My Current Worship Playlist [spring 2018 edition]

A while ago, I shared my worship playlist (aka: my go-to songs for worshiping with music), but that list has grown significantly.

So, today, I’m sharing another edition of my current worship playlist. (If you’re on Spotify, you can find the ever-growing playlist here.)

worship playlist 2018.jpg

Captain (yes, this is a repeat from last time, but it’s still high on the list)

Through waters uncharted,

My soul will embark,

I’ll follow Your voice straight into the dark.

Come Thou Fount (performed by Kings Kaleidoscope)

Jesus sought me when a stranger,

Wandering from the fold of God,

He, to rescue me from danger,

Interposed His precious blood.

The Secret Place

Where will you run, my soul?

Where will you go when wells run dry?

When the wind starts to blow,

How you gonna keep this flame alive?

Nailed to the Cross

When I stand before the throne at last,

His blood will plead my innocence,

I will worship Him with holy hands,

And raise the song that never ends,

Of Jesus Christ, my Righteousness.

Need You More

When I am lost, when I’m alone,

When my faith is almost gone,

You see my heart, You lead me home,

You give me courage to carry on.

Nothing Without You

Oh, God, peel back the layers of my heart,

I want communion,

I want fellowship,

I want to be You where You are…

Reckless Love

There’s no shadow You won’t light up,

No mountain You won’t climb up, coming after me,

There’s no wall You won’t kick down,

No lie You won’t tear down, coming after me.

Death Where Is Your Sting

From heaven’s highest place,

He took the fall,

And there was just one life,

Laid down for all.

Endless Alleluia

In the morning when I rise to meet You,

In the morning when I lift my eyes,

You’re the only One I want to cling to,

You’re the first thought on mind.

All Hail King Jesus

There on a cross they made for sinners,

For every curse His blood atoned,

One final breath and it was finished,

But not the end we could have known,

For the earth began to shake,

And the veil was torn,

One sacrifice was made,

As the heavens roared,

All hail King Jesus…

No Outsiders

I was tired, I was poor,

I was thrown upon Your shores,

I was hopeless and afraid,

Till I heard You call my name,

Now I’m ransomed, I’m restored,

Resurrected, I am Yours,

I am loved, yes, I belong,

Oh my soul has found its home.


I relent,

There is nothing for me here,

You can have it all,

This life is not my own,

You give life that is worth the loss of mine,

I surrender all I have to follow You.

Psalm 51 (Wisdom in the Secret Heart)

Wash me thoroughly,

And cleanse me from iniquity,

And teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Psalm 46 (Lord of Hosts)

O come behold the works of God,

The nations at His feet,

He breaks the bow and bends the spear,

And tells the wars to cease,

O mighty One of Israel,

You are on our side,

We walk by faith in God who burns the chariots with fire.

Psalm 45 (Fairest of All)

He ransomed His bride,

On the day that He died,

Ascended to heaven in glory,

She stands clothed in white,

With her head lifted high,

Singing: “Come and return in Your glory.”

Psalm 139 (Far Too Wonderful)

Amazing love, how can it be?

Far too wonderful for me,

There’s only one thing left to say:

You are worthy.

Psalm 16 (Fullness of Joy)

Preserve me, oh God,

For I find rest in You alone,

I say to the Lord:

“You are my Lord,

I have no good apart from You.”

All the Poor and Powerless

And all will sing out,


And we will cry out,


Life Is Beautiful 

Painter of skies,

Maker of stars,

Holder of seas and all our hearts,

Artist of life,

Father of lights,

When I’m with You, my soul ignites.

The Love of God (performed by Sara Groves)

Could we with ink the ocean fill,

And were the skies of parchment made,

Were every tree on earth a quill,

And every man a scribe by trade,

To write the love of God above,

Would drain the ocean dry,

Nor could the scroll contain the whole,

Though stretched from sky to sky.

Abide with Me (performed by Sara Groves)

Thou on my head,

In early youth didst smile,

And though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,

Thou has not left me,

Though I oft left Thee,

On to the close, Lord,

Abide with me.

Simple Gospel

So I’m laying down,

All my religion,

I’m laying down,

I want to know You, Lord.

His Heart Beats

His heart beats,

His blood begins to flow,

Waking up what was dead a moment ago,

His heart beats,

Now everything has changed,

‘Cause the blood that brought us peace with God,

Is racing through His veins,

And His heart beats.

Is He Worthy?

Does the Father truly love us?

He does.

Does the Spirit move among us?

He does.

And does Jesus, our Messiah, hold forever those He loves?

He does.

Does our God intend to dwell again with us?

He does.

It Was Finished 

It was finished,

On that day,

Death was beaten,

All darkness was slain,

All His passion poured out,

Like the rain upon the earth.

And that’s all I’ve got for today, friends!

Which of these songs do you enjoy? What would you add to the list?

With love,


P.S. – I’ve said before, but I’m going to say it again just in case people have forgotten: there’s still time to sign up for the 2018 #flashficdash and enter the newsletter giveaway.

P.P.S. – a special thanks to Luke for modeling some earbuds for the feature image for this post.


Camp NaNoWriMo & All That Jazz [aka: an explosion of all my craziness about my WIP]

April Camp NaNoWriMo came to a close last Monday, and I’m happy to say it was a successful month for me!

[Warning: Kat from Sparks of Ember gave me permission to just be myself here on Penprints, so the proverbial hair is coming down. Prepare yourself for a super casual post full of run-on sentences and my explosive excitement for my WIP.]

camp nanowrimo and all that jazz.jpg

Now, for those of you wondering what Camp NaNoWriMo is, here’s the short version: “NaNoWriMo” is slang for “National Novel Writing Month”. National Novel Writing Month is a virtual event that takes place every November where writers around the world try to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

Camp NaNoWriMo takes place in April and July and has a similar idea except you can join virtual cabins with nineteen other writers where you can chat, compare your goals, word war and such. And speaking of goals, you set your goal any way you want for Camp. Lines, hours, minutes, words, pages, etc.

I had planned to continue pulling teeth working on Beasts for Camp NaNoWriMo, and I set myself a goal of 55 hours. Three days before Camp started, I decided that Beasts and I needed to take a break and come back to reevaluate our relationship after we both had some time away (why, yes, I did just refer to Beasts and I as a “we”, as if Beasts was another person and not a figment of my imagination. #unashamed) Unfortunately, at present, it seems like it’s a toxic relationship. Hopefully this detox from each other will bring us around to a better state of mind and heart. Hopefully.

So I had to scramble for a project for Camp. Should I just write a bunch of flash fictions? Finish a sci-fi short story that’s been rolling around in my head for months? Revisit Flickering Lights and finally make decisions about its fate? Not do Camp at all??

Ha. None of that happened.

Instead, I went straight for False Gods, the novel I drafted last November (during normal NaNoWriMo). Because I’d been dying to get back to it (no, I have not been mentally cheating on Beasts, hush) since December 1, 2017.

So I stowed my Beasts notes and playlist and pulled up the False Gods Pinterest board, the character playlists, and the embarrassingly rough first draft that I somehow still adore even though it’s a complete mess.

An Example Of What A Mess This First Draft Is:

*second week of NaNoWriMo 2017*

*in the midst of drafting False Gods for the first time*

*my small group was also in the midst of a study on the book of Acts and we had just finished the part where Paul is on Malta, a snake comes out of the fire, bites him in the hand, the natives expect him to swell up and die, and then he doesn’t die because God*

Me: *whining* I don’t know why this character is going on this trip with them! I don’t want him on this trip! He ruins the whole dynamic!

Daddy: What if a viper bites him, he swells up, and dies?

Me: Haha, psh. You’re cute. No, I would never do that. *laughs* That would be ridiculous.

*literally 20 minutes later*

“… So-and-so let out a sharp cry. A viper hung from So-and-so’s calf…”

And yes, this character definitely swelled up and died on the spot. Problem = solved. Don’t worry, kids. I’m a professional.

Anyway, April began with a huge bang and kept right on steamrolling. About halfway through, I lowered my goal from 55 hours to 50 hours because there were a few days when I had far better things to do than work on False Gods (and if I’m saying that about The Novel That I Love, you know it’s true).

With the help of my amazing cabin, I made it to my goal of 50 hours by the end of April, and I made so much progress!… sort of… okay, so, looking back at where False Gods was at the start of April, I’m like, “Woah!! I’ve done so much work on it! It’s come so far! Woohoo! FULL SPEED AHEAD!”… but then when I think about having spent 50 hours (50 HOURS) of work on it, I’m like, “How is this all that’s gotten done in 50 freaking hours of work??!”.

So here we are.

I’m going to briefly share a few things—we’ll  call them fun facts—that have happened with False Gods over the month of April.

  • I read and annotated the first draft.
  • Existing plot points and new plot points went on index cards and were arranged into the semblance of a plot. (Side note: why the heck do we even have plots? Who needs them? *distant sobbing*)
  • I dug into Asha (my main character who I adore) and his past, figuring out more of his history and emotional wounds and such. (Hint: hurt people hurt people, people.)
  • I dug into Adele (my secondary POV character) and her past a little more, but she’s been in my head longer than Asha, so I already knew more of her history, but I was able to smooth some things out with her.
  • Asha and Adele were classified and explored according to their personality. Asha’s a rebel according to the four tendencies and a ESTP according to the Meyers-Briggs system. Adele’s an upholder according to the four tendencies and an ISFJ according to Meyers-Briggs. (Yeah, they ended up as almost complete opposites. #oops.)
  • While working on Asha’s brain, I compiled a list of his flaws and his virtues because that’s what professionals do. It turns out that he has eight flaws and counting. His only virtue is his wicked sense of humor, which I don’t think actually counts, especially since “wicked” describes it perfectly.
  • Despite how depraved it turns out Asha is, I still like him, and I think other people will too.
  • Adele, on the other hand, has seven virtues and counting with only three flaws.
  • I cemented down some of the major history for my storyworld (particularly, Asha’s heritage).
  • I finished sorting through an entire book of baby names and compiled a complete list of characters and why they’re there.
  • I revised the first sixteen chapters (part one) of False Gods.
  • A rough map of the storyworld has been drawn.
  • I did some focused work on Adele’s POV voice and settled on a tone that suits her.
  • 47 hours into Draft Two, I finally came roaring out of the honeymoon phase with False Gods (meaning: I started to despair about how much work it needs, began to hate it, etc.).
  • 52 hours into Draft Two, I zipped right back into the honeymoon phase. (Something about these characters, people. I can’t hate them or ignore them.)
  • I realized that False Gods is indeed the correct title for this story. If you remember from my recap post from NaNoWriMo 2017, I wasn’t sure if it suited Asha’s story after I brought Adele out of her story and into his. Spoiler alert: oh, it works.
  • Speaking of Asha’s story, I also figured out that Asha is indeed my main character. One would think I would have already known this, but alas. For a while there, I wasn’t sure which of them was my main character because they both have so much at stake, are so dear to me, etc., etc.. But then I realized that this isn’t about the mortal who goes toe-to-toe with an immortal pantheon; this is about the immortal who gets defeated by a mortal. This is about a dude who actually thinks he’s a god and all the lies he believes that have to be unraveled for him to become truly great. So, yeah, that was just nice to finally get sorted out in my brain.
  • False Gods is not subtle. At all. Most of my flash fictions have been fairly indirect in how they reflect Christ. That’s not at all the case with False Gods; the themes are very direct, born from a season in my life that’s felt like a spiritual wilderness. I’ve come to terms with the fact that while I want to write subtle fiction, False Gods is just not one of those stories. It never has been, and it never will be.

Anyhoo. That was a crazy long post, and it’s not even helpful or anything like that. It’s just me spazzing my way from one thought about April and False Gods to another like a rabbit on caffeine (Out of Time series reference, yo).

Part of me is like, “Oh, this level of hyper is probably incoherent and/or annoying”, but then the rest of me is like, “Lol, do it anyway.”.

SO. This is one of the things I’m super jazzed about right now. What is something you’re excited about right now? A project? A trip? A novel?

With love,


P.S. – thanks again to Kat for telling me I don’t always “have to be on” here on the ol’ blog.

P.P.S. – don’t forget to sign-up for the 2018 Penprints Flash Fiction Dash and check out the giveaway that’s currently running.

The 2018 Penprints Flash Fiction Dash [sign-ups are open]

It’s that time of year again. Time to announce the 2018 Penprints Flash Fiction Dash.

This is where you get allllll the details.

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A brief explanation of flash fiction:

Definitions of “flash fiction” vary, but for the purpose of this challenge flash fictions are stories that are 1000 words or less. They are not always easy to write, but they are often rewarding.

I’ll share some helpful posts about flash fiction at the end of this post.

The general gist of how this works:

If you want to give flash fiction a go (or if you’re already a flash fiction veteran), it all starts with you signing up here. Using the information you give me in your sign-up (genre and prompt preferences), I will pick out a prompt for you (usually from the depths of Pinterest) and send it to you.

Then, you have just over three weeks to draft and edit a flash fiction using the prompt as a springboard. If you want, you can post your story on your blog.

After you’re finished with editing and such, you send me your story (or a link to your story), and I compile ALLLLLLLLL the flash fictions written into one final wrap-up post so that everyone can know where to find them all.

Same as last year–it’s a challenge, not a contest.

This is about getting people writing, not about picking which story is best. There will be no ranking who’s stories were better than whose, or anything like that.

My hope is that this will challenge you to venture out into a new story, have fun with writing, and exercise the art of telling a story in a very small wordcount.

Why you should totally be interested:

I’ve taken the liberty of compiling a Very Convincing And Not At All Like Last Year’s list of reasons why you need to sign up right away.

  • I say so (as always, this is the most compelling reason on the list).
  • If you’re in a writing slump, this is a great way to get your creativity rolling again.
  • Writing a story in a 1000 words or less will grow you as a writer (even if you’ve written hundreds of flash fictions).
  • You and your writing can get a little more exposure.
  • I want to read your stories!
  • It’s. so. much. fun!

(Okay, so these are basically the same reasons I laid out for you guys last year, but whatevs.)

Some general guidelines:

  • Your story must be 1000 words or less.
  • Stories with excessive violence, sexual content, or profanity will not be included in the wrap-up post.
  • In order for your story to be included in the wrap-up post, it must be sent back to me by 11:59 pm on June 18, 2018.
  • You must have unfettered fun.

When you post your story on your blog:

Include your prompt, mention that you’re taking part of the Penprints Flash Fiction Dash, and share your story. And then send me the link to it by June 18!

If you don’t have a blog:

Please participate! You don’t have to have a blog in order to participate. You can still sign up, get a prompt, write a story, send it back to me, and be featured in the wrap-up post.

If you don’t have a blog or won’t be posting your story on your blog, send your story to me as a Word or Google Doc (please do not paste your story in the body of the email), and I will convert it into a clickable PDF to share in the wrap-up post.

All the need-to-know dates:

Sign-ups are open April 30, 2018 – May 21, 2018.

Prompts will be sent out by May 25, 2018.

Writers have until 11:59 pm on June 18, 2018 (over three weeks) to write their stories and send them to me.

The wrap-up post will go live on June 25, 2018.

All the extra stuff:

The Penprints Flash Fiction Dash is now on Instagram. Updates on the challenge will be shared there as well as some of last year’s stories. AND all of this year’s stories will be highlighted via Instagram in the few months following the close of the challenge because if we have more stories than we did last year, it will be a lot to wade through in one wrap-up post (that was a super long, confusing sentence, but here we are).

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the challenge button on a transparent background

PFFD 18 white letters, BLACK background

the challenge button

i'm writing a story for.jpg


The official hashtag to use on your social medias is: #flashficdash.

Other posts that might be helpful:

Just B. Jordan on Writing Flash Fiction

In Defense of Short Fiction

The Penprints Flash Fiction Dash [the giant wrap-up post] (from 2017)

13 Tips for Writing Flash Fiction

How to Write Flash Fiction with Ben Wolf

I think that’s everything! If you have any questions whatsoever, drop them in the comments!

Did you take the challenge in 2017? Will you take the challenge 2018??

With love,


5 Years of Blogging [newsletter launch + giveaways]

Every April I say to myself: “You should do a special post on the anniversary of your first blog post.”

Myself always replies: “Ah, yes, what a lovely idea.”

And every year, the 19th of April slips by like a… um… a, uh… Sneaky Thing under the cover of darkness. Or something. (The significance of April 19th is that it’s my blog anniversary, for those of you who weren’t catching on).

Me to myself in January 2018: I decree that it will. not. happen. this year! April 19th shall not slip by like a Sneaky Thing under the cover of darkness! No! Not This time!

Myself to me on April 20th: Oops.

Thus, here we are. On the 23rd of April. Talking about how I’ve been blogging for five years now as of April 19, 2018. Which was four days ago.

5 years of blogging.jpg

A few numbers:

  • 5 years of blogging (in case you hadn’t picked up on that already)
  • 3 different blog names (anybody remember the two blog names that came before Penprints? If you do, keep it secret, keep it safe.)
  • 224 posts (including this one). Only 97 of them remain public; the other 127 are hidden away to never be seen any other eyes but mine own. However, my Original Post remains as cute and 15-year-old-Rosalie as ever.
  • Nearly 300 followers 281 to be exact, but “nearly 300” sounds better

Now, here is quick survey to please fill out with your feedback on Penprints. I want to know what you guys want to see/not see on Penprints, so please take 3 minutes to fill out this survey.

To celebrate I’m launching my newsletter and throwing a few giveaways!

How is subscribing to this newsletter different than subscribing to just Penprints?

Ah, I’m glad you asked.

I’ve taken the liberty of compiling a very compelling list of differences that will make you want to subscribe ASAP.

  • Way more info so that you are in the know; need to know stuff, and you’ll need to know it
  • Frequent giveaways (once a quarter)
  • Sneak peaks at my current writing projects (excerpts, collages, playlists)
  • Special announcements (submissions, contracts, first looks at blog posts/series)
  • Input on the newsletter freebie (more on that in a minute)
  • All sorts of recommendations (music, books, etc.)
  • You get emails from High Command (that’s right–this newsletter is going to be called High Command, and thus will, at the very least, sound Super Swanky)
  • Input on what you, as the recipients of the High Command memos, will be called (you get to name yourselves instead of just being called “kids”, “friends”, “guys”, and all the other things I call you here on Penprints)

How often will memos (aka: newsletters) from High Command be sent out?

Ah, I’m glad you asked.

Fresh newsletters will be in your inboxes every month or so. (Translation: I’m shooting for once a month, but sometimes it might be every other month.)

If something exciting happens (i.e. – CONTRACT), a little newsletter might surprise you with nothing more than Exciting News.

Newsletter giveaways will happen once a quarter, theoretically corresponding with the beginning of a new season (if I can keep my scheduling head on straight; bullet journal, don’t fail me now). The giveaways will be for gift cards, books, and other such fun things.

What is a newsletter freebie?

Ah, I’m glad you asked.

A newsletter freebie is a shorty story or ebook (or something of that nature) that is given out those who loyally subscribe to a newsletter. I’ve been planning on putting together a newsletter freebie since 2016. “Planning” is the operative term here.

SO, as some of the first subscribers to High Command (my newsletter), you would be able to offer special input about what you want to receive for being a subscriber and thus set the trend for all the subscribers that come after you. I’ll give you a few options in the first newsletter.

And what is being given away?

Oh, I’m glad you asked.

Because I don’t have a newsletter freebie to offer you, I’m offering several prize packages. Four prize packages, to be exact.

The Reinke Package

the reinke package 1.jpgThis includes hard copies of three books by Tony Reinke (aka: one of my absolute favorite Christian non-fiction authors ever).

I’ve read all three, and they are a-mazing. Each one has transformed my thinking in exciting ways, and I cannot recommend them enough.

  1. Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books
  2. The Joy Project
  3. 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You

The Writer’s Package:

the writers package 1.jpgThese includes hard copies of three writing craft books that I believe are essential to every writer’s bookshelf. I have read and reread them, and they have taught me so much as a writer.

  1. On Writing by Stephen King
  2. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King
  3. Go Teen Writers by Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson

The Brandes Package:

the brandes package 1This one includes–you guessed it!–hard copies of books by Nadine Brandes AND a complete set of the Happy Hello magnetic bookmarks based off of characters from the Out of Time Series. I have read all four of these books and adore each one, and the bookmarks are so much fun!

  1. A Time to Die (Out of Time Series #1)
  2. A Time to Speak (Out of Time Series #2)
  3. A Time to Rise (Out of Time Series #3)
  4. Happy Hello Out of Time Series bookmarks
  5. Fawkes

The Musical Package:

the musical package 1.jpgSome stuff from my favorite musicals! (No, none of this is The Greatest Showman stuff, even though I so enjoy that musical.)

  1. The Phantom of the Opera DVD (the movie version with Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler)
  2. Wicked Original Broadway Cast CD
  3. Les Miserables themed travel mug

When is all this happening?

Ah, I’m glad you asked.

Today is April 23rd (in case you hadn’t noticed). The first newsletter will go out June 1, and the winners of the giveaways will be announced in that newsletter.

SO, you have until May 31st to subscribe and be eligible to win one of the four prize packages. That’s over a month, kids.

What do I do with all this info (aka: how do I enter the giveaways)?

Ah, I’m glad you asked.

So, to subscribe to my newsletter and specify which package(s) you want to be entered to win, hop over to THIS FORM to enter your email address and check the appropriate giveaway boxes.

NOTE: these giveaways ARE international! 

And that’s it, kids!

Don’t forget to fill out the survey about Penprints (it’s just a couple minutes, I promise)! I so appreciate all of you who have joined in on this blog over the last five years! You’ve put up with long, unexplained silences, we’ve had great conversations, and you guys make this fun!

What else should I include in my newsletter? Which prize package appeals to you the most?

With love,


P.S. – And, no, I’m not ashamed of having a whole package devoted to Nadine Brandes’ books. Not one bit.

The Story Behind “Our Family” [a behind-the-scenes look at its journey, from awful beginning to unexpected end]

As many of you may know by now, my second published flash fiction came out in March! It is titled Our Family, and it was no easy story to write (as I’ve said numerous times on my various social medias because I cannot get over how crazy this whole process was). Today I want to share more of the behind-the-scenes in hopes that other writers may be encouraged.

the story behind our family.jpg

The Set-up

I keep an eye on Splickety Publishing Group’s upcoming themes for their three imprints: Splickety, Havok, and Spark. The theme for their March issue had caught my attention way back last year when the 2018 themes were announced, but I had no ideas for it. And I don’t mean no “good” ideas for it; I mean no ideas whatsoever. But my mind kept circling back to that issue and that theme: Dystopian Disaster.

dystopian disaster.JPG

Then, less than a week before the deadline, a seemingly unrelated idea I’d had for a while came to the surface, one I’d thought of after all the hurricanes last year.

What about the lag time between the hurricane and when relief starts to come in? What if no relief came at all? What then? What about all those people?

I decided to give this idea a go, to see if it could be worked enough to fit the theme.

Sunday, January 7: 5 Days to the Submission Deadline

I’ve never tried to draft and then edit a flash fiction in so little time. I always want to let it sit and get more distance from it, but there was just no time for that.

I cranked out a rough draft about three teens trying to escape a gang that had gotten control of what little supplies were left after the hurricane. It was violent and intense but with a bright spot of hope at the end. It wrecks the world, I thought to myself.

Tuesday, January 9: 3 Days to the Submission Deadline

After letting the rough draft sit as long as I dared, I cut out the third teen, worked in a twist, and then went in for a little more tightening. It was more intense. More violent. The bright spot of hope nearly nonexistent. It kind of made me cringe.

Out it went to the first line of critique (aka: my parentals). Things were a little confusing with my gang of baddies, so I went in for another round of edits to clarify things. I was also starting to freak out a little about the imminent deadline.

Wednesday, January 10: 2 Days to the Submission Deadline

I finished off draft three, and it took another turn for the worst. Even more violent. Even more intense. And whatever that spot was at the end, I don’t think “hope” is the word to describe it. I was really starting to squirm.

The deadline was so. close. and something significant was still so wrong with it. I had no title and no idea how to fix whatever was wrong. It was something deeper than the violence (I am a firm believer in dark stories because they are truer to reality, more honest about our fallen nature, and they give hope the starkest backdrop to shine against).

But the darkness in this story was just confusing and bleak. The twists and violence were there for shock value more than they told a good story. But off it went to the next wave of critique (aka: my brother Caleb and two others) while I paced and squirmed and cringed, stress levels rising by the minute.

nightmare 1

Thursday, January 11: 1 Day to the Submission Deadline

Two of the three received it pretty well. Some things were still confusing and there were some plot holes that need clarification or removal, but over all they seemed to like it. Which, considering I’d been winging it since Sunday, I thought was not bad. Could be worse, I reasoned.

But the third, Caleb, did not like it. Like, at all. He tried to say it kindly, and I had anticipated such a response from him… but I had only one day left to make changes. Why not just go for more clarification and hope for the best? And, besides, he was just one of several critique people, so why not go with the majority? I couldn’t possibly rewrite it in such a short amount of time and actually expect something good to turn out. Could I?

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This was when I finally started to get a clue. As a little bundle of frustration, conflict, and uncertainty, I finally decided to have a real talk with God about it. Up to this point, I’d just prayed in passing “help me write this story, Lord” or “bless this story, Jesus” or other little nothings in passing when I wrote or prayed, staunchly avoiding really praying about it.

Alas, come Thursday, I was out of options and time, so to God in prayer I went (one would think by this time in my life I would have done this sooner, but unfortunately not).

The rest of Thursday passed more-or-less thusly:

Me: So, um, what’s the deal with this story? Will You help me with it? Should I just send it in basically as is? It’s not that bad, is it?

Holy Spirit: You wrote it by yourself.

Me: Yeah, but it’s not that bad. I mean, I can submit it and get feedback at the very least. The last five pieces have been rejected, so I doubt they’re going to accept this one since it’s kind of a wreck.

Holy Spirit: But what if they do accept it?

Me: Then that would be good…?

Holy Spirit: Would it, though?

Me: Why would it not be?

Holy Spirit: You’re very vocal about Me online.

Me: … Mhm…?

Holy Spirit: But where am I in this story? When people read it, where will they see Me? Are you going to tie My Name to this dark story and call it good? How does this story make My great Name known to the world? If you’re going to say you write with Me, then you need to actually write with Me.

Me: *sinking feeling* So you mean I need to rewrite it? *whining* But I don’t have time for that! It won’t turn out!

Holy Spirit: Are you sure? Do you doubt me?

Me: *grumbling* When you say it like that it sounds bad. *more grumbling* Well, if we’re going to do this, we need to get to it. I have no idea how to fix it, so, um, the ball’s in Your court.

Holy Spirit: You know I always take the weight off you when you come around to owning your weakness and ask for help. Remember, My power’s made perfect in your weakness.

(Sometimes I swear it’s amazing I haven’t been smitten by God for all the times I’m so casual and whining and petulant. Not even kidding. He is so patient, so gracious.)

That’s the basics of what passed between me and God a few times on Thursday, and then I got a breakthrough, a really good one.

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So I sat down at my computer, released my death grip on control, and rewrote the story, and this time it had a heart, a soul that made me smile. This time, I could see a piece of Jesus when I read it, and I had full confidence that this was not a story to be ashamed of or worried about what people would think.

Some people wouldn’t like, but that didn’t matter because I liked it, because it was hopeful and subtly sent arrows pointing to the God I love. I was confident because I finally had peace with it, finally knew that God was pleased by it.

Friday, January 12: The Day of the Deadline

After a few more rounds of small edits to tighten things and reword a few things, I sent it in… But then there were issues with my email, and it wouldn’t go through. At that point, I was done. I wanted to be done thinking about it, but no, it wouldn’t go through. Even after four tries. Four. tries.

Me: After all that, it’s going to get stuck in the submission process, God? What?! Technical difficulties are going to take it down?

Holy Spirit: After all that, you think some technical difficulties are going to take it down if I want it to go through? Trouble shoot and try again.

(As I said before, God pours out His grace and patience on me by the oceanful.)

After some trouble shooting and some untraditional detours, it went through. And a few weeks later, it was acquired. And a little while after that, it was out in the world.

And then God really blew my mind.

People have been so encouraging in their response to Our Family, and while I believe flash fiction has the potential to be powerful, I did not dream that Our Family would touch people as much as it has. I was expecting “Aw, it’s a nice story”, but I’ve been so floored and humbled by what people have said.

God has touched people’s hearts in ways I hadn’t ever thought of, things were huge to people that I never thought were huge when I wrote it, pieces of God so much clearer than I thought they would be. A few people have cried over it. Cried. over. it. WHAT?!?!?!?!?! How did that even happen????

I guess I was just expecting little from God. Again.

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This is a long post, and maybe it’s got far more detail and drama than you ever wanted, but it is what it is.

I want people to know that Our Family wasn’t anything to get excited while I had my death grip on it. I want people to know that it only got its heart because God.

I want other writers to know that amazing, unbelievable things happen when you give a story over to God, when you write it with Him.

I want other writers to know that He is so patient and gracious, especially since I know I should know all this stuff already.

I want other writers to know that God can blow your expectations out of the water, that He can work little miracles in stories that, by all rights, shouldn’t work or succeed.

I want other writers to go out on a limb, go out on God, and keep working even when it’s stressful and tough.

So let’s talk. Is there a story you’re struggling with right now? What does your writing process look like? Tell me about a time when God did something you hadn’t even imagined!

With much love,


P.S. – If it isn’t clear from the rest of this post, praise God. For all of it. Glory to God. For all of it.