By Donna Schlachter

At the recent ACFW conference, I attended a continuing education class by Karen Ball. Karen is a firecracker — both in her teaching style and in her personality. Rabbit trails she runs, but somehow manages to get her point across. In these classes, she actually had someone in the class keep track of her points so they could steer her back on course after she ran a tangent. Too funny!

At one point in this track, which was titled “Writing that Sings”, Karen asked us to think about what we write. Not our genre or time period, not the tagline for our website or the elevator pitch for our book, but overall, what do we write.

So here’s the question for you: what do you write? For example, Kim Vogel Sawyer writes about broken people finding healing in the arms of a loving God. Sure, her tagline is gentle stories of hope, but if you look at her characters and plots, all of her characters are broken.

As I considered each of my books, I came to the realization that all of my characters are experiencing second chances — through remarriage, through reconciliation, through overcoming their past mistakes, through overcoming their circumstances. Doesn’t matter which book I consider or even which short story I look at.

So I came up with this: I write stories about second chances from a God who is bigger than our past.

I challenge you this week to think about each story you have written, are writing, or are thinking about writing, and ask: what one sentence describes what I write?

Why is this important? I’m not trying to button-hole you into a particular kind of story, but I believe, as Karen Ball said, when you understand what you write, you’ll see your own personal walk and relationship with the Lord.

My stories of second chances from a God who is bigger than my past is right on. God has given me second chances and second-second changes many times.

While our stories aren’t supposed to be autobiographical, they do convey our Christian worldview. The Lord has brought each one of us through a unique set of circumstances and equipped us with a unique set of gifts and callings, and that unique combination gives us the story of our life, carefully woven into a story others can receive, a story that points them to a loving God who can take the reader’s broken story and weave it into a beautiful tapestry.

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