Friday, November 8, 2013

DEVOTION: What if Mrs. Noah said "No"? ~ by Shirley Corder

Jesus replied, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God." Luke 9:62 NIV
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. 

Please visit Shirley through ShirleyCorder.com, where she encourages writers, or at RiseAndSoar.com, where she encourages those in the cancer valley. You can also meet with her on Twitter or FaceBook. Sign up for her newsletter.

14 comments:

  1. Love the concept Shirley. No wonder you're having fun with it.

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    1. Thank you for commenting, Dale. It's a challenging project but I'm learning so much.

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  2. Thanks Jenn. It's been a good book to get my teeth into. Excuse the cliché!

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  3. Great post, Shirl. In 2011 I did a similar thing with Nano as I was (along with you) doing Write a NON-Fiction book in a month, but as the project I was working on read like a story, I decided to double it up as my Nanowrimo story. Sadly it was the one year I never completed Nano as halfway through the month my flash stick crashed and I spent the rest of November trying to recover my work. The project I was working on was about the Rebirth Team and their month through Europe living by faith and all the stories they had to tell (I'm no further with this, but have been toying with the idea of turning it into a blog). And speaking of this incredible journey my son took, I do know a Mrs. Noah ... my son's wife, Tiia.

    As the Rebirth team have taken on their next phase, React, I've stood in wonder as my son and the other team members have built a social networking tool for Missions (due to Beta Test this month in Finland, Italy and India). They've had to learn a lot of things they knew nothing about as they went along and I keep reminding them that Noah, himself, probably knew little of boatbuilding when he had to build an ark. And where was Mrs. Noah? Right where my daughter-in-law, Tiia, is ... supporting her husband, cheering him on, and telling him he can do it, even when there are days he probably thinks he can't.

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  4. Ah, Shirley, the power of being an author. Sounds really creative! A friend sent me an e-mail about how encouraged she was by this post. (I think she's one of those who has trouble getting through the comments on the blog itself.) Thank you for your perseverance.

    And Marion, so sorry about the crash! May yor perseverance pay off.

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    1. Thanks so much for telling me about your friend LeAnne. Is she doing NaNo?

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  5. What a concept, Shirley! I've often said some of us are so intent on our goals we don't recognize it when opportunity snuggles up in our laps!

    Best,
    Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    Loving helping writers get read with my HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers including the multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Book Promoter (http://budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo)

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    1. Thanks Carolyn! Love that picture you create!

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  6. Shirley, I love the title! Great concept. There are a lot of amazing characters in the bible.

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    1. You're right, Karen. I am finding this such an amazing project. Just digging in to the background to learn more about some of these women. I'm learning so much!

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  7. Wow! I love it when authors ask What If? The answers are amazing! Thanks for sharing this process.

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    1. Thanks Heidi! It's a challenging but fun project. It's surprising how many answers there are to be found for the "What if" question when you dig for them!

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