The following is a message for writers from my husband, Doug, a non-writer whom I dragged to writers' conferences for many years in a row. One of those times he had a revelation that I hope will bless my fellow writers and readers alike. (The photo above is me and my husband from a mission trip to Thailand at the beginning of 2013. We had the pleasure of visiting an orchid farm.)
I have been honored and privileged to attend the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference a number of times with my wife Jill. She wasn't sure I'd like hanging out with a bunch of wild and crazy writers, and she thought I might get bored when she had to be at sessions.
The conference was an eye-opener. The excitement! The terminology! The only "pitching" I knew about before was in baseball, softball or horseshoes. Through all the feverish tension, I was overwhelmed at the love and encouragement people had for each other. And I thoroughly enjoyed the praise and worship, followed by devotions.
One morning after devotions, I went back to our room and spent time with the Lord, reading in the Amplified Bible. He took me to Romans 10 where I read, "But how are people to call upon Him Whom they have not believed (in whom they have no faith, on whom they have no reliance)? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard?"
Then I looked at Mark 16, where Jesus said, "Go into all the world and preach and PUBLISH openly the good news (gospel) to every creature (of the whole human race) . . . And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord kept working with them and confirming the message by the attesting signs and miracles that closely accompanied it."
I had never noticed the word "published" before in the Amplified version, and it jumped out at me, considering all the writers everywhere I went. At a keynote speaking session, the scriptures I had read were confirmed by testimonies shared.
People's lives are changed because of books. I believe God has called and commissioned Christian fiction writers to reach lost and hurting people who couldn't be reached any other way. If you're a writer and feeling tempted to give up. Don't! You will be surprised when you get to heaven at all the lives your stories have touched and how great your reward will be for obeying the call.
P.S. At the next conference, I suggest they have sessions for the spouses of the writers who don't understand and for the writers who don't understand their spouses not understanding. Make sense?
END OF DOUG
BEGINNING OF JILL
Wasn't that an awesome thought on the importance of fiction (including mystery and suspense) written from a worldview that honors God? Christian fiction (dubbed "inspirational fiction" by the secular market) is one of the few growing niches of fiction publishing today. Even readers who are not necessarily professing or strong believers number among those who contribute to the popularity because people are hungry for stories that convey hope in the face of an increasingly bleak world.
A couple of years ago, I interviewed a number of my fellow Christian fiction writers in order to collect testimonies about readers who have had their lives enriched by reading their books. Tales of lives changed and people discovering or rediscovering their faith were legion.
Do you have any anecdotes to share of how reading Christian fiction has impacted your life or the lives of those with whom you've shared our books? If so, do tell. It is priceless to hear that our work is making a positive impact on people.
I have a speaking engagement coming up at a library, and would love to glean more illustrations to share with the those in attendance at this library's annual meeting.