Monday, September 06, 2010

Our Guest ~ Rebecca Blevins

Rebecca Blevins lives in Northwest Missouri with her husband James (also a writer), four children, and a protective dog. She homeschools her children, carves out time for writing, and loves to read romance, fantasy, suspense. . . all kinds of books except evil ones. Rebecca is currently enamored of her new love—Zumba classes. She enjoys TV shows Lie to Me, White Collar, and The Office, all in the name of research. Though to be truthful, The Office is more for medicinal purposes, as she requires a dose of laughter every now and then.

You can visit Rebecca's blog here.

~ ♥ ~

I didn't get serious about my writing until recently. A few weeks would go by here and there without me adding anything to my work-in-progress.

A couple of weeks ago, during a typical day, I had
a strong desire to work on my novel. With my attention pulled so many places all day, it's a normal thing for me not to feel the urge to create until I'm sitting in front of the computer. But throughout that particular day, as the hours passed, the craving to write grew more intense. Every time I thought about sitting down with my laptop to paint pictures with words, a thrill of anticipation raced through me.

Once my older c
hildren were in bed and the baby sat playing on the floor, I opened my laptop, placed my fingers on the keys, and let them fly.

Usually when I’m that excited, the story that ap
pears is pretty decent first draft material. This time, even though I had felt even more inspired than usual, what came out was absolute hooey.

I sat back in dis
gust and reread what I had written. "This is crap!" I exclaimed. (Sorry, that's the extent of my potty mouth. Promise.)

I sat back and went on a quiet, little rant insi
de my head. Ok, I've been feeling like I should write. I know this is a talent that Heavenly Father wants me to develop, so why would I get the gentle nudging that this is a good time to do it, then have nothing of any value come out?

A thought came into my mind. What about the s

I'd been awful at remembering to read my scrip
tures, especially this past year after my youngest child was born. I'd been trying to remember to get back in the habit. I felt abashed as I realized that if Heavenly Father gave me this talent and wants me to develop it; I should be giving Him what He requires of me first. I had prayed before writing on occasion and it always helped. Why should this time be any different?

Right away, a
specific chapter from the Book of Mormon popped into my head: Ether, chapter twelve. For a minute, I dismissed the thought because Ether twelve is one of the most popular chapters in the Book of Mormon. So having that particular passage jump into my thoughts didn’t feel like anything out of the ordinary.

When the thought wouldn’t leave my mind, instead of opening my Book of Mormon to the last place I r
ead, I opened to Ether chapter twelve and began reading. When I came to the following verses, I paused in shock—they spoke to my spirit as if they had been written specifically for me, especially the parts I have underlined:

23 And I said un
to him: Lord, the Gentiles will mock at these things, because of our weakness in writing; for Lord thou hast made us mighty in word by faith, but thou hast not made us mighty in writing; for thou hast made all this people that they could speak much, because of the Holy Ghost which thou hast given them;

24 And thou hast made us that we could write but little, because of the awkwardness of our hands. Beho
ld, thou hast not made us mighty in writing like unto the brother of Jared, for thou madest him that the things which he wrote were mighty even as thou art, unto the overpowering of man to read them.

25 Thou hast also made our words powerful and great, even that we cannot write them; wherefore,
n we write we behold our weakness, and stumble because of the placing of our words; and I fear lest the Gentiles shall mock at our words.I certainly don’t feel like my words are consistently powerful and great, but the weakness part I have down. In those verses, if I substitute ‘us’ for ‘me’, ‘Jane Austen’ for ‘the Brother of Jared’, and ‘general reading public’ for ‘Gentiles’, this scripture sums up my feelings pretty well.

The Lord's reply in verse twenty-seven really spoke to me. I’ve always had a fondness for this scripture, but the verse took on a deeper meaning:

27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

After I closed my scriptures, I said a prayer of thanks and asked for help. Afterward, I looked at my Word document and reread what I’d written earlier. Funny, that's really not as bad as I thought.I began typing again, and wouldn't you know, what came out wasn't absolute hooey. The paragraphs weren’t terrible; the words were usable, and pretty decent to boot.

Not long since then, I decided to become more serious in my writing, which means I have a daily schedule. I get up before the kids awaken, take a shower (most days), then read some of my scriptures and say a prayer before I work on my manuscript. That doesn't mean I’ll never get writer’s block or that a lot of what I write won't need to be scrapped in the long run—it means that I'll move forward with the Lord's help in developing the talent He's given me.

I’m so thankful for what the Heavenly Father taught me that morning. What a priceless realization it has been for me to understand that if I want the Lord’s help with developing this talent (or any others), I need to include Him every single time.

And that, my friends, is a huge lesson I am thankful to have learned.

~ ♥ ~

Thanks, Rebecca, for being our guest today!

If you would like to be our guest, email Connie for information.


Michael Knudsen said...

Very applicable post, Rebeccca, and a perfect place to find inspiration. Many people don't think that writing is a spiritual gift, but I for one can't get the good words rolling without a healthy dose of gratitude. Thanks for taking the time to record your experience.

ali said...

I agree with Michael. Thanks for sharing this Rebecca!

Tristi Pinkston said...

Awesome experience, and thanks for sharing it. It's an important reminder for me to seek the Spirit in everything, and the success will be so much greater.

L.T. Elliot said...

Brilliant post, Rebecca! I've discovered this for myself. =]

Renae W. Mackley said...

A sweet Amen.

kbrebes said...

I like your substitutions, Rebecca. I've also found that my writing flows much smoother after I've been out giving service.

Helmbunch said...

Outstanding, thank you for sharing that with me. I love your writing.

Taffy said...

Thanks for your post today. It was a good reminder for me.

Valerie Ipson said...

I love love this. Thank you for sharing it. I usually plan to read and pray first before writing, but in practice that doesn't always happen. I'm going to make a concerted effort in this area after reading your experience.

Kimberly said...

Beautiful and poignant post. Love it!