the prayer, understand the prayer. Spread that while you’re spreading your books. And your social media platforms, use that, too. So that’s one thing that I realized. We have such an influence. 

Karen: It’s an influence that God has given us by his blessings and his guidance over our careers. Definitely we need to be using that to share our hearts about Him.

Lenora: Yeah, that’s right.

Erin: I love that phrase: “prayer influencer.” That needs to catch on. 

Lenora: We can make it happen. 

Erin: So do you feel like what you’re doing has also impacted you then as a writer? Speak a little bit more about how writing these prayers out has impacted you personally as a writer. 

Lenora: Well, it really has. As I said, it grounded me, and even when I’m having a tough time writing, it brings me back to the core. “Why are you here? What message do you want to give? What is the core of the story you’re trying to write?” 

When you go through a difficult time with a book, the edits might be horrendous, or it’s just not coming together, or you’re rushing toward a deadline, I find that now, I just sit there and calmly bring myself back to my center. I focus on what has to be done and take it one step at a time. 

I think the post I posted yesterday was about how our pastor taught about “God math.” God has a different math than we do. God’s already calculated everything and he has the answers, and we’re frantically typing and trying to calculate, “How many words do I need to write a day to get to this deadline?” Or, “How many chapters do I need to finish this book?” And, “How am I going to get dinner done? I need to be done here so I can go there.” God knows all that. 

Karen: Right. 

Lenora: And so I thought, “Why do I get so frantic about these things? He knew me before I was born. He knows the hairs on my head, which are not as many as there used to be. He knows it all. So just relax.”

So now if I have a problem with edits, I talk to somebody. It might be my editor or some friends who can help me through it. And pray, of course. Always pray. 

I started this little blog called Read, Write, Play, Pray. You can find it at askelnora.com. I think I’ve had about five posts so far, and I talk about that there. You know, we write, we play a little bit, we pray a little bit, we read a lot. These are the things that we love as people who write. I hope to keep developing that. 

That was another thing that I thought. I needed to blog again. I’d stopped blogging because I got overwhelmed, and I thought, “I just need to blog again.” It’s not for a social media platform. It’s not to gather numbers. It’s just the place for me to write, kind of free write. You know, freestyle. 

Erin: Yeah, I love it. We’re almost out of time. It’s gone so fast. Out of your wisdom of a hundred plus books, do you have any final words of wisdom you want to leave with our listeners?

Lenora: Well, if you’re a writer, write what your heart tells you to write, and don’t compare yourself to other writers. 

Karen: Amen. 

Lenora: Let God lead the way. If you’re a reader, read the books that can teach you a message and help you heal and help you enjoy life. You want to have joy, because you know, there’s darkness and then there’s light. We want to give light to our readers. That’s important. 

Karen: Amen. 

Erin: Yes. 

Karen: Well, Lenora, thank you so much for coming here and sharing with us. I so appreciate everything that you’ve talked about and how you’ve shared your heart with the listeners here on our podcast, but especially in the prayers that you share and in the prayers that you do for the group that we’re both a part of.

You’ve reminded me of the foundation, of being conditioned to turn to God. This has clearly helped you to make your instantaneous response to struggles and obstacles and joy and all of that, to be to turn to God. May we all learn that. May we all be so conditioned that we can relax. We can rest in him and we can let him take us where he wants and know that our only job is obedience and he handles all the rest.

Lenora: Amen. 

Erin: Amen.

Guest @LenoraWorth shares how you can become a prayer influencer for readers and other writers! #amwriting #christianwriter Share on X
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