Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Are You Lighting the World? How About Your Stories?

photo by sommai
"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." -Jesus (John 8:12)

This is the second "I AM" statement by Jesus and it is one that we have all heard before. It is one that we gloss over, because we know it and believe it. But have we really looked at it for what it is?

Light was the first thing God created. It was necessary not because God needed to see, but because the earth and all that was created on it needed the light for life. It gave warmth. It gave the plants needed nutrients. It even gives humans needed vitamins to keep us healthy (Vitamin D!)

And what is darkness? It is the absence of light. When we follow the light of the world, Jesus, we don't walk in the darkness, because His light dispels the darkness.

When exposed to the light, we see ourselves for who we are and the darkness in us flees. We see the life of His light and become lanterns for His light to shine through. Or you can look at it like we are mirrors, reflecting the light of Jesus for others to see. Whether we are vessels or mirrors to His light, we are to shine for Jesus in this world.

A Note To Writers:

As a writer in the CBA market, we write to glorify God. The words we put on the page should ultimately let the light of Jesus shine through. Whether it is through redeeming a rogue, softening a hardened heart, or saving the life of a sinner, your stories should always reflect the grace and mercy of God through Jesus. 

How are you letting the light of the world shine through your manuscripts? How are you weaving the light of life throughout your stories?  

This post is brought to you by
 Sherrinda Ketchersid

Sherrinda is a minister's wife and mother to three giant sons and one gorgeous daughter. A born and bred Texan, she writes historical romance filled with fun, faith, and forever love.


Beth K. Vogt said...

I like the way you think, Sherrinda. (Not the first time I've thought this!)
One of the ways I attempt to have God's light shine through my novels is by asking God, "If these imaginary people were real, what would you say to them?"
It may sound hokey, but it helps me discover truth, His truth, and then weave it into the story.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Good comment, Beth.

I learned to choose a theme verse FIRST. This verse will, kept prominent by the computer screen will help keep the book on track with a focus on God.

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Oh Beth! Sometimes the way I think is kinda scary! Just sayin'. :) But thank you for your kind words, my friend. You are sweet.

And I love your way of incorporating the light of Jesus by asking that question! Seriously, girl, you are smart! I am putting that one in my repertoire.

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Hey Mary! Yours is a great idea too!!! I knew some people had theme verses, but to have it before your eyes at all times is so smart!

I love these ideas! Keep them rolling!

Pepper said...

YAY! Great reminder, Sherrinda!
I just finished writing a scene last night where my "Pharisee" hero realizes his self-righteous attitude, so instead of comparing himself to others, he compares himself to Christ.
Yep...nice and humbling!!!
Those are some of my favorite scenes to write (along with kissing scenes) because of the luminescence involved! WOWZERS!
When God shines into our lives so brightly it brings to 'light' our hidden darkness...YEAH! I don't like it. I don't want it. But He know when I NEED it

And showing that reality in our characters helps share his truth to others too.

I use a 'spiritual' song as a way to keep me focused on the light behind the story. But I've used a verse as well.

Lisa Jordan said...

Sherrinda, great reminder! I'm so thankful for God's light and for His Light. Both chase away the darkness that can shroud us in fear.

I like to write about characters going through real challenges and using Truth and Light to help guide them to their happily ever afters. I always ask God to use my characters to teach me so I can weave those teachings into the story in order to reach out to my readers.

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Oh Pepper, I love the idea of a song to keep me focused! Knowing you, you probably write a song for every story, don't you???? :)

I love it!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Lisa, I've never thought about characters teaching ME something in order to weave truths into my story. What a fascinating way to do it, Lisa! Thank you for that!

Unknown said...

Sherrinda, this is a very good tip and is in fact my vision and the reason to write in the first place. Why else would we do it? To become rich and famous? We ultimately do it because we want to help others know more of Jesus through our writings, to receive more grace, more of His presence and guidance in their lives. Hopefully, to share the wisdom we've gained throughout the years (sometimes at the school of hard knocks) and prevent other people from making the same mistakes we've made.

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Beautiful post, Sherrinda!

I think a lot like Beth. I imagine the past the characters are trying to overcome and I know there is forgiveness. I imagine what they are walking through in the present and I know there is grace. I imagine them looking forward to an uncertain future and I know that there is hope. These things never change. And whether I'm putting myself into a fictional characters shoes, or working through those struggles myself, I know the truth in every circumstance is in His love. I use that truth of his faithfulness to guide the spiritual elements.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, Sherrinda, this is a good question, but not an easy one. I love Beth's answer, but I think when I'm trying to show God's light through the characters I write, so much depends on that particular character. How they would respond or reply to the moment... and then their regret or joy. If I've really developed a background for them, having faith (old or new!!!) shine with them and through them depends on what I've put them through.

I know how I would respond, so the idea of having the characters teach us (like Lisa said) is true. I don't think of it as teaching, but as staying true to character from beginning to end. But the idea is the same, we're just using different "writer-speak".

Except if they start as a snippy moron with chips on their shoulders, I want to lessen their burden....

And watch them try to resist falling in love!!! I LOVE THE FALLING IN LOVE PART!!!


Great post. I came over because of Pep's Austen guys (loved it!!!) and was enthralled by our post.

Just lovely.

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

I sure do love your heart, Carina! With a mission such as yours, I know God's blessings will be all over your writing!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Amy, I love how you said it...

"whether I'm putting myself into a fictional characters shoes, or working through those struggles myself, I know the truth in every circumstance is in His love."

Yes, Yes, and Yes! The truth...the light...is love...His love. And it abounds throughout the world. Thank you for that word!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Sigh, Ruth, I love the falling in love part too!!!

And you are right in that the way we shine the light through our characters depends on the actual character and what we put them through. So many things determine how the light shines...or dims...all at our hand, of course.

Thanks so much for your insight. You are one smart lady!

Unknown said...

Right now I'm finding it heart to concentrate on my novel, because I log on to Facebook and I find so much need that I can't help reading and commenting on people's posts and I have to disconnect the chat at times because people come to me with their great afflictions. Women whose hearts have waxed cold as a result of prolonged discouragement. Women struggling in their marriages with violent husbands. Women who have been cheated unexpectedly and treacherously. And men who have their male role completely distorted by the lies of the enemy.

I will use all such struggles in my writing, which will not be mere lighthearted romances but stories of deep, deep pain and the redemptive power of God's love. Stories of heartbreaking hurts and the healing only Jesus can bring.

I know a thing or two about pain... I have a disabled brother, a dad who went bankrupt twice with two different businesses, and a mum who has been praying for 40 years for the family. I've personally been betrayed, despised, left aside, rejected and slandered against. JESUS knows a lot more about such things, as the Man of Sorrows He is.

My heart is the result of God's grace taking each and every pain in my life and the lives of my loved ones and turning then into precious jewels.

Not sure my debut novel will be a bestseller. But God is turning the story of MY LIFE into a true success story, by giving me grace and mercy every single day.

Please pray for me. I'm not so important, but my message is... The vessel doesn't matter, but the content... The revelations I have received, nothing outside what the Bible says, but the depth of the Holy Spirit's teaching... I really hope God will remove the vile and that only the precious will remain. Only Jesus in me. I'm just Little, Little Beloved (that's the meaning of my names).