I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Time for Everything Under Heaven

I love the beginning of Ecclesiastes Chapter 3:

1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Life is a series of seasons. Some seasons are longer than others. Some are pleasant, while others cannot end soon enough. Some we walk through with earthly companions. Others we stand alone, unable to lean on anyone but the Creator himself. And although we can sometimes take it for granted, God is by our side every step of the way.

Throughout life’s journey we learn, we grow, and although it’s painful we can come out victorious by holding onto the Life-Giver, the one that gives us grace and mercy. Our God, our Savior, our Friend.

The characters in our stories need to go through those challenges as well. They need to walk through the valleys, then rise above their circumstances. The three Ds (Denial, Destruction, and Devastation), take their life deep into the dark valley, through the seasons of weeping, mourning, or death. But like God holds our hand and helps us rise up as winners, our characters should find their faith and be champions too, rising up to dance, to heal, to be at peace.

While writing, we can use our emotions, draw from the painful times in our lives, the times that gave us the greatest joy, or our physical experiences - the seasons of our life.

Now it’s your turn: What instances in your own life have you used in a story you’ve written? How did you have the hero/heroine come out victorious?

Jennie Atkins


  1. I started writing my first book as a result of a desire to share through fiction the lessons we learned while my father battled cancer. God taught us so much about faith during that time.

    I've also incorporated some of the fun and silly things that have happened in my life. As you state, there is a time to laugh too.

    Thank you for this reminder today!

  2. In my current WIP, my hero learns there's a time to mourn, but then there's a time to dance again.

    Great post, Jennie! I love that passage in Ecclesiates.

  3. Great post, Jennie! Hmm...what instances have I used from my own life in a story? Well, have I told you about that scene in my book where Georgia drives a tractor into the ditch...?? Okay, just kidding, I haven't done that. But I have played Tarzan in a hay mow and climbed up a silo - both included...:)

    A little more seriously, my heroine struggles with wanting to plan and control each situation in her life...and yeah, she might've inherited that from her creator. :) But she and I learned together, through the writing of the book, about letting go and taking steps forward without always knowing the end result.

  4. I loved your post, Jennie! :) Thanks for the reminder that our characters need to endure and emerge victorious through struggles. :) Hopefully, I do the same, trusting my Creator. :)

    Hmmm, my heroine deals with rejection issues. And yes, that is something I have had to work through too. :) Thanks for sharing today!

  5. This was a fabulous post! I think that sums up the whole reason why we write inspirational fiction--to show flawed characters overcoming obstacles in their lives. I write a series with a character who struggles with patience. I can identify with him. He does a lot of ridiculous things to try and hurry up everything in his life. Been there done that. :) Thanks for a great post.

  6. I love this post, from photo to Scripture passage to your question.
    In my WIP, my heroine is jumping ahead of God--not that I would ever do that!! She thinks the hardest thing, the most challenging thing has to be God's will--the whole "Of course God would send me to Africa" syndrome. I've learned sometimes God's will is right where we are, right now. No change required.

  7. Christine,
    I love real life stories, they really can hit the heart, because like you the writer has experienced the pain, sorry, as well as the opposite end of the spectrum.

  8. Pat,
    Your character has overcome his pain and is now victorious! Isn't that what its all about?

  9. Melissa,
    I love your humor - it comes out in everything you write! Somehow I do picture driving a tractor into the ditch, but laughing about it all the way! ;-)

  10. Jeanne, In all things we can trust God, but we can also show that to our readers. Isn't that great?

  11. Jessica,
    I so agree that writing inspirational fiction has the power to transform lives. I have experienced that very thing from a number of books myself. I hope one day my writing can reach out to others in the same way.

  12. Beth,
    My son took that photo while on Army maneuvers in Nevada at sunrise. I was writing this post when he showed it to me - it was so perfect I had to have it!

  13. Great post, Jennie! Like me, my characters learn there's a time to weep and a time to laugh. We all go on living again. Thanks for the timely post!

  14. Beautiful and profound, Jennie, plus I know you have personally recently walked this. Thanks and God bless you.