Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Writers Encourage Other Writers

by Lucinda Secret McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

“Cindy, God has given you a gift of writing and it is your duty to write for Him!” (Elisabeth Elliot in a personal conversation)

Imagine being only 26-years-old and hearing those words from such a respected mentor, international speaker and author of 30 books. I had already felt a nudging from God on this path, but Elisabeth’s words helped confirm and encourage me further. Needless to say, I was a bit daunted, but also energized to pursue more training and opportunity (this occurred when I was heading off to Wheaton Graduate School of Communication after graduating from Gordon-Conwell Seminary.)

No one is more amazed than I that today—many years later—I can look back at my published work, by God’s grace: 13 books authored, 30+ books as contributing author and articles published in more than 50 magazines.

I write because I can’t not write… (yes, I know that’s a double negative, but it’s also true). Writers write. It’s the way we filter life. We don’t always write for publication. Sometimes what we ‘write’ in our minds never makes it to paper or computer, but the stories are there all the same. 

As my years increase, so does my wisdom in believing that knowing and telling our stories is perhaps one of the most important ways of participating in furthering God’s Kingdom here on earth. So I am perfectly content at this point to say that I am, indeed, a Storyteller.

“My story is important not because it is mine, God knows, but because if I tell it anything like right, the chances are you will recognize that in many ways it is also yours… it is precisely through these stories in all their particularity, as I have long believed and often said, that God makes Himself known to each of us more powerfully and personally. If this is true, it means that to lose track of our stories is to be profoundly impoverished not only humanly but also spiritually.” (Frederick Buechner in Telling Secrets)

Writing is a discipline and only happens when we deliberately make room in our lives to pursue it. My entire life has been filled with people and activity and ministry and drama; and yet I have somehow managed to insert my writing amidst the chaos. Rarely have I had the luxury to finish a book deadline in complete solitude. Those images of authors working in a cottage by the sea totally undisturbed are not my reality. Most of the time we writers are simply trying to squeeze our craft in between all the other responsibility and serendipity that come our way...

I love what one of my ‘writer heroes’ says: “It will not surprise you if I say that I think being a writer is a fine thing to be. Except for when you actually have to write, of course. Then it is about as exciting as washing dishes. Which is the other thing I do a lot of at my house… Some days I travel somewhere to lead a retreat or speak at a conference. Some days I write letters and answer phone calls as though I were an actual business person, and some days I teach the class at the local high school. I do laundry in between paragraphs on Tuesdays… I wear a lot of hats. Just like everyone else. Some days I feel like a poet and some days I feel like a housekeeper, and some days I cannot tell the difference. I expect most of us feel that way sometimes. Life is made up of a lot of good stuff and a lot of bad stuff, too, and in between you have to clean your room.” (Robert Benson in A Good Life)

This week I am privileged to serve on the faculty of the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in California. I know that I will be enlarged through both formal and informal times of teaching and helping writers discover more creative ways to tell their unique story within the greater Kingdom Story. It is my 'sweet spot'. Doing what God created me to do. Encourage. Speak. Empower. Challenge. Tell Stories.

Now I'm the one telling that 26-year-old I meet that God has given her a gift of writing and it is her duty to write for Him...

So I will Keep Writing.

And I will also Keep Encouraging Writers. Trusting God for the fruit...

Writers encourage other writers - @LucindaSMcDowell on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

"Writing is a discipline & only happens when we deliberately make room in our lives to pursue it." @LucindaSMcDowell (Click to Tweet)

Lucinda Secrest McDowell, M.T.S., is passionate about embracing life — both through deep soul care from drawing closer to God, as well as living courageously in order to touch a needy world. A storyteller who engages both heart and mind, she delights in weaving grace and mercy into ordinary life situations. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, she is the author of 13 books and contributing author to 30+ books. Her books include the award-winning, Dwelling Places (2017 Christian Retailing Best Award for Devotional) , Ordinary Graces Live These Words Refresh! and Role of a Lifetime.  A member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA), Lucinda received Mt. Hermon “Writer of the Year” award and guest blogs monthly for The Write Conversation.Whether co-directing  "reNEW ~ retreat for New England Writing,"  pouring into young moms, or leading a restorative day of prayer, she is energized by investing in people of all ages. Lucinda’s favorites include tea parties, good books, laughing friends, ancient prayers, country music, cozy quilts, musical theatre, and especially her family scattered around the world doing amazing things.  Known for her ability to convey deep truth in practical and winsome ways, she writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and blogs weekly at http://www.encouragingwords.net/ 


  1. Cindy, Thank you for the reminder to trust God for the fruit. May God continue to use all of us to further His kingdom. I'm praying for you my sweet sister in Christ.

  2. Ms. Cindy, I love how you phrased; "We are all part of the Kingdom Story." What a blessing it is to know we are not alone in our journey of writing. Much like fellowship within the body of Christ itself, we writer's must share God's gifts with each other through encouragement, instruction, and sometimes just well-timed prayer. Thank you for always being willing to share your gifts with others. God's blessings ma'am.

  3. Keep encouraging us through your writing, Cindy!

  4. "...knowing and telling our stories is perhaps one of the most important ways of participating in furthering God’s Kingdom here on earth." I love this quote. I know God has called me to write - in a lot of different ways. Oh, that I might keep on doing what He has called me to do!

  5. I love this post, Cindy. Thanks for always encouraging us with your gift. Blessings and love. Part of the Kingdom Story...