Saturday, May 26, 2012

DEVOTION: The Birth of a Baby by Shirley Corder

This meditation is two days late. Yet, perhaps this is good—because today is celebrated throughout the world as Pentecost Sunday, the day we remember the Lord sending His Holy Spirit to dwell among us. By many, this is regarded as the day when The Church was born.

Until the first Pentecost, The Church was a small group of people who had known Jesus during His life time. How small? Well, small enough to be “all together in one place”. (Acts 2:1 NIV) They had been through a turbulent time, climaxing in the crucifixion and then resurrection of their leader. Then, at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon them—and they were never the same again. By the end of the day, there were 3,000 of them. The Church was born.

Pentecost Sunday has another significance for me. On this day, 37 years ago, I gave birth to a baby boy. Because of a turbulent pregnancy, it was with much relief that my husband and I looked upon this perfect baby and gave thanks to our Lord for his safe arrival. Our congregation nicknamed him Baby Pentecost, and life for us would never be the same again.

We knew that one day, we would have to let this baby go his own way into the world, but that seemed so far away. For now, he was ours to have and to hold, to nurture and to mould. Over the next years, we did all we could to guide and direct this little chap to becoming what he is today: A mature adult with a faith and family of his own.

The road wasn’t always easy. Parenting isn’t for sissies. But the day came when we knew we had done all we could. It was time for our baby to leave the parental nest and set out on his own.

Writing is like parenting in many ways. We struggle through a pregnancy, where the book or story idea is taking shape. We have good days, when the words and ideas flow. And we have not-so-good days when we battle to write one sensible sentence. But still it grows. One day, that book reaches maturity, and it’s time to make plans for its future. Whether we find an enthusiastic publisher, or whether we opt for self-publishing or any of the other alternatives today, it’s time for our baby to leave home.

My book, Strength Renewed: Meditations for Your Journey through Breast Cancer has been just such an experience. It had a long pregnancy—several years. I knew without doubt that one day I would write this book. I even had a working title, Rise and Soar above the Cancer Valley. I wrote the odd devotional article with it in mind. But it wasn’t yet time to give it birth.

Over two years ago, I knew the time had come, and I started to write the book based on my own experiences in the Cancer Valley. Sometimes the thoughts came faster than I could write them. Other times I wondered why on earth I thought I could do this. It seems fitting to this analogy of pregnancy that after 90 short devotional chapters, the book was complete. It was grownup, although it needed a lot of editing and pruning before it would be ready to leave the author nest.

That time has now come. My baby has moved on to a new home, Baker Publishing. I couldn’t take it back now even if I wanted to. Already, it has to fend for itself in the world of printing and final steps to publication. There is nothing more I can change to improve it. In a few short months, Strength Renewed will be out there in full public view. And that’s scary. What if it lets me down? Behaves badly in public? Fails to achieve?

Well, as a parent, I had to stand back and trust that the principals and disciplines we’d instilled in our son would be sufficient to help him become a responsible husband and parent and hold down a good job.

In the same way, I have done my best for my book. It is now time to step back and allow it freedom. But it’s still not easy.

How about you? How easy do you find it to let go of a finished article or book, and send it into the big wide world of readers and critics? Do you have any advice for writers in my situation, as our grown-up baby leaves the nest forever?

SHIRLEY CORDER lives on the coast in South Africa with her husband. Her book, Strength Renewed: Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer is available for pre-order at discount price at and Barnes & Noble (B& She is also contributing author to ten books to date. You can contact Shirley through her writing website, her Rise and Soar cancer site, or follow her on Twitter or FaceBook.


  1. Very interesting blog. Looking forward to popping by from time to time

  2. Love the comparison as it is so true. It's always hard for me to send off a story, even if it's just to an editor. What if they hate it? What if it's not good enough? Like with children, I believe we have to pray a lot then do everything we can to learn and prepare for the 'job' (both child rearing and writing) then leave the rest to God!

  3. Shirl, wonderful post and very appropriate for this weekend :) Congrats on your upcoming book release!

  4. Hi Shirley. My baby left home last night. Released and launched into the big wide world. I can never recall her or take back what I have written. Today 150 more people are reading or will soon read my story. I don't think I would have had the courage except for my passion to see the amazing love and power of God spread abroad. You have drawn my attention to Pentecost. Great timimg for a book release.

  5. Ladies, thanks for your responses. I'm glad it meant something to you. Jo, all the best for your new book "out there".

  6. Pentecost is so amazingly special! -------- I appreciated your following on with those two similes
    A great devotional message
    Thank you Shirley!

  7. Great comparison Shirely. And posted in God's timing. Prayers for you and Jo with your babies out in the world.

  8. Thanks Naureen for your comments, and thanks Dale also for your prayers.

  9. Hi Shirl, Thanks for the post. I know how you feel about releasing your baby into the world. I just released mine and and there's no turning back now. Congrats on the sale to Baker. :)

  10. Thanks Katy Lee. Coming from S.Africa it was way beyond my expectations. God is good!

  11. Hi Shirley,

    Absolutely lovely. Thank you for sharing such intimate thoughts.

    All the best,

  12. Thanks Donne. Have a wonderful day.

  13. Sue (Toddler-in-writing)May 30, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    Shirl, your message was so beautiful! Especially for a new writer like me who tends to push herself way too much. I know we should not be slack with our writing but the opposite is also quite true sometimes and your devotional has described it so beautifully that thoughts and good writing take time to mature. Thank you for the much needed encouragement!

  14. Thanks so much, Sue. I love it when I hear from my S.A. online group. Bless you!