By Chandra Lynn Smith
A couple of years ago at the ACFW conference I was privileged to take Allen Arnold’s continuing session. It was a most amazing blessing! (That’s my exclamation point use for the day.) During our opening session he had a stack of spiral-bound notebooks. He walked around the room and gave a notebook to each of us. It was intriguing watching him pause in front of someone, reach into the stack of books, pull one out from anywhere in the stack, and hand it to that person.
But that isn’t the best part. The backstory is. Before leaving for the conference he prayed over those notebooks and inside each one, on the first page, he wrote a message from God. As he paused in front of each of us, he prayed God would guide him to the right book for the right person. One by one we got our notebooks. A holy hush settled over the room. In that hush you heard soft sobbing, or a whispered “wow” here and there.
The message in my book was powerful, has blessed me for several years, and, as I write this post this morning, I believe God wants me to share it with all of you. Here it is:
Less stress. More of Me.
Less worry. More of Me.
Less Distraction. More freedom.
Remember, you’re not alone. Ever. Live and write with Me.
Before the conference I was an unpublished Genesis finalist and winner who desperately longed to be published. However, during that conference Allen turned my thoughts around and taught me the value and treasure of writing WITH God. It is a practice I try to do each time I sit at my desk with hands on keyboard. He also taught me that writing with God means totally trusting the plans He has for my stories will come to fruition. I have and they do.
This past July I released my third book.
The first two were novellas, one in a collection and one a stand-alone. This most recent release is a full length novel. How are my sales? I don’t really know. Because, you see, trusting God will see my books get to the one(s) whom He planned frees me. Allen’s God-note in my notebook said, “Less stress, less worry, less distraction and more freedom.” Writing with God has caused these things to happen in my life. He frees me to write the stories He places in my heart, to make them the best I possibly can, to study the craft and always learn more. But He is in charge of where the stories take me and others.
If I could give you each a gift this Christmas it would be to suggest you make a radical change and try writing with God instead of for Him. I also do highly recommend Allen’s book, The Story of With.
Merry Christmas Everyone.Writing with God @ChandraLynnS #ACFWBlogs #writing #writetips @TheStoryofWith Click To Tweet
Chandra Lynn Smith is a professional dog trainer by trade and a writer by heart. To Follow a Dream is her third novel. Chandra lives on a small farm in South Central Pennsylvania with her husband and two dogs. Their house is often filled with the glorious chaos of any combination of four sons, two fiancés, one daughter-in-law, a precious granddaughter, and nine grand-dogs. Chandra is the author of the newly-released full length novel, To Follow a Dream, as well as two novellas, Turtle Box Memories, and The Light Holding Her in Coming Home; A Tiny House Collection.