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November 2017

The Messiah Series

The Day of His Appearing

November 22, 2017

“For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.” Haggai 2:6,7

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.” Malachi 3:1

“But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:” Malachi 3:2

“And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.” Malachi 3:3


At Christmas we think of that babe in the manger—the peaceful, redemption-bringing, grace and love outpouring, first coming of the Lord Jesus. And yet, one of the longest standing Christmas traditions, Handel’s Messiah, points us not back but forward to the day of His second appearing. While he came to bestow grace and salvation at his first appearing, Handel along with the prophets he was quoting, paint an amazing picture of the power, glory, and judgment which will accompany Christ at His second coming.


The Earth Shaken

Late one night, I lay in bed, nearly asleep when a powerful shuddering shattered the stillness of my bedroom. As though a 70 mph wind and a massive truck had collided with my house at the same time, my bed jolted, the walls groaned, and glass items clattered. Then, everything was still again. At first, I thought I was crazy. Had I imagined it? I knew I hadn’t, but what was it? Where had that one, powerful gust of wind come from? Slowly realization came. That was not wind. That was an earthquake.

It was all over the news the next morning. Everyone was talking about it. We were four hours from the epicenter. Damage here was almost non-existent, but those of us who were awake, who felt it, certainly took notice. How much more will the earth take note when God shakes it in judgment? The small earthquake I experienced will be but a faint trembling in comparison. Handel reminds us that this is the coming of the One in whom we delight. He will come in judgment, but He will come to fill His temple with His glory.


Who Shall Stand

Still, a question rings clear, “Who may abide the day of His coming? And who shall stand when He appeareth?” How do we stand before God who has come to judge the earth as a refiner purifies gold with fire or as a fuller fulls cloth with the miserable methods of his trade?

Fulling was the process by which cloth, especially wool, was purified of pollutants and made thicker. It involved trampling the cloth in a variety of harsh substances, including human urine, until soaps were developed. This was how oils and dirt were cleansed out of the fabric. Then the cloth was hammered so that the barbs of the fibers matted together, like felt, to create greater strength and waterproofing. Fulling was not a pleasant process either for the fuller or for the fabric—but neither is God’s judgment.

As the prophets look forward to the second coming of the Lord they ask, “Who can stand?” Who could ever bear up under the heat of God’s wrath, the treading of His feet, or the blow of His hammer?


He Shall Purify

The goal of both the refiner and the fuller is not to destroy but rather to make clean. This is the goal of the judgment foretold by Haggai and Malachi: To make clean the sons of Levi that they might offer an offering unto the Lord in righteousness. He wants not to crush them but rather to restore the relationship. But how are we made clean? How do we stand not only in the face of His judgment but merely in His presence.


The Hope of Christmas

Without the first coming of the Christ, there is no hope at the second coming of Christ. Without His life, His death, and His resurrection we are in a helpless, hopeless state. There is no redemption. But He did come! He did take our sins upon Himself as He hung on that cross. He bore the wrath of God, the shaking of the earth, the forsaking of the Father, the darkness of death, and the agony of Hell—so that we might be made clean, so that we might stand in HIS righteousness at the day of His appearing and have life through His resurrection.

This, as we have already said more than once, is the hope of Christmas. Not the joy of gifts under the tree and family gathered together around the table. Not the beauty of a snowy world outside our window and lights strung brightly about the neighborhood. Not the sleigh bells or silver bells or jingle bells. Not angles or carols or Christmas pageants, not the Nutcracker or Handle’s Messiah. The Light and Hope and Joy of Christmas is the desire of nations in whom we delight—Christ.


This year, I’m doing something I’ve never done before, completely unplanned. I’m going through Handel’s Messiah and meditating on the Scripture used there. For accountability’s sake, I’ll be sharing it here and on Facebook. If you’d like to join me for this series and other updates, simply fill out the form below.


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If this blog has been a help or encouragement to you, please share it with others.

The Messiah Series

Revealing God’s Glory

November 17, 2017

“And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” Isaiah 40:5

Surprises are one of my favorite parts of Christmas, and revealing the surprise ranks right up there with the surprise itself. Many years ago, I was given tickets to come home from Russia to be with my family for Christmas. It was such a blessing. I only told my brother-in-law who promised to pick me up at the airport so we could surprise the rest of the family. Eventually, because of the timing of the flights, he had to tell my sister, so she wouldn’t wonder why he was sneaking out in the middle of the night. We didn’t tell my parents or my youngest sister.

I arrived at midnight, spent the night with my sister’s family, and the following day we went to look at a house they were considering renting. They took videos and told mom and dad that they would bring them over, so they could see what the house looked like. While they were getting the camera ready to record what was about to happen, I hid in the car. Then I slipped in the front door and walked into the kitchen when they were least expecting it.

I’ll never forget my mom’s wide-eyed reaction. “Rachel! Rachel! Rachel!” she screamed. Then my dad realized what was going on and had a similar reaction, though in a much more subdued manner. We laughed and cried and hugged and laughed some more. But the surprises weren’t over.

The next evening, my sister and her boyfriend came home from Minnesota where they were both attending college. I hid in the bathroom while they drug their suitcases in and while my sister gave my mother yet another surprise, revealing the ring that had so recently been placed on her finger. I waited a moment more as screams and hugs and laughter and tears were all passed around once more. Then I revealed myself, stepping out into the living room and saying, “So, do I get to see the ring?”

My sister jumped or skipped or something. I’m not really sure what you would call it, but she came up off the floor with excitement and then up the stairs for a hug.

What a wonderful Christmas that was. But with all the revealing of those secrets, there was a better Christmas—the first Christmas.

Imagine the surprise of Zacharias, Mary, and Joseph when the angels visited them. Imagine the surprise of Elisabeth when she found she was expecting. Imagine the surprise of the shepherds when they saw the heavenly host and heard the announcement that the Messiah had been born. Imagine the surprise of the wise men as they realized they would see this great King. Imagine the joy of Anna and Simeon. Christ had come and the glory of God had been and was about to be revealed in a way no man had ever seen before.


The Promise of Deliverance

Isaiah chapter forty lays out a beautiful promise for the people of Israel—the promise of deliverance. The hope that in God’s time, He would extend grace to them and they would be set free from those who held them in captivity. But the promise didn’t end there.


The Promise of a Savior

Isaiah’s prophecy looked much further down the road not only to that night in Bethlehem but also to the ministry and sacrifice of Christ. God had already been preparing the way by the time that night came. He’d prepared Mary and Joseph and Zacharias and Elisabeth. He’d prepared the star. He’d ensured there would be a place for the little family in the stable. How amazing that night must have been. That night when the King of the Universe stepped out of Heaven and into this sin-sick world and brought just a little of His glory with Him.


The Glory of His Presence

Imagine the splendor of that night, the amazement of the shepherds, and the awe of Mary who held her son—and yet her God—in her arms. In this lay the glory of that night. Not that a child had been born, but that God had come to earth in a manner which allowed all flesh—all mankind—to see Him. The glory of that night is not that a group of weary shepherds saw a host of angels, but that Emmanuel came. God with us! Oh, the glory of His presence. The glory of a God who in His holiness has every right to turn His back from the wicked hearts of His creation, and yet who chose to walk among us, to comfort us, to heal us, to teach us, to die for us—to forgive us.


The Surety of the Promise

Israel had no cause to doubt the certainty that Isaiah’s prophecy would come true. Not because Isaiah was reliable, although he was, but because this prophecy was without a doubt from the mouth of God. Over and over in the book of Ezekiel God said, “I the Lord have spoken it and will do it.” Here the promise is no less. The glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh will see it and you know it to be true because it is the Word of God. What a promise! What a joy to have a God who can be trusted to such an extent that we need never doubt His promises.

This Christmas let us rejoice in the glory that was revealed that night so long ago. Let us rejoice that God chose to walk among us. Let us rejoice that He is among us still and has promised never to leave us nor to forsake us.


This year, I’m doing something I’ve never done before, completely unplanned. I’m going through Handel’s Messiah and meditating on the Scripture used there. For accountability’s sake, I’ll be sharing it here and on Facebook. If you’d like to join me for this series and other updates, simply fill out the form below.


Don’t Miss the Messiah Series. Sign up below.

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The Messiah Series

Preparing The Way

November 15, 2017

“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:”

Have you ever broken a path for someone? Maybe through the snow, or through underbrush in a forest or, as I once helped do, through stinging nettles that towered above you? It isn’t easy work, but if you’re going to get to your destination, it is necessary. Unless we are wandering aimlessly, there is usually a goal in mind when we break a path. We’re making a way to get somewhere at some specific time for some specific purpose. These verses refer to one such specific time, place, and purpose, but they also can relate to our hearts.

From the context of Scripture, the voice in the wilderness is clearly referring to John the Baptist, preparing the way for Christ and His earthly ministry. John, being virtually the same age as Jesus, obviously was not preparing the way for Christ’s birth, although the events leading up to John’s birth foretold of something amazing to come. Just the same, John was preparing the hearts of the people around Him to see God in the flesh, in the form of Jesus Christ.

This Christmas as we look toward the day when we celebrate His first coming our hearts need to be prepared. Preparation is not always easy. We know that, especially as we consider all the preparation that goes into being ready for the holidays: the cooking, the cleaning, the shopping, the invitations, the juggling of schedules, the going, going, going, and the doing, doing, doing. But the preparation that is needed most is the preparation of our heart because we are preparing to see the glory of the Lord, to dwell upon the miracle of the Christ child who left heaven to live among us and to die for us.


Preparing Ourselves

Preparing our hearts cannot be done in the din of activity. It must be done in the quiet places, even if that quiet place is a busy coffee shop with dozens of other people around or in your minivan as you run from one school event to another. Heart preparation begins in a quiet heart that has stepped away from the cares of the world, submitted its will to the Father, and humbly cried out for the needed preparation.  That receptive heart will be more able to hear the still small voice of the Father as He reveals His glory to us. It prepares to worship, to praise, and to serve others. It is equipped through fellowship with Him to take on His mind and to walk in His steps as we reach out to those around us.


Helping Others Prepare

“Every valley shall be exalted.” Preparing the way includes leveling the road. Often sorrow of heart, discouragements, trials, and disappointments lead our road into deep valleys. Have you ever noticed that the sun sets sooner in the valley? That the glory of its descent is hidden by the towering cliffs around it? Perhaps this Christmas, our part in comforting God’s people is to help lead some out of the valley of discouragement onto the level ground that allows them to see His glory. For some, the great difference needed in their life will only come by the working out of God’s love through the compassion of His people. As we approach this time of keeping our hearts centered on the glory of the Messiah, how can we help those around us out of the valleys that block their view?


When God Must do the Preparation

“Every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.” Not every heart is prepared to enter those quiet places. Not every heart can be prepared by compassion. Pride, resentment, discontent, anger, self-will, depravity, and many other sins cause the heart to swell into a mountain that must be made low. They bend the path and strew its surface with hurdles and stones. Sadly, the chastening, leveling hand of the Lord must prepare some hearts.

This can be painful to watch, and even more painful to endure. For those who watch it is a time to enter into prayer for those we love. For those who find themselves in that place of heavy preparation the answer lies in surrender and repentance—in letting go of those things, which separate us from fellowship with God. We must allow Him to heal the damage we have wrought in our own hearts. It may be painful, but the result will be a way made plain, a view unhindered, a fellowship restored with the King of Glory.


This Christmas season as each day draws us closer to the celebration of His birth let us prepare our hearts to see His glory. Let us allow Him to remove those things that block our view. Let us make a difference in the hearts of others through the comfort He has called us to pour out upon them.


This year, I’m doing something I’ve never done before, completely unplanned. I’m going through Handel’s Messiah and meditating on the Scripture used there. For accountability’s sake, I’ll be sharing it here. If you’d like to join me for this series and other updates, simply fill out the form below.

Don’t Miss the Messiah Series. Sign up below.

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If this blog has been a help or encouragement to you, please share it with others.

Featured Fruitful Living Winter's Prey

The Victory of Living Open-Handed

November 14, 2017

I’m a firstborn, and as such I seek to please, strive to achieve and live purposefully, always put my heart 200% into things that matter, and not only feel failure and rejection acutely but also tend to see the two synonymously. Sound familiar? You don’t have to be firstborn to approach life from this perspective. In fact, you might just have to be an American (man or woman) living in a culture driven by perfection. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Victory, as we will see, is an amazing part of living open-handed.

Our culture thrives on the idea of perfection. Perfect homes, perfect jobs, perfect families— every sphere of life, as Pinterest so clearly shows, is a sphere to be perfected, a badge to be worn. We pursue this perfection with reckless abandon, and then one morning wake up to find that our house is a mess, the car needs new tires, our family is full of stress or maybe even falling apart, our job—well, let’s not even mention that cauldron of stress. From our perspective, we see each area of unattained perfection as a failure. Before long, our thought process shifts, and not only are those things failures but in our minds we are also failures.


A Little of My Story

The day my dad passed away opened the door to a very difficult three and a half years at my house, and even more so in my heart. Life all crashed down around us, and somehow we were meant to survive. Surviving is hard when you can barely breathe through your tears. We knew the only thing to do was to commit things into God’s hands and follow His direction—and I thought I had.

Day after day, I cried out to Him for guidance and provision as I took on the new tasks that now belonged to me. In my head, I was giving each of those things to the Lord, but in my hyper-responsible, perfectionist heart I was watching myself fail to meet needs, reach goals, accomplish tasks, or help others in the way I felt I should. My earthly father was gone, and I felt, in all honesty, that I would never please anyone on this planet ever again. The harder I tried to get everything right, the more I saw my failure.


Damaging Relationships

Enter “well-meaning people” whose job it was to “help” situations. Some of them really were well-meaning people, others were self-seeking (another fruit of our drive for perfectionism). Some of them both believed and even perpetuated lies. Others always found a way to underscore my failure even though their job was to help me out of it. By His great mercy, God removed some of those relationships. He also allowed me to see my need to end other relationships.


The Deeper Problem

Removing the relationships alleviated the constant browbeating and anguish of the external reinforcement of my perceived failures, but it did not change the internal battle. As more failures piled up, a big empty spot grew in my heart. It ate away at my energy, my joy, my hope, even my purpose. It was destructive. Then I was reminded of the freedom of living open-handed, and the strength of living open-handed. But as I opened my hands in surrender and worship, I didn’t realize that something else still lay in my palms, unreleased—my failures.

Why, oh, why would we want to hold onto our failures? What a miserable piece of life to cling to! And yet, we do. We are so set on fixing our failures that we don’t see God holding out His hand, waiting for us to let Him fix them.

I realized this late one night after a day of beating myself up about all the ways I had failed. I realized that in every area where I felt I had failed, no other human bore responsibility. It was all on me. That in itself was the problem. I had failed because I had taken the responsibility on myself.

God has promised to provide for His children. He has promised to guide us with His eye, to teach us to profit, to uphold us, to carry us, to help us in our relationships, to be all that we need. And yet, in my struggle to be responsible, dependable, and everything else I thought I was supposed to be—I saw only my failure in each of the areas where He has promised to be faithful.


The Solution

You cannot walk under the shadow of failure long before it discourages you. Realizing why my heart had been so heavy, and that God wanted my life to succeed in all the areas where I felt I had failed, I decided it was time to empty my hands of that burden.

In I Kings 19, King Hezekiah received a letter from his enemy. The letter was designed to discourage the King and his people. It was designed to convince them that God’s power would not be enough to save them. But Hezekiah did something very wise with that letter. He took it to the house of the Lord, spread it out before God, and said essentially, “Please look at this! This man is seeking to dishonor you. Come to our aid, save us, and do it in a way that all the nations of the world will honor you.”

Hezekiah was dealing with an enemy, so it may be tempting to say, “How does this apply to me?” Simple. When we hold our failures over ourselves, it’s no different than allowing an enemy to live in our heart. The devil doesn’t want us to overcome. He wants us to live in discouragement and failure.

So, like Hezekiah, I only saw one thing I could do with my failures. I grabbed a piece of scrap paper, and I wrote down the areas where I felt I had failed so drastically. Then I presented them to the Lord. I read through them in prayer, confessing that I had messed up because while I was trying to trust, I was also trying to do it all. I gave each of those things into His hands and asked Him to fix it.

What a release! What victory!

I’m not going to tell you that everything instantly changed to the level of perfection I had been seeking. It didn’t. But my heart changed. Light began to creep back into that dark, empty space. When the tempter came to say, “But you didn’t do this. You failed again.” I could say, “No, that is no longer my responsibility. That’s on that paper. I gave it to God. He will see that it is accomplished if it is part of His plan.” This does not mean that we take no responsibility for things. It simply means that we do what we believe GOD wants us to do, to our best ability, and where we are not able to accomplish all that we thought should be accomplished, we rest in the knowledge that HE is far more capable of finishing the work. It might just be that our insufficiency is His way of opening the door to show His great sufficiency.


All of our Struggles

Often, when we are ministering in the women’s prison or the rehabilitation center, the women want to sing He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands. Recently, as we sang it with the ladies, I thought, “This needs another verse. It needs to say,

He’s got all of my struggles in His hands,

He’s got all of my struggles in His hands,

He’s got all of my struggles in His hands,

He’s got the whole world in His hands.

And I had to ask myself, how often do we stop and consider if we’ve put our whole world in His hands? Not just the things we talked about in the first blog of this series: the people, the situations, the wants, dreams and desires but also our struggles, our failures, our shortcomings, and our sins. That is where we find victory in living open-handed.

Have you passed through a time of struggle when you found victory in putting it in God’s hands? How did He show Himself strong on your behalf? Please share in the comments below.

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Featured Life The Messiah Series

The God of All Comfort

November 14, 2017

“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Isaiah 40:1-3

We live in a broken world, broken by sickness, war, pride, poverty, hurt, and sorrow—broken by sin. Yet God, the God against whom our sin has been perpetrated and who has every right as the Creator of the universe to obliterate our very existence from the planet, stoops into our brokenness with His love.

That is the very thing we celebrate at Christmas, the comfort of God in our dark, all-encompassing sorrow by the gift and sacrifice of His own Son, Jesus—The Messiah. Do you remember the comfort of His touch? Do you remember the hope of the words, “Your iniquity is pardoned”? Have you known that touch?

Have you known that touch in heartache or in loss? He is the God not only of salvation (which is, in a sense, the first great comfort) but also the God of all comfort.

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3,4)

Once we have known His comfort, He does not want us to keep it to ourselves. He wants us to share that comfort with those around us. To extend to them the grace that He has extended to us and the love with which He has loved us.

As we approach Christmas this year, let’s be watching. Let’s be asking, how can I comfort the people around me? And if you are in need of that comforting touch, I invite you to seek it out. He offers it freely. Join me here as we take a few quiet moments to reflect on Jesus, the Messiah, the God of all comforts. Let this Christmas be one of coming to know God in a new way as we learn of His comfort and extend it to those around us.


[This year, I’m doing something I’ve never done before, completely unplanned. I’m going through Handel’s Messiah and meditating on the Scripture used there. For accountability’s sake, I’ll be sharing it here and on Facebook. If you’d like to join me for this series and other updates, simply fill out the form below.]

Don’t Miss the Messiah Series. Sign up below.

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The Writing Journey

What NaNoWriMo is and How to Survive It

November 1, 2017

It’s almost November. (Like really almost November. I meant to post this last week!) Good things happen in November: Thanksgiving is in November. I know about ten people with birthdays in November. November is the kickoff for the Green Bean Project at FTN which helps fatherless kids, single moms, and orphans around the world. And for us writers, November is means NaNoWriMo.

“What is NaNoWriMo?” you might be asking. NaNoWriMo is an event more than a thing. It’s when hundreds of thousands of writers band together and purpose to write to completion a 50,000 word novel—in one month.

Image Courtesy National Novel Writing Month

Yes, we’re slightly insane.

In order to reach this goal, a writer must write approximately 1700 words each day.

How long does it take you to write 1700 words?

According to an article in the LA Times, 430,000 writers jumped on board in 2015. More than 40,000 finished their novels. That’s roughly about 10%. (I wasn’t one of them. I skipped that year.) Obviously, this is not a task to be taken lightly.

I have only participated twice. Both times I was able to complete the 50,000 words, but ended up finishing the novel at 60,000-80,000 words somewhere in the first week of December. Both attempts have produced some of my favorite stories and characters. Stories and characters, which have yet to be published, mind you.

In case you’re a writer looking to take on this challenge for the first time, here are some things I’ve learned:


Know your story. Even if you don’t write using an outline (which I highly recommend for NaNoWriMo) at least know in your head where you’re going and what the main elements of the story will be.

Research ahead of time, or at least have a plan for your research. Both of my NaNoWriMo novels were more contemporary than the books I have published. A portion of one of them takes place in Zaire in the mid- to late-nineties. Those were not happy times in Zaire. (Were there ever happy times in Zaire?) I did some research before hand, but I also discovered along the way that since I was living in Russia at the time, I needed to catch up on some things about American life in order to fill in the gaps. For instance, the extent of cellphone usage. Believe it or not, we saw mobile phone use become prominent in Moscow much earlier than I saw it become common in my hometown of Billings, MT. Little things like that popped up all through the novel. It helped to have sites identified that I could refer to quickly and easily.

Know when and where you will write. This isn’t always possible, but if you can, have a plan and a schedule.


During NaNoWriMo

Set your daily goal higher than the minimum. Writing 50,000 words in 30 days requires a minimum of 1667 words per day. But you’re not going to write every day. Something will come up. (Like birthdays and Thanksgiving!) Aim higher, especially during the first part of the month. If you get a big cushion it will take the stress off. BUT don’t get too comfortable because at a 1667 word/day minimum that cushion falls away very fast.

Don’t edit. I know this can be hard for those of us who like every sentence to be perfect before we add the period at the end, but it is necessary. You will not finish if you edit. It would be much better to finish early (sweating and panting most likely) and edit in the final days, than to edit along the way and never finish.

Watch for signs that you need a break. Even during NaNoWriMo we have to take breaks sometimes. Our brain can only function so well after so many hours awake, surviving on caffeine and chocolate. When you can’t spell your characters’ names right anymore, or you forget which one lives in which town—it’s probably time for a break. Take a night off, get some sleep, and start fresh tomorrow. (That early cushion comes in handy here too!)


After NaNoWriMo

Celebrate!!! Tell other people about your accomplishment. If you’re afraid to share it publicly just tell a friend. At the very least, tell your mom. (My mom actually joined me last year, and she hasn’t stopped writing since!)

Take a break. Writing is a little bit like dough. It needs to rest a while. Take some time away from your novel. Come back to it in a few weeks. Nothing will have changed, but your mind will be fresh.

Let your work come alive through rewrites and edits. Your NaNoWriMo novel is probably going to look like someone puked the story out on the page. There will be flaws, mistakes, inconsistencies and underdeveloped plots, scenes, and characters. That’s OKAY. A story comes to life in the rewrites and edits. Take the time to edit for concepts, structure, character and dialog, scene development, style and flow, and finally grammar. Enjoy it! Rewriting is an adventure all its own.

Happy Writing!!!

For those of you who don’t participate—pray for those who do! We might be a little insane, but you might just be surprised how many of the new novels you’ve been reading on Amazon were birthed during National Novel Writing Month.

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