Getting Help

A while back a FB friend suggested a story idea. I loved it! But decided to put it off–relegate it to third place on my “must-write” list. God had other plans and sparked a passion and a swirl of plot ideas. Knowing this would be a tough story to write, one that would take intensive research to do well, I prayed for confirmation. I received it, along with help. Extensive help, and on Wednesday I spent almost four hours picking the brain of a medical professional with the same job as my heroine.

While she began to share her story and experiences, I began to see why God wanted me to write this novel. If done well, it will be a powerful tale of grace during extreme suffering, of hope amidst despair, and of good brought out of evil.

If done poorly ….

Last night, after watching a sitcom on a topic relevant to my story, pen in hand, spiral notebook quickly filling, I got frustrated. The phrase, “Write what you know,” wouldn’t leave me alone. What do I know about medicine and hospital rooms? Why dive into a story that could very well take over a year to research? One that could easily lead to failure if God doesn’t provide continual understanding and aid?

Because I believe God’s in it, and although He promises to lead us, I don’t believe the journey’s always easy.

But He ALWAYS provides people to help us along the way. That’s the part that continues to amaze me. In June I wrote a duel-setting story about a news anchor, an El Salvador orphan, and an El Salvador English teacher/translator. Three subjects I know very little about. Two chapters in, I considered dropping it. Too much research, and what if I got it wrong? But God was faithful. He connected me with a news anchor, with people living in El Salvador who could answer questions, with a critique partner knowledgable on foreign settings, with another critique partner knowledgable on medicine. (My hero’s father had a medical issue.) And He carried me through.

So now I’m embarking on another, and this one’s my hardest yet, but I’ve got the memory of God’s help with my past novel to spur me on. I’m also beginning to see sprinklings of help, of the body of Christ coming beside me to offer information, to do beta-reads, all those necessary things we writers hate to ask for but need to find. Which reminds me, even in a solitary career like writing, God still wants us connected, as a body. Interdependent, working together to make Him known.

I’m starting to see Proverbs 11:25 in action. “… he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” It’s a beautiful cycle only God could work out. One author helps another, who helps another, who helps another.

Where are you in the cycle? At any given moment, you should occupy two positions—that of helper and helpee. Are you letting God surround you with helpers? Who are you leaning on? Are you letting Him use you to bless someone else? Who are you helping? Writing must be a give-and-take, a community effort. Because the body extends beyond the walls of our church.

Join God’s circle, friend!



About Jennifer Slattery

Novelist and speaker Jennifer Slattery, also writing as Jen Pheobus, uses humor, grace, and truth to inspire God's children to live abundant, Christ-centered lives. She does content editing for Firefly, a southern fiction imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, and is a regular contributor to; Internet Cafe Devotions; Faith, Friends and Chocolate; and manages the social media for Takin’ it to the Streets, a ministry that serves Omaha’s working poor and homeless. She’s placed in numerous writing contests and her work has appeared in numerous compilations, magazines, and e-zines.

Posted on February 10, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. So true! Writing can be very lonely if we do not stay in community.

  2. Such a great post, Jen. I do believe I’m in both places currently – not just in writing, but in LIFE.

  3. Thank you for writing this piece for it strikes at a common dilemma or maybe fear. What God has placed on our hearts to write might seem overwhelming at first, but as you found, confirmation starts and with it, a host of supporting staff. Good for you and good for the literary world for mutual support. I have found the same, great Christian people stepping up with a Word as I have done for others. Keep the momentum going. In Christ, Terry

  4. That’s awesome, Terry! I can’t wait to see the end result! From what I’ve read from your comments, it sounds like you’re working on an intriguing story!

    • Thanks for your friendship and encouragment. I praise God for the people he brings through my life. Yesterday at work, a mew employee sat down at my table, obviously in distress. He noticed my writing papers which I had out for review during my lunch break. He looked sssooo lost and in need of a Word. Fortunately I was able to share with him, all of the Spirit, about my explosive Christian Fiction, how God led the characters to th Lord. Wait for this…, it turns out he used to go to the same little small town church in Cumberland, Wisconsin that Leann and went to at that time. He was a little boy at the time in our club program, but now seemed a bit lost from the Lord. Hopefully his interest in God’s Word will help him. That is and always will be the focus of my writing, – For Him, to seek and to save those that are lost, and to help Christians in need to worship in Spirit and Truth. Let not the darkness reign!
      In Christ Terry Palmer

      • That’s a wonderful story, Terry! What is also motivating is that you are utilizing your “off” times to pursue the dream God has given you. Many say they want to write, but they aren’t willing to give up their lunch, or their tv, or other things they do during their discretionary time.

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