Month: September 2023

198 – The Blessing of Tragedy with Guest DiAnn Mills

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The Blessing of Tragedy with Guest DiAnn Mills Write from the Deep Podcast with Karen Ball and Erin Taylor YoungIf you’ve faced tragedy in your life, you know the first reaction is to ask why. Even get angry with God over what’s happened. Guest DiAnn Mills shares how God led her through all those stages, but even more, how he blessed her with reconciliation because of the tragedy. Come listen in as she shares all God has done in her life and writing since the worst day of her life.

About DiAnn Mills

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists and won two Christy Awards, the Golden Scroll, Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and Carol Award contests. Connect with DiAnn at diannmills.com.

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

Erin: Welcome, listeners. I’m excited that you’re here with us in the deep, and there’s extra excitement today, yay, for our guest! Karen will introduce her.

Karen: Hey, we are welcoming DiAnn Mills to the podcast today, and we’re so excited. DiAnn has been a part of publishing for so many years, I think almost as long as I have. She’s an award-winning, bestselling author many times over, and a popular speaker and teacher at conferences. She’s a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers. Thank you for that, DiAnn!  

She’s a former director of the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference and a member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association and of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. It’s amazing everything that she does, and she shares her passion for helping other writers be successful by teaching writing workshops around the country.

Not only that, she has been termed a coffee snob and she roasts her own coffee beans, y’all. She roasts her own beans. I am so in awe. She and her husband live in, as she says on her website, sunny Houston, Texas, but I think it’s fair to call it blazing Houston, Texas, with the way it’s been now. DiAnn, welcome. We’re so happy to have you here.

DiAnn: Oh, thank you, Karen and Erin. It is just wonderful to be with you. I’m excited. I’m always excited to talk about the craft of writing and especially to talk to my friends. What more could I ask for? 

Karen: I know!

Erin: Well, let’s start right off with what does the deep mean to you, DiAnn?

DiAnn: The deep means to me that the longer I know Jesus, the longer he is in my heart, the more that my power hour with him every morning deepens our relationship, the deeper we go. I love that. 

We just keep traveling this journey together, and he’ll say, “Stop a minute, DiAnn. I want you to see this. I want you to feel this. I want you to experience this.” 

I love that. There are no words or senses that we can talk about that can compare with what it means to go deeper. To go deep with Jesus. 

Karen: There’s an old hymn that I love called “In the Garden.” I come to the garden alone, and then he comes and meets you there and walks with you and talks with you, and the joy you feel as you tarry there? That’s that continual relationship with Jesus.

You don’t find it anyplace else, that continual conversation back and forth throughout the day. That continual sense of his actual presence and his guidance. It’s astounding when you finally realize as a believer that he is there for every minutiae, every second, every millisecond of your life, and he is guiding and directing and loving you.

It’s a new depth to your understanding of him and your submission to him. Because you can trust him so wholly. I mean, it’s amazing. 

Erin: It’s also where we grow. 

Karen: Yeah. 

Erin: We experience transformation in those times. We might not recognize it. It’s hard to measure your own growth in the moment, but without that continual contact, that power hour, that walking in the garden, we don’t have transformation. We don’t grow closer to Jesus, we don’t turn into that image, without him shaping us in those times. 

Karen: That’s exactly right. I know, DiAnn, that you’ve come from a very difficult and painful time in the last several years with the loss of your son, and that has probably drawn you even closer and deeper into Christ.

You’ve incorporated some of that into your newest book, Facing the Enemy, some of that experience into your fiction. We talk often with people about how we incorporate our own stories and our own struggles into fiction. I’d like to hear from you about your journey through that time. It was difficult, but I’d like you to share with our listeners how God met you there and how you got to the place where you could share what happened on that journey in your book.

DiAnn: Actually, it was July 2021. We were on a vacation in Ohio with my brother and sister and their spouses. My youngest son called my husband. My husband got off the phone and said, “I need to tell you something. Brett was…” Let me take a big deep breath here… “Brent was hit by a car. Hit and run, and was killed.”

The first thing I had to do was thank God for life, and for the years that we’d had with him. The second thing was, “Thank you God, that I’m with my brother and my sister.”

Karen: Yeah. 

DiAnn: That helped tremendously. Once home, I journaled. We always hear the value of journaling, but until you walk through a tragedy, it just does not have the impact of what that can mean. So, over the next days, I journaled. I journaled, “God, why? Why now? Why him?”

The way it happened, I was angry. I was hurt. I cried. I was angry at the whole world. 

Karen: Mm-hmm. 

DiAnn: The time came to write the book, and I knew that I needed something in my character’s life that was earth shattering, and there it was right in front of me. So, Facing the Enemy was my healing book. 

While it’s my healing book, it’s still hard to talk about those emotions without feeling them and experiencing them all over again. What I did is I took my heroine, whom I called Risa, her name means laugh in Spanish, and I had her experience the same thing that happened to our son, but in her personality. 

It was horrible writing that scene. But yet it was comforting, because I don’t want to experience anything and shut it up inside of me if it could help someone else. Some reader may have had a loss and have never been able to deal with it. I wanted that transparency.

I wanted to take my pain, what I was feeling, and use it in a story that might help others. Granted, my goal for writing is always to entertain, inspire, and encourage. Always. Once I got past that part of the tragedy, and where my heroine decided to go, and what she decided to do with it, I picked up my second great passion, and that is for adoption.

I have four sons. Three are adopted. I say the youngest one’s my fault. Brett was one of the adopted sons. I used a bit of an apprehension that I always had as a woman in my late twenties and having a new baby, a new toddler in my life who was calling me mommy.  I also knew that the mother had six months to make a decision whether she might want that child back, and so you live with that.

The two passions, the two things that I can cry very easily about are in Facing the Enemy. That’s one of the ways that God brought me deeper. 

I hesitate to say this because I’m concerned that readers might think, “Well, she took her son’s death and she just used it to write a book.”

Oh, that gives me a gasp in my spirit, and I hope no reader thinks that. Sharing pain is very difficult, but the transparency is where we grow and change and become better people and grow closer to Christ. I remember, and I’m going to say this in one breath, and I might have to stop and get a drink of water here, that at the funeral, my son, the youngest son, gave part of the message to everyone.

Because my Brett struggled with drugs and alcohol, struggled very much with that, and the addiction always had more control than what he was able to do. And so my youngest son said, “God said, ‘Come home. Be free.'” 

Yes. Yes. One more drink of water for me here…

Karen: It’s fine. Take your time. 

DiAnn: Oh, I don’t know what you’ve got to cut out… But anyway, that was the one thing I’ve always been able to remember. I think that helped in the healing process, not only for me, but for my character in the story. 

Erin: Wow. 

DiAnn: For all of us. 

Karen: I’ve always said, as I teach at writers conferences, that nothing in God’s economy is wasted. Everything that happens to us, if God has given us the task of writing about him and stories centered on him and his presence in our lives, nothing that happens to us is ever wasted. It all is used by him for his purposes to refine us or to grant us illumination that we can then share with others. 

My husband and I have struggled for lo these forty-three years of our marriage. Yet God has sustained and provided for us and brought us to a place where we’re stronger than ever. Though, we still struggle. 

We have such different backgrounds. When I wrote my book, The Breaking Point, I drew on so much of what we had experienced, not to capitalize on it, but to say that this is the reality. This is the reality of walking into a marriage without prayer. 

This is the reality of bringing two completely diverse backgrounds into the same quarter. This is the reality of when you grow up in Leave it to Beaver and your spouse grows up in Nightmare on Elm Street. It’s not an easy road. It’s very difficult and coming to a place where God has brought us that we have submitted to him and to each other, we still have to do that submission every day.

I know from the reader letters that I’ve received that book affected people and helped them in their struggles in their marriage. Because as believers, aren’t we called to transparency? Aren’t we called to share out of our own experiences and not hide our weaknesses? Not try to seem like the perfect Christians to everybody on the outside, because there’s no such thing. There’s just a forgiven believer who follows a suffering Savior. 

We have to be honest. Christ was honest. He shed blood, sweated blood, and that struggle was real, and it was for us. If we’re not willing to then share our own struggles and difficulties, we shouldn’t be doing this. 

Erin: Right. 

I want to circle back just for a minute to what you said first, DiAnn, about how you journaled. How you journaled first. I think that’s so important because there is where you were dealing with the brutal honesty of how you personally felt. You worked through those issues to the best of your ability at that time. You poured out that anger and that hurt and that why and that grief in that journal.

I love that you did that beforehand so that you weren’t trying to do that necessarily in the book. When it came to writing the book, you were able to draw on those feelings, but you’re speaking into that from the other side. People are getting the best of both worlds there, so I love that you did that. 

But I’m wondering, obviously when you had to write those scenes and especially that one scene, practically speaking, how did you manage that in a practical way? Do you have any tips for the listeners on how to make yourself write those words on the keyboard? 

DiAnn: Uh, after a lot of tears. And I could only write a little bit through my journal at a time. I would read what I had written, and then I would close my eyes and tell myself, “Risa, how would you walk through this? How would you handle this?” 

By doing it through my character’s eyes… and I’m an organic writer, everything comes out of character. I’m a panster and my publisher may not always enjoy that. I am pretty much a panster, but I am organic. I will have seventeen pages of who my character is and a lot of backstory and things of that nature. 

In fact, one of the questions I asked myself came from Donald Maass, Writing the Breakout Novel, and taking many of his workshops, and that is, “What is the most painful experience you’ve ever walked through and who was there? What was the dialogue? What were you feeling?” And all those kinds of things. 

How many times have I given that advice? But when I had to do it, it was incredibly painful. That to me is a testimony not only to how valuable that question is, but to our God. As you said, nothing is wasted. 

Erin: Yeah. 

DiAnn: Nothing.

Karen: For a long time, I thought that if we say why to God, we were showing doubt, and I thought that was just wrong. I’ve come to understand having gone through the whole doubt process myself when I was angry…not that I ever really doubted God was who he was, but I was at a point where I was like, “Well, if this is what it means to serve you, then who needs it?”

I’ve come to understand that he’s so much bigger than anything that we can bring to him. Any emotion, any anger, any frustration, any despair. He’s so much bigger than any of that. He will meet us exactly where we are in the midst of our pain. 

I’m constantly amazed at the care that he shows us. At the provision. Even when we are sometimes spitting in his face, he is there wrapping his arms around us and loving us regardless.

Erin: I love, DiAnn, that you talked about another passion that you put into that book, because one of the things I wanted to ask you about is how you kept grief from inhibiting your imagination for the rest of the story.  

I see that one of those things was talking about another of your passions, which was adoption, but was there anything else you did to help jumpstart your creativity or help your creativity flow during those difficult times?

DiAnn: Understanding that the writing process is for the reader. It’s never about the writer. Never about me. Never. With that, it was like, “Okay, God, please stand behind my computer and put your hands on my shoulders so I can do this.”

But I always went back to… we were in Israel, my husband and I were in Israel, and we were at the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus sweated blood. I’m thinking just like he made a decision in a garden to take back, yank back, the decision that Adam and Eve made in a garden, then I’ve got to take what he did for me and move forward. That I can encourage somebody in their faith. That I can inspire someone in where they are. 

Also, the process of writing a book has that entertainment factor. That’s foremost. So it had to be a story that provided hope and encouragement and reality. One aspect of this story, and this is on the back cover copy so I don’t think I’m giving anything away, but Risa is an FBI special agent and she realized and found out that while her brother saved her and pushed her out of the way for him to be killed in the hit and run, that car was aiming for her. 

She resigned from the FBI simply because she didn’t want anyone else hurt. So she went back to her old job, which was a professor at a college, a local college, teaching creative writing. I mean, yes, we giggled with that because that’s kind of what I was doing. 

Karen: Right. 

DiAnn: You know, God has a way of just saying, “Hey, Diane, what about this? Or what about that?” 

That really did help. But, and this is a part that’s on the back cover copy. Risa has an assignment for her students, who are all freshmen in college, creative writing, and a short story had to be turned in over Christmas. One student said, “Can I turn mine in early?”

Well, she couldn’t resist, and she read it. Here he told, word for word, what had happened to her with information that no one else knew and that all exploded.

Erin: This is a great example of how creativity is about connections. I love what you’re saying that the Holy Spirit is there with you and empowering you and enabling you and then these connections happen. “Hey, how about if she’s a professor teaching creative writing? And oh, this can happen and that can happen,” and these connections are suddenly firing. I love that. 

As we’re approaching the end of our time here, do you have any final words of wisdom that you want to leave our listeners with?

DiAnn: Yes. Laugh. Be Risa. Laugh. We have to laugh. We have to learn to laugh. We have to reach from within us and laugh.

And hold on to Jesus. Oh my goodness, this world can be ugly and nasty, but look where we’re going. So let’s make an impact while we can.

Karen: I agree. DiAnn, we’re so grateful for you coming and sharing your story and the ways that God has met you in all of this.

Friends, as you listen, I’m praying for you. If you are facing a difficult time, may the God of all comfort cloak you in his presence and in his peace.

If you are considering incorporating your own struggles into your story, turn to him with it and let him guide you. Let him show you the suffering and the recovery, and let him show you the places where you can bring in laughter. Because even in our darkest moments, if we have our focus on him, he will delight us and he will give us reasons to laugh in the midst of tears.

Thank you so much, DiAnn, and God bless you and what you’re doing.

DiAnn: Thank you. Thank you for letting me be a guest. I’m honored, and thank you for putting up with my few moments of “get your professionalism together, DiAnn.”

Karen: No, no. Long ago, I used to sing with my dad a lot, and the words of the hymns that we sing get to me. I said, “I’m so worried that I’ll be singing my verse or doing a solo and I’ll just break down and cry.”

My dad said, “Karen, if that happens, then the people who are listening need your tears more than they need your voice.”

All of it again is used in God’s economy. 

Erin: Indeed! Thank you, Diane.

Facing the Enemy by DiAnn Mills

Facing the Enemy by DiAnn Mills

Guest @diannmills shares how God used the worst tragedy of her life to bless her and bring unexpected reconciliation. #christianwriter #amwriting Share on X
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197 – Standing in the Day of Evil

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Standing in the Day of Evil Write from the Deep Podcast with Karen Ball and Erin Taylor YoungChristians are no strangers to suffering and persecution. From the days of the arena to today, following Jesus Christ is risky business. And writing for Him? It’s become more hazardous every day. In this “cancel culture” world, being firm about biblical truth can cost us everything. Are you prepared for the battle?

But first, thank you to all our patrons on Patreon! You help make this podcast possible!

The world has gone crazy. Every day we see more evidence of the evil weaving its way into people’s minds and hearts. Women’s sports events being won by men who call themselves women. Government corruption on levels seldom seen before. Churches being destroyed by sin, sexual or otherwise. Respected Christian leaders being exposed for liars and base sins.

On and on the litany goes. What is—not was, but is—good is called evil, and evil is celebrated as right and loving. Isaiah 5:20 warns us about this very thing: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil…” In fact, it’s so loving, let’s teach it to children from the earliest age so they can be awakened to who they really are and live in total freedom… 

Then there are the unprecedented disasters taking place. Floods surging through one country after another. Cyclones leveling entire cities. Wildfires that blanket half the country in deadly smoke. Heat that makes it impossible to live. Earthquakes opening up the earth and swallowing tens of thousands of people. Just a few weeks ago, thirteen tornadoes ripped through the Chicagoland area. Thirteen! In one day! It’s like some kind of disaster flick come to life. 

Even in our own families, we see tension and division over philosophies and faith. Topics we used to discuss freely are suddenly taboo, and we find ourselves tiptoeing around issues to avoid conflicts. Believers following God’s laws are called hateful, judgmental, prejudiced, and, the worst accusation of all, so it seems, intolerant. 

As writers, we face sensitivity readers who tell us we can’t write history as it was. Rather we have to rewrite history to fit today’s narratives. Best-selling author Tamera Alexandar told us how that very situation led to her choosing to leave her publisher rather than rewrite a story to make it compliant, but basically a lie.

We’re told we can’t write the stories God has given us because we’re “appropriating” other cultures. Contracts are cancelled when publishers receive pushback for books written based on biblical truth. It’s censorship, plain and simple. And it’s running rampant—even celebrated!—everywhere we write, post, or speak. 

It’s so easy to lose heart in the face of all the insanity. Christians end up feeling overwhelmed and beat down by the whole so-called “cancel culture.” So what is the answer for writers who follow Christ? 

2 Timothy 3. Truly, that chapter of the Word equips us for exactly what we’re facing today. Look at the first nine verses:

“You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times.”  

Okay, we’re not saying we’re living in the last days. We may be, we may not. But whether Christ’s return happens now (let it be so, Lord Jesus!) or centuries from now, these current days are, indeed, very difficult. So let’s read on…

“For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.” 

Does that sound like today or what? They will consider nothing sacred. Not faith, not family, not truth, not God…not life itself.

“They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!”

Great advice. Stay away from people who have shown in their words, actions, and writings that they are working against God. If you encounter them face-to-face, remember to be “shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves.”

Have you ever wondered what Scripture means by shrewd as snakes? The snake has long been a symbol of craftiness and cunning. The Egyptians used the serpent in their hieroglyphics as a symbol of wisdom. Snakes are adaptable creatures who can thrive in any number of environments. They are also well known for the ability to fit into the smallest areas and attack from ambush. But one of the most cunning hunting techniques of snakes is called “caudal luring,” or using deceptive ploys to catch prey.

For example, juveniles of some pit vipers and dwarf boas have a bright yellow tip on their tails. With the rest of their body a darker color, they coil in cover, then use the bright yellow tail tip to like a fishing lure! But this lure is actually right next to their head. So the prey thinks that bright yellow thing is a yummy worm and comes to have lunch—only to become lunch itself. 

So being “shrewd as serpents” is being cunning and crafty. Webster’s identifies cunning as “having or showing skill in achieving one’s ends by deceit or evasion.” Which is exactly how Jesus dealt with the Pharisees and Sadducees. When they tried to trap him with leading or deceptive questions, instead of answering their question, Jesus turned the question to what really mattered. The Pharisees asked how Jews should respond to the Roman occupation, hoping to catch him saying something against Rome, and Jesus responded with Scripture: “Give to Cesar what is Cesar’s.” 

Let’s go back to 2nd Timothy, starting at verse ten:

“But you… certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it. Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived.”

Did you catch that bit just before the evil will flourish?  Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. Not may one day, or runs the risk of. But will face persecution. Friends, we have to be ready! Which is exactly what Paul helps us do in the next section, starting at verse fourteen.

“But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.” 

Now we know some of us haven’t been taught the Scripture since childhood, but don’t worry. Because God has given us the Holy Spirit, when we study Scripture, no matter when we begin that study, the Spirit helps us understand and embrace God’s truths. As the next verse says, 

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”

Wow. So much truth, and encouragement, in one chapter of God’s Word! How do we as Christian writers deal with our world today? Stand Firm. Immerse ourselves in God’s Word that He may prepare and equip us. Because we never know when we’ll find ourselves on the firing lines. 

A good friend of Karen’s once came under fire for supporting a public figure he knew to be godly and good. This public figure had the temerity to speak truth into a situation steeped in lies. As a result, cancel culture went into overdrive to destroy him. 

In the midst of all this, her friend had posted a comment thanking this public figure for help he gave years ago. Somehow the media got hold of that comment and proceeded to go after her friend. And, as so often happens, this friend came under fire. He received  hate mail and was given the gift of trolls. 

Here’s the thing. This friend didn’t post back then to take a stand, but just to express thanks and encouragement to someone getting beat up. But that was all it took to be added to cancel-culture’s hit list. 

Not fun at all, but there’s something amazing in this story. You want to see how God takes care of us when we’re persecuted? Karen’s receives a weekly email from another friend with Scripture verses for each day of the week. As she was praying for her under-fire friend back then, that email came in and Karen opened it. Here’s what she found: 

“For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.”  1 Peter 3:17 (NASB) 

“And David spoke the words of this song to the Lord in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said, ‘The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, You save me from violence.'”  2 Samuel 22:1-3 (NASB) 

“For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.”  Hebrews 2:18 (NASB) 

“The afflicted also will increase their gladness in the Lord, And the needy of mankind will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.”  Isaiah 29:19 (NASB) 

“Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;”  Ephesians 6:14-15 (NASB) 

“But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, Because they take refuge in Him.”  Psalm 37:39-40 (NASB) 

“Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”  1 Timothy 6:12 (NASB) 

When Karen finished reading, she sat back and shook her head. God is SO cool! Those verses spoke right to what her friend was facing. After receiving permission, she forwarded the Scripture email to her under-fire friend. God used those weekly Scripture emails to bless not just Karen, which they did, but to bless someone else she loves and respects.  

There’s one other thing we want to address. While we may not relish the idea of suffering and being persecuted in our stand for God’s truth, if that’s what God calls us to do, we will do it. But what about our families?

What if standing means we lose our jobs or finances? What if we find ourselves unable to care for our families? How can we let them suffer? God commands us to care for our families, right? So how do we reconcile all that? It’s one thing to suffer myself, but to make others suffer for my actions? What about 1 Timothy 5:8:

“But those who won’t care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers.”

Worse than unbelievers? How can we do that?

This is a real concern, and it stems from our determination in Christ to do what’s right. There’s no denying it would be terrible to see our families suffer for our actions, but as true as that verse from Timothy is, we have to also remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:34-39: 

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Friends, your family and friends are not yours. They are gifts from God. He has given them to you for HIS purposes. Bottom line, we serve a Savior who, for our sake and salvation, suffered the loss of friends and reputation, was persecuted and brutalized by religious leaders, suffered unimaginable tortures and pain, and endured a gruesome death. Remember Hebrews 12:1-3:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.” 

Because of the joy awaiting him. Friends, that joy set before him wasn’t some amazing reward meant just for Jesus. That joy is us! It’s that He restored us to His Father. He became our salvation. We follow Christ into whatever God chooses, however God chooses, all for the joy of being Christ’s light to a dark and suffering world.

Of course we don’t want our families to suffer, but they are in God’s hands. Not ours. And if God Almighty calls us to stand for Him regardless of the consequences, we’d better stand. For our sakes. For our families’ sakes. For the world’s sake. 

These are hard truths, we know. And we know how easy it is in today’s world to get focused on all that’s so very wrong with the world. To be pulled down in spirit by the evil that seems so entrenched, and so in control, of everything around us. Even worse, fear of reprisals can make us hesitant to take a stand and speak up for God’s truth.

If you find yourself feeling that way in your writing, in your relationships, in any area of your life, we encourage you to step away. Step away from all the external voices and stimuli. Focus on the all-powerful God who created you and asked you to write for Him. 

Step into Scripture, silence, time focused on truth. Step into fellowship with those you trust, with the truth-speakers God has given you. Step into God. Even if or when it means persecution. Cancel culture seems scary, but in light of God’s power and truth and in light of eternity with Him? It’s nothing. 

In fact, it will only come to your doorstep if God allows it. Which means it will only come to you if God has a purpose for it to do so. And remember, God’s purpose may be for you or it may be for others. You may never know. But you can ALWAYS know this: you will not face any persecution without God right there, beside you. Psalm 23:4 promises you this: 

“Even when I walk through the valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”

So the days are ugly and dark, but our God is beautiful and light and truth! As we walk into each new day, whether in our lives or in our writing, may we stand firm in His truth. And may God, our salvation and strength, enable us, every day, to say with Job, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: I will maintain my own ways before him. He shall be my salvation.”  

Say yes to whatever God has for you. And for your family. Stand firm for His truth. Know that your actions today have eternal impact. Embrace Jesus’ words from the sermon on the mount:

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”  Matthew 5:13-16

Are you prepared to stand for God’s truth, no matter the cost? #Christianwriter #amwriting Share on X
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