Friday, January 11, 2013

On Being a Timothy with Carol Moncado

On Being a Timothy

This is a blog post that's been floating around my head - rather nebulously - for quite some time. I'd planned to put it on my personal blog, but when Pepper approached me about guest blogging here on the Writer's Alley, I said yes and, well, then, I sorta freaked out. What on God's green earth could I possibly have to contribute to a group such as this? And then in the weekly preview post, Casey said I was "always fun". I don't know that this post truly qualifies as fun, but I will include this picture of my friend Jason, because it'll make all y'all smile even if you don't know him.

Because this is the look he gave me when I asked him about this topic when our families had lunch on Sunday. The topic? Being a Timothy. I asked if he'd ever preached on it (he's currently a youth pastor) and he hasn't, but he talks about it all. the. time. (as attested to by my husband) That's not to say we talked about it much that day, but at least there's a pic to make us all smile ;).
So who's Timothy?

Alley Cat Casey Herringshaw with the fabulous Julie Lessman; Me then Pepper with Ruth Logan Herne; Casey with Tina Russo Radcliffe

Being a Timothy? Who's Timothy? The guy in the Bible. He's got two books named for him, you know.* But those aren't just books. They're letters, written to Timothy by Paul. Surely you've heard of Paul. Paul-the-apostle-formerly-known-as-Saul-the-killer-and-persecutor-of-Christians**

See, Paul is Timothy's mentor. That makes Timothy the mentee (but not, however, the Mento) or disciple. Paul was put in Timothy's life to teach him. To train him. So that one day Timothy could train others. So Timothy could become Paul.*** One day, Timothy would become the mentor and train others. Okay so. Paul. Timothy. They've got a good relationship going on. Paul is sharing his wisdom, the things he's learned throughout his years spreading the Gospel and communicating with God with the next generation. Timothy is soaking it all up. But then who's Barnabas?**** Barnabas is the guy who worked with Paul. His contemporary. In many ways, Paul's equal. But he is very appropriately named. Barnabas means "son of encouragement". He was the one who encouraged Paul, helped Paul, traveled the road with Paul.
Application to writers
One of my favorite Barnabases
One of my favorite Barnabases
Okay - so what does all of that have to do with you? A writer? Most of the blogs out there on being a Paul/Barnabas/Timothy seem to have to do with discipleship/ministry/etc. (see links at the end of the blog) but the theory applies across so many more areas than that. Parenting. Music. Computers.***** And writing.

At some point, all of us start out as a Timothy. We don't know much of anything about how to properly format for contests. Or which agencies you can query multiple agents and which ones you can't. Or where the best blogs are to find this stuff out. We all need a Paul (or two or three or seventeen) to help us figure that stuff out. Sometimes those relationships turn into something long term.

Sometimes it's a simple email from a favorite author saying "Check out ACFW. They rock and can help you from here." Sometimes it's for a season (for instance, just one manuscript). Pauls will read through manuscripts or parts of manuscripts or contest entries and help you figure out how to tone down the dialect or point out where you're telling when you should be showing - and maybe, just maybe, when an adverb really is the way to go. And we also need a Barnabas. Someone who's right where we are - or who has been recently. That person who is struggling through poor contest showings on that manuscript you - and they - thought was going to be the big breakthrough. Who cry with you when you accidentally kick an editor out of his/her seat at dinner (don't ask). Who convince you that hiding out in the hotel room for the next three days *isn't* the answer. Who know just what to say when you cry the following: Why am I wasting my time? And everyone else's? And the money that goes into contests and conferences and web hosting and everything else?
How it applies to YOU
Me with two of my favorite Pauls - Candy Calvert and Beth K. Vogt
Me with two of my favorite Pauls - Candy Calvert and Beth K. Vogt
We all go through seasons. Most of us spend a lot of time being a Timothy. I know I sure do (just ask Pepper). There's *lots* of times when I need hand holding or to cry on the phone to my long-lost-literary-twin (that's Pepper, btw) about how this isn't gonna happen. Or lament to Joanna that I didn't final (again) and could she please look at the score sheets for me because after that rejection from (insert major publishing house here) last week, I just don't think I can take it and may have to delete everything in my Dropbox.

Me and my Pepper - a Paul and a Barnabas (and I'd like to think sometimes I have something to help her so maybe a Timothy, too) wrapped up in one pretty package
Me and my Pepper - a Paul and a Barnabas (and I'd like to think sometimes I have something to help her so maybe a Timothy, too) wrapped up in one pretty package
Many of us (yeah, I mean me - someone please tell me I'm not alone!) walk around afraid that one day we're going to call one too many times. That the Paul in our lives is going to be like "Grow up and get over it" then change their number/email address/Facebook settings so we can't get to them. A lot of times, though (and this realization came to me as I wrote this blog), we're in mutual Barnabas relationships. Relationships that exist for the purposes of encouraging each other. Not really one mentoring the other. Neither is necessarily a "Paul". But that person who loves you enough to look at you and say, "Sweetie, I love you to pieces and that's why I won't let you go on American Idol.

Because you can't sing and I'd hate to see you humiliated on national television." One day you might be the Paul (because, believe it or not, if you've been doing this for any amount of time, you know SOMETHING you can use to help someone else). The next day you might be the Timothy. And another day, you're the Barnabas. All in the same relationship.

I struggle almost daily with feeling too much like a Timothy. Always taking. Never giving enough back. Always needing that extra support. Wondering when my friends are going to turn their backs. Or ignore their phones/emails because it's "that Carol again." I do what I can. Give back what I can, but maybe it's something inherent in all writers, not just me. That feeling that no matter what we do, the relationship isn't symbiotic******. That we're the parasites and our friends, the hosts, will eventually walk away.

Me with Jessica, Kristy and Joanna - three of my Pauls, Barnabases and Timothys
Me with Jessica, Kristy and Joanna - three of my Pauls, Barnabases and Timothys
But I think it's time for all of us (and by that I mean me) to take a deep breath, do what we can, don't try to overwhelm our Pauls and Barnabases and trust that they love us. That we go through seasons. That our needy season will be followed by their needy season. That Paul and Barnabas, even though they eventually went separate ways, remained friends. Sometimes that happens. God brings people into our lives for seasons. To be Pauls. To be Barnabases. To be Timothys. Our goals should be the same. To become a Paul. To encourage like a Barnabas. To not be afraid to admit that, sometimes, we're a Timothy.
*Appropriately and creatively named I Timothy and II Timothy **Not his real name ***No one thinks I mean that literally, right? ****Not to be confused with Barabbas - the guy who was released so Jesus would be crucified. *****I do hope all y'all have a Paul when it comes to computers. Someone who knows more than you and is willing to help. ******A fancy word meaning mutually beneficial. But you knew that.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, this is just so beautiful, Carol.

First, thank you.

You bless me. You guys bless US, the Seekers, and I love that we all work together for the common goal of getting us OUT THERE, to the mainland.

Because we know it's not easy. We know the uphill tred... we get it, totally and hey, if a hand now and again (or cookies and milk, yum!!!) is what's needed, it should always, always, always be extended at no cost and with gentle love.

And sometimes a firm, swift kick!

(Tina does that, I'm the NICE one... we all know that.)

Bless you. And you know the secret is not really a secret: We just keep working and never quit.

How did you know I love the story of Saul/Paul so much. That is such a true redemption...

Oh my soul, it simply grabs me by the heart and choke-holds me because utter evil can be brought to immense good.

And so we believe today.

Bless you, my friend!!!

Carol Moncado said...

Oh, I always knew you were the nice one, Ruthy dear.

Wait. Tina could see this.

You're both the nice ones, right?

Thank you, my darlin', for everything you [and the other Seekers] do, to mentor the rest of us!

Love you oodles, my friend!

Beth K. Vogt said...

Reading this post was like sitting with you in the coffee shop ACFW (with Candy, of course) ... just talking. About life. And writing. And God.
I smiled as I read every. single. beautiful. word.
You described the journey of the writing road ... coming alongside each other, sometimes being the Timothy, or the Barnabas, or the Paul.
Everyone needs encouragement, everyone has something to offer ... everyone needs friends, needs a mentor (or mentors). We help, we love one another.
You blessed me today, Carol.
No surprise there. It's what you do.

Unknown said...

Oh, I love this, Carol.

So many people have been Pauls and Barnabases in my life. So. Many. People. And yeah, I've had those moments when I've though, seriously, So-and-so is totally going to get sick of me one of these days, right? But to my knowledge, none of them have...and that's what hugely encourages me to step up and at least attempt to be a Paul or Barnabas in someone else's life. I don't always feel like I have anything to offer, but I feel like when we're willing, God pulls out of us things we didn't even know we had to give. He's just cool that way.

Thanks for the wonderful and heart-felt post!

Embrace said...

thank you for the encouragement this morning. I feel like I am always the Timothy too. I am hoping and praying for the day that I've learned enough to someday pass it on to someone else.

Pepper said...

Great blessing today, Carol.
You know...a Paul-moment :-)

And I certainly don't feel like I've made it anywhere close to Paul status, but I'd like to move up toward Barnabas-status.

I have been SO BLESSEd by many people who have guided me in writing and in spirit. And let me just attest to Ruth Logan Herne's very distinct 'swift kick' - not just Tina's. They both are equally inpressive in keeping people in line :-)

And isn't it great that the people GOD puts in our lives somehow seem to be like the Everlasting Gobstopper...they keep staying. Praise God for keeping them around in my life!!!

Wonderful sharing, Carol! YAY for Encouragers!!! And Yay for Timothys too!

Lindsay Harrel said...

Great post, Carol. I totally agree. As still a fairly newbie to the Christian writing world, I feel sometimes like I take and don't give back. But I think God will bring those moments of giving into our lives, once we're equipped. We just have to watch for the opportunities and be ready.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Pepper, you made a wonderful point... that sticktoitiveness in friendship is the same in writing.

No bandwagons.

You hop on for the long haul.

A fan, even in the rotten years. (Think Billy Martin, New York Yankees... sigh...)

We hang together because we're drawn with the spirit, cleansed by the blood, blessed by the Father and chocolate.


And I only kick AS NEEDED.

:) Some need it more than others. 'Sall I'm sayin'.

Ruthy, laughing in upstate NY

CandaceCalvert said...

Ah, what a wonderful post, Carol--and SO spot on about what this writing community is really about: encouragement, lifting folks up. Our readers AND our fellow writers. I was just thinking about that "word for the New Year" idea recently, and I figure my best word for 2013 would be "Connection." To strive be be more connected with God, family, friends, community, readers, and with my fellow writers and publishing professionals. YOU, dear Carol, are a connection I treasure:talent, tenacity, energy, heart, and spirit in one amazing package. Thank you for this post and for all that you do to encourage (and entertain! Oh, honey, you do!)all of us.
And let's plan another coffee with Beth, okay?


Carol Moncado said...

Beth - my sweet friend! You were so encouraging to me last year when I needed it so badly! You were a large part of the reason I was able to [mostly] laugh off only half my face working. Coffee on Friday this year?

Melissa - exactly! None of them have written me off yet, though I wonder how close some of them have come ;). I get so excited when I ACTUALLY KNOW SOMETHING and can help someone else.

Jodi - One day I'd like to feel like I know enough to offer to judge a contest. That day, I fear, is far, far away.

Pepper! My spicy friend!! You have been a Paul in my life. And a Barnabas. More than you'll ever know. Heart you!

Lindsey - I think we all feel that way, especially at first. I hope that one day I don't feel like that as much as I do now.

Ruthy - It's the chocolate. That's what it is. ;) Is it Pepper that needs the tushy kickin'? Please say it's Pepper and not me ;).

Candy - my sweet friend! [As opposed to Pepper - my spicy friend ;).] You are such an encourager [a Barnabas and a Paul - you're the one who pointed me to ACFW you know ;) - my very first foray into interacting with the Christian fiction writers world - and I'm so so so very glad!] And I'm so glad I can entertain you ;).

We're on for coffee. Now. Where are we on that thumb drive? ;)

Cathy Shouse said...


This is a great post and very helpful to me. Thanks for clearing some things up and saying some things I needed to hear.

Pam Hillman said...

Carol, good stuff. Chip would be proud of you! :)

And..just so everybody knows, Carol was a Paul to me (Timothy) this week giving much-appreciated instruction on the fine nuances of fb friendships vs. fb page likes.

Thanks, Paul!

Joanne Sher said...

LOVING this post, Carol. LOVING it. I wanna be all of them - but yeah, sometimes I feel like I'm a Timothy for WAY too long. Thank you!

Jeanne T said...

Carol, what a truly beautiful post. I have felt like a Timothy so many more times on this writing journey than I've felt like a Paul. The great thing about Timothy in the Bible is he was teachable; that's why Paul invested time and energy in him.

I wouldv'e given up on writing months ago if I hadn't had friends who acted as Barnabas' and Pauls' in my life--speaking truth and encouragement in the needed doses. I'm learning it's okay to be a Timothy. God will also give me those opportunities to be a Barnabas and a Paul in the lives of others.

I loved this glimpse into your heart. Thanks for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

Ha.So if she's the nice one...I'm the...???????

Anonymous said...

Thanks for making the pictures small.

Great post, Carol. We all walk the same path, just at different times.

Kristy Cambron said...

Carol ~ Just so you know, I think we've had Paul-Barn-Timothy moments of glory in our friendship! ; ) I love the journey that we each get to take together in this industry, supporting and learning, praising and growing together. The pictures are a wonderful jumping off point to show what it's like when you really can bond with others who - let's be honest - they just "get" you. (I was trying to explain this to someone the other day, that when you're with others in ACFW, they don't mind if you walk around talking to the characters in your head. This is actually a quite normal, really.)

For all of the Paul-Barn-Timothy combo folks out there (like me!), I'm glad we all have each other and the Savior that draws us closer to Him.

Thanks for blessing us with this post today!

Stacey said...

One of the best blog posts I have read in a while. Great job, Carol!

Susan Anne Mason said...

Hi Carol,

What a lovely post! I think you know more than you think. I would totally trust you to judge a contest!

So refreshing to hear that other people think like me. Sometimes I feel very alone way up here in the cold North with no ACFW chapters here. My greatest hope is that one day I can help another struggling writer and piggy-back them over some of the hurdles I've had to learn the hard way!

It's great the way God puts the perfect people in your path when you need them!

Thanks for the lift!


Pepper said...

When I read your comment I wanted to start singing "We are family" :-)
I love how we all DO have something to share with each other! You certainly do that with so many people. Encourage and share!

Pepper said...

GREAT thoughts.
When we're willing, God uses us to be more than what we think we are!
He's so cool that way :-)

Pepper said...

Are you saying Carol was bossy?
(whispering) Tell the truth, Pam ;-)

Pepper said...

You are a SUPER encourager with so much to share! You've been such a blessing to us here at the ALley

Pepper said...

Oh Jeanne,
THAT's a clencher!
"He was teachable".
EXACTLY!!! Love it!

Christina Rich said...

Love, love, love this, Carol! And boy if I didn't hear Ruthy's voice interjected with that sweetie comment. A tad bit scary if you ask me. *g*

Carol Moncado said...

Pam - Now that you mention it, I do think I remember someone telling me Chip talks about this regularly. And I'm so glad I could help! I do know something about some stuff on Facebook anyway ;).

And if you haven't read Pam's new release Claiming Mariah, you should. It's awesome!

Joanne - I'm so glad I'm not the only one!

Jeanne - I've given up lots of times ;). I think most of us have. God gives us those people for that very reason.

Tina - I think I will plead the 5th... ;)

Kristy! I am so glad God's brought you into my life to do life with! I <3 you, my sweet friend!

Stacey - I'm so thankful for you! And thank you for helping me catch the hard to understand places in here!

Sue - thank you for the kind words, my friend! I'm so glad we have the Internet so people like you who aren't geographically close to other writers can make this journey a little less lonely! :D

Thanks to Pepper and the AlleyCats for welcoming me with such open arms and to all of you for stopping by! I do hope to come back some other time!

Penny said...

Although I am not a writer I am seldom short on words to share - written or spoken - but so often when I read the things you write I sometimes feel so overwhelmed (in a good way!) and impressed that I can only think "WOW" and "what a gift". Without you even realizing Carol, you have a way of writing that resonates with the truth in each of us - even if we didn't know it before or were afraid to tell others - and I am so proud to know you and be your friend!

God has His hand on your future and by spending time with these teachers, these encouragers, these learners, you are destined to become EXACTLY who He plans for you to be!

Love you ;)