Use the Pain (What I Hope to Remember When Writing Christian Fiction)

Alert! This is a post dealing with religion. If that bothers you, STOP READING!

A loved one called me Jezebel the day I wore red lipstick to church. I was a young single mother at the time, so I found the idea of my red lipstick paving the road to hell quite hilarious. At least that’s what I said out loud. Inside, I was crying. Fortunately, a ridiculous comment like that didn’t shake my faith. Pissed me off, but it didn’t make me turn my back on God. I figure comments like that have shaken others’ faith. Funny how people like that think they’re glorifying God. I think Jesus would have something to say about that. The Jesus I know was about something far bigger than red lipstick. Don’t even get me started on the number of times I’ve heard people talk about tattoos being of the devil. Or how drug addicts are a product of their own bad choices so we just need to leave them to go to hell one hit at a time.

Over the years people have done a lot to ruin the words and actions of Jesus for non-believers. That thought is directly behind my decision to write Christian fiction in addition to the other genres I write in. The Jezebel comment and the anger and hurt it caused led directly to Grace is Enough (out now) and Letting Go (in the works). I held those emotions back for so long, I didn’t even realize they were simmering in my brain, just waiting for a chance to break out. Funny thing, though; even when I started writing, I held the pain back. I didn’t let myself feel completely. Someone once told me writing is like bleeding on the page. They’re right. If you want to write, you have to be willing to feel everything. Use the pain. And then heal it with your art. I did.

Grace is Enough (summer 2011 as Prodigal) is available now on Amazon. Get it here. Find more of my books here.

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2 responses to “Use the Pain (What I Hope to Remember When Writing Christian Fiction)

  1. This is so true. I’ve been on the giving (shame on me) and receiving end of the Pharisaical comments from fellow “Christians.” Reminds me of a book title I once read, “Christians are the only ones who Shoot their wounded.”

    I also am in complete agreement that unless you’re willing to bleed on the page, you’re writing will lack – something. I recently wrote a story for my nonfiction writing workshop and I cried for the entire 45 minutes or whatever that it took for me to type it out. It was about my grandmother, who influenced me more than any person other than Jesus Christ, who passed away in December 2009. Now I can talk about her with a smile. Do I still miss her? Yes. But the thought of her doesn’t make me want to burst into tears anymore. I attribute that cathartic writing session for the change.

    • Sharon, writing is the best therapy!
      I’ve also been guilty of being judgmental. One of my friends said it’s a shame to see christians gleefully say “You’re going to hell” about topics as if that weren’t the most horrible thing in the world. Like christianity is Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket or something. I hope my books help keep me in line there, too. One of the college ministers I served with said we need to always try to make sure we aren’t getting in the way of someone else’s walk with God. I think that’s key.

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