All Things through Christ—Even Write

ACFW Advice, Authors and writing, Encouragement, Friends of ACFW, tips, writing 5 Comments

By Suzanne Bratcher

Most of the writers I know personally are, like me, newly published. Almost all of us write in spite of daunting life challenges. One friend home schools her four small children. Another one works forty hours a week. A third friend provides full-time care for a grandmother suffering from dementia. My life challenge is medical: I live with Multiple Sclerosis. MS isn’t a common disease, but it isn’t rare either. You may know someone who has MS, or you may have it yourself. But if you’re not familiar with this neurological disease, its symptoms vary widely, depending on which nerves are affected. Two characteristics, however, seem universal: unpredictable relapses and bouts of overwhelming, non-negotiable fatigue.

My second book, a mystery titled The Silver Lode, goes on pre-order today and releases Friday. I was about halfway through the first draft when I realized I wasn’t going to meet my publisher’s deadline. For one thing, the story required three points of view, something I’d never attempted. For another, my MS fatigue was on a collision course with my writing schedule. Like every writer I know in ACFW, I feel called to write the stories God gives me. Therefore, I reasoned, God would supply me the energy I needed. I would be able to write four hours a day instead of two. But as C.S. Lewis makes clear in the Chronicles of Narnia, God is not a tame lion. God’s ways are not our ways, and God doesn’t always answer our prayers the way we expect. I didn’t get extra energy or extra hours of writing done each week. The days sped by, and I got farther and farther behind schedule.

As I wrote my way into Act Three, Paul Russell, the protagonist, is searching for his kidnapped son against a ticking clock. When he is about to panic, he suddenly remembers Philippians 4:13 and says aloud, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, even find Scott before…” I stopped mid-paragraph. The focus scripture for The Silver Lode is the Jeremiah story about the spoiled vessel. I hadn’t planned to use Philippians! That’s when I realized the Holy Spirit gave me that verse. From then on whenever I sat down to write, I said aloud, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, even finish this scene before I crash.”

Fast forward to the end of that writing journey. Did I meet my deadline? No, but my publisher extended grace by giving me three extra weeks. Did I turn in a polished manuscript? No, but the first editor reminded me about the pesky adverbs that creep into my writing when I’m not vigilant. As I searched for and eliminated adverbs, I found awkward sentences to rewrite and paragraphs to cut. The revised manuscript that went to the line editor was in much better shape, and the final manuscript that went to the publisher may be the best writing I’ve done yet.

So, yes, friends, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us if we trust God with each story and with each day we are given to write.

We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us--even finish writing a book.@AuthorBratcher #ACFWBlogs #writetip #writing Click To Tweet

A mystery fan since her first encounter with Nancy Drew, Suzanne J. Bratcher writes mysteries and romantic suspense set in the Southwest. The Silver Lode follows The Copper Box in her Jerome, Arizona, mystery trilogy. Visit her webpage at Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter @AuthorBratcher.


Comments 5

  1. Suzanne, this is for you, in awe, and, if I may, love.

    Among us live the quiet giants
    coping with a demon’s curse;
    living in a cold compliance,
    left unsung in prose and verse.
    Every day they face the challenge
    that we hope we’ll never meet
    and with grace absorb the damage
    to stay, with holy grace, complete.
    They will not tell us of their ills,
    compelled to dignity by strength
    that animates the brave pure will
    to let the heart prevail at length.
    I bow to these, the heroes hidden
    who daily do what God has bidden.

  2. Thank you for sharing this! I have a different autoimmune issue, but the fatigue is just about the hardest ongoing symptom to deal with. I, too, was behind and am working to get caught up. I’m reading Allen Arnold’s book THE STORY OF WITH, and it has helped so much!

  3. Inspiring. For me, it’s about those who need help. I get distracted by so many calls and needs and even sometimes my own desire to just shut down and craft or forget the world exists. None of that is healthy. What I mean is, pouring out constantly without first filling up with time spent with Him first is not healthy. Shutting down because I’m overwhelmed with too many tasks or maybe because I didn’t take the time to do the first thing.
    I like that you showed real life the real way. Sometimes God does amazing things and we get to see the flashy side of Him. But how much better for us when we realize that God is in the mundane, giving us strength and being faithful through it all.
    Well said, Suzanne.

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