Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Let God Use Your Trials to Make You a Better Writer

“The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes the light.” -Joseph Campbell, author of The Hero's Journey

Have you had black moments in your own life? The question is pretty much rhetorical.

We can fiddle with degrees but the fact is we've all gone through hard things.

The big C word. Job loss. Miscarriage. Loss of a loved one. Nasty breakups. A myriad of health issues.

I could go on and on, our trials are varying, though heartbreak seems to speak a single language.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.-1 Peter 4:12

Peter says its not weird that we go through these things but God wants to use them to strengthen us. I believe he can use these times to make us a better writer.


  • God uses our words to preach the gospel to ourselves.
Paul Tripp, author, pastor and counselor, says: No one is more influential in your life than you are. Because no one talks to you more than you do.

We are all talking to ourselves, but what are we saying?

The first novel I wrote my character struggled to find freedom from fear. I knew her struggles because anxiety is an area where I am still in process. As God speaks truth into my lies, light is shined on the darkness in my heart.

As I walked my heroine's road, I learned so much about myself. God glared a spotlight on my own soul, allowing me to see my need to see and tell myself truth.

As I told my character the truth about what it meant to walk in freedom from that fear, I was preaching the gospel to myself.

Anything that changes our soul will affect our writing life.

  • God uses our trials to help us with our character's black moments. And in turn, as we walk through their black moments with them, we find the light in our own times of darkness.
What have your characters struggled with: depression, grief, loneliness, or anger?

Is your character angry at themselves? The world? God?

We've all experienced all of these emotions and faith struggles.

After a trial, redemption is found when we share our stories. After my father died, telling the story was healing. But it became the most life-giving when I was able to share the narrative with others who were grieving. When friends lost parents, it was a "me, too" story.

This empathetic tale-bearing was ultimately grace-filled for both parties.

What is the story you need to share? Sometimes God may call you to tell it in person, other times He may use it to heal another soul u
sing the written word.

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”   -Brene Brown

Writing real and raw can be painful, but those ultimately will be the words that speak truth and life.

As we go through trials, instead of putting our guards up, we need to be vulnerable...both on the written page and in "real time."

Through these tests, we can understand the difficulties our characters endure.

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”   -Brene Brown in DARING GREATLY

Are you willing to show up and be seen on the page?

Julia Reffner writes words of redemption in both the nonfiction and women's fiction genres. She is a writer and reviewer for LIBRARY JOURNAL magazine and a devotional writer at WONDERFULLY WOVEN. She lives in central Virginia with her husband, two children, and three ragdoll cats.

1 comment:

Meghan M. Gorecki said...

Whew. Julia. This post hit home. As so often this amazing blog does. God is so good--driving the truths such as these deeper into His reluctant, stubborn daughter's head time after time.
Thank you for this.