Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, Philippians 3:13 NIV
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14 NIV
Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 2 Corinthians 9:26 NIV
Who is Mrs. Noah? Do you know anything about this remarkable woman? What about Mrs. Lot? How much do you know about Hagar? Or Abigail? Or Jochabed? And what lessons can you learn from Jael?
I confess I had only vaguely heard about all these women up until a few days ago. I knew they appeared in the Bible but that was about all. Noah had a wife. So?
In 2012, my first published book hit the shelves, and I was already hard at work on another one. And another one. And . . . Every time I started to get somewhere, I lost interest and motivation. Another project would rear its head, and off I would go in another direction. I knew I had to choose one project and stick with it, but how would I know which one? I didn't want to spend months or maybe a year, working on a book that would never be published.
During the last week of October, I suddenly came up with a plan. I selected four possible book topics and drew up a short synopsis of each. I then sent out a survey concerning the four options to hundreds of my contacts. In effect, they chose the topic of my next book. With one day to spare, I registered with NaNoWriMo 2013, and prepared to write a book of meditations based on lesser-known women in the Bible.
NaNo is all about writing novels, so once again I got creative. I took two characters from previous novels whom I already knew, and turned one into a writer. The power of being an author! I then informed the writer that she was going to write a book of meditations . . . based on lesser-known women in the Bible. I gave the guy a shove so that he showed an interest in the project, and off they went.
Together they will explore and discuss the lesser-known women over the next month. The writer, Carey, will finish her (our) book, and Ross with his leathers, motor cycle, and tattoos, will learn a whole lot more about the Bible than he ever guessed existed. Carey will learn to stop being judgemental, and realise she can't do everything alone, while Ross will learn that the people in Bible days also had their challenges. HUGE challenges! Oh and I have a sneeky feeling that they will also find a depth to their relationship that they do not anticipate!
At the end of the month, I will zap my characters into a separate folder for future work if they show they deserve it, and start editing my real book: "Strong Faith for Troubled Times, Meditations from Lesser-known Women in the Bible."
I am absolutely loving this project. Yesterday I spent the day doing research into life in the days of Noah. What was Mrs. Noah like? How did she react to her husband building an ark? What pressures did she face? How did she feel about all those smelly animals crammed into their floating hotel? (And yes, you can find that all out if you dig into the Scriptures.) Then I wrote the first two devotional messages, with at least two more to come today.
So why is this work progressing, where the others I've tried over the past couple of years have not? It's all about perseverance.
As Christians, and as writers, we need to have a clear goal. Once we know what that is, we need to run, and keep running without distraction. Has Christ called you to serve him with your writing? Then you must write! Do you believe He wants you to do something really unusual? Like build an ark? (Just kidding!) Then you must do it, regardless of outside scorn or scepticism. Are you aware of a friend or contact who needs a visit and some prayer? Then hop to it. Don't allow yourself to get distracted.
Where would we be if Mrs. Noah had refused to get onto the ark? If she'd persuaded her three daughters-in-law that this was a"guy thing" and they should stay on dry land?
Hmm. You'll have to buy the book . . . or of course read your Bible. Really read it. Dig, and dig deep.
SHIRLEY CORDER lives on the coast in South Africa with her husband. Her book, Strength Renewed: Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer contains 90 meditations based on some of the ways God's Positioning System directed her through the rough times in the cancer valley. It is available globally in print or online in e-versions.