Her article today titled "The Sides and Seasons of Sadness" really touched my heart. In the almost 8 1/2 years that we've been married, my husband and I have lost eight family members through death. We've also experienced painful losses in our family through the other "dreadful D's"— divorce, disease, and disability. We continue to trust God for His faithful comfort, healing, and restoration for us and all our family members. Amen! I love the insights, compassion, and suggestions Kristia extends to those of us who grieve, particularly during the holidays. I especially liked her points about how each of us is unique, and to extend kindness to ourselves as we work through difficult emotions, (as well as to others who may be struggling during the holidays). I pray you will be blessed by her article and website as well. Click here!
Check out Bringing Up Bates on UP Network, Thursdays at 9 pm ET
You can also see episodes of their first season "United Bates Over America" from TLC on YouTube
I LOVE this family!!
I LOVE today's inspiring blog post by Allen Arnold on www.NovelRocket.com!
It applies to all creatives. Thank you, Mr. Arnold!
For original post click here.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 09, 2015
Your Beautiful, Rowdy Story
by Allen Arnold
If your attempts to write are met with distraction, disappointment or disheartenment, it’s worth asking why.
The natural reasons may seem obvious – no free time to write, struggles with craft, or roadblocks from the ever-changing publishing industry. Perhaps it’s the time drain of staying active in social media.
But you don’t live in a natural world.
You live in a supernatural world.
And if you know that God has given you the gift of story and you are actively pursuing that calling with Him, then your writing will face spiritual opposition.
As followers of the Way, we have an enemy. Satan opposes both the story we are living and the stories we are writing. I’m convinced he has a unique hatred for those who create worlds with words because they remind him of the Creator. God is the Author of Life. The closest Satan can get to this title is the Author of Lies. I think he burns with envy when we join creative forces with God and are taught – as sons and daughters of the King – how to breathe characters into existence and give birth to worlds.
Hafiz, the 13th century Persian poet, offers this gem: “The small man builds cages for everyone he knows – while the Sage, who has to duck his head when the moon is low, keeps dropping keys all night long for the beautiful, rowdy prisoners.”
That’s worth reading again. Our enemy is the small man who tries to keep us prisoners. God is the Sage continually dropping keys of freedom into our scarred hands. The enemy does his best to keep us caged so we never awaken to God’s invitation of life and creativity. Yet God is our heroic rescuer who will not be deterred. His invitation is not merely freedom – but a life of intimacy with Him. Don’t miss this. God doesn’t just want you free. He longs for your presence.
If you are not actively creating with God, then the story you are giving birth to has no power. Sure, it may be well crafting, entertaining, and even evoke an emotional response. But it will have no eternal spark. Only co-creation with God adds that.
So the enemy tries to keep us imprisoned, numb to our true identity. That’s why
he rages as God relentlessly drops keys to the beautiful, rowdy prisoners. Because once we are awakened and set free, we can’t help but tell beautiful, rowdy stories of life, freedom, rescue, and love.
Redemptive art flows naturally from a redeemed artist – whether the themes and stories are explicit or implicit. Some of the stories will be categorized as Christian Fiction while others will be General Fiction. I don’t think God loses sleep about how we categorize stories. The Kingdom is full of all kinds of redemption stories – many neither safe nor G-rated. Over the ages, these stories have stirred reader’s hearts towards what is true, noble, and authentic. That is why God commands us to fill our minds with these thoughts and stories in Philippians 4:8-9. It is a foundational passage for artist because what we consume influences what we create. Consider the movies, television shows, songs, and novels you are drawn to – and whether each injects life or poison into your creativity.
I hope you sense how your calling is seen from the spiritual realm. You gift of words carries immense power. You become far more than a storyteller when you enter into Creative Fellowship with God. That’s why your novels may be opposed in ways you’ve never considered. Knowing your creativity has an enemy isn’t a reason to be fearful or hesitant. But it is reason to actively walk with God in every part of the creative process.
God longs to create with you. That’s the foundational reason he gave you the gift of words and stories – so the two of you can do this together. And from that intimacy, the stories that are born can help awaken the hearts of readers. But only in that order. Intimacy with God always comes before impact for God.
See your time of writing as being on a playground with God. Run where he runs. Pause where he pauses. Laugh as you taste the rush of imagination and ideas with the Creator. Savor his smile. Cry with him.
You will also want to consecrate your creativity each day. Here is a consecration prayer specifically for Christian artists you might find helpful.
You were a beautiful, rowdy prisoner. Now you are free. Don’t stop being beautifully rowdy as you write. The world desperately needs more stories that are dangerous for good. In fact, God has already dropped you the keys to do just that.
Allen Arnold loves the epic adventure God has set before him. From the mountains of Colorado, he leads Content & Resources for Ransomed Heart Ministries (led by John Eldredge). Before that, he spent 20 years in Christian Publishing - overseeing the development of more than 500 novels as founder and Publisher of Thomas Nelson Fiction. He was awarded the ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. But that doesn't really describe the man. Allen savors time with his family, craves the beach, drinks salsa by the glass, is hooked on the TV series "Once Upon a Time" and is passionate about helping storytellers tell better stories from an awakened heart.
I attended an Adventures in Photography Meet-Up seminar over the weekend led by Ken Sklute, one of Canon's
Explorers of Light. It was AWESOME! Ken is AWESOME! His film "Desert Nights 2014" reminded me of these scriptures:
I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places,
That you may know that I, the Lord, Who call you by your name, Am the God of Israel.
He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness,
And light dwells with Him.
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