I wrote this on November 7, the 99th birthday of the famed evangelist, Billy Graham, and looked back at how his life and words touched not only millions of people throughout the world – but changed my own life.
Decades ago, when I was led to the Billy Graham School of Christian Writing, the spoken words of faculty opened up a whole new world to me and resulted in my career of written words. Almost immediately, I wanted to put my ideas into novels, feeling that fiction was truth in living color.
But… nonfiction was not for me!
No? Look back through the years
- What about the years in grade school English classes and writing essays? (learning)
- What about later years of rewriting Sunday school lessons I taught because the writers didn’t verbalize or present the lesson “my way”? (learning about and expressing my voice and faith)
What about the writings I did while “typing” (I didn’t say writing!) my first novel?
- The Poem – 8 rhyming lines of iambic pentameter published in a small magazine? (I learned I’m not a poet but more importantly expressed my belief about the power of prayer)
- The Articles – for three months in a take-home publication? (eliminating the unimportant by paring down 2000 words into 500 each week – and seeing my four children’s “antics,” not with frustration, but as material for articles)
What about when that first novel was “returned”? (experienced devastation which led to renewed determination)
- Began taking college literature classes, one at a time (accepting that the original idea is the beginning of a story, not the end. One doesn’t begin at the top of a profession, but puts in the time and effort and work which leads to success)
- While revising, interviewed people for newspaper feature articles. (some of these led to their stories being material for characters in novels, i.e. the man who made violins in his basement – my novel in the collection, Music of the Heart)
Non-fiction a sideline? No! Our words are valuable, whatever form they take, whether teaching or reaching… ourselves or others. That has been confirmed more strongly since I was “led” (I hadn’t intended to compile non-fiction books) into stories for the Moments series. When it “happened” I intended only one book. Now there are ten Divine Moments books comprised of themed personal stories in each book, written by multi-published and first-time published authors.
You’re invited to send your stories. Who knows where it might lead? Maybe to an entire family coming to Christ (the result of a story). Or to a novel. Or simply your telling a story meaningful to you. God knows how to use our written words, whether it’s to reach the world or to tell us we need to learn a little more on how to write them. For information about the Moments books, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org (see www.yvonnelehman.com).
Gigi Graham’s grandchildren are looking at the pictures in One Wintry Night, written by Gigi’s mother and the children’s great grandmother, Ruth Graham.
In the fourth Christmas Moments book, 41 writers with 51 articles are saying “Merry Christmas” to the world by, again, donating all their royalties to Samaritan’s Purse, an organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people (www.samaritanspurse.org).
The writers of this book share some of their memories of Christmases past that include happiness, joy, lighthearted celebration, family traditions, singular occasions, happy times, trying times… and so much more. In its own way each story illustrates how, no matter what our circumstances, at Christmastime we will find happiness and joy when we decide not to focus on ourselves and instead choose to celebrate Christ’s birth.
If you love stories that express the wonder of Christmas, touch the heart, and stir the emotions, you will love Merry Christmas Moments.