Writing devotionals that impact take work. Putting hard experiences to pen and paper and showing how one comes out on the other end doesn’t happen in a linear fashion–or maybe that’s just me–but God gives us strength and the words when we push through. 




My Writing Comes to a Halt 

Last May I was in the middle of writing a book about my dad when my 87-year-old mother had a massive stroke. She never recovered. My words stopped and grief took over my life. I could barely function, let alone write. I never wanted to write again because I knew my mother wanted more time from me and my writing kept me from giving that one thing to her. She wasn’t impressed by words. She looked to actions. 

The Start of the Project 

By the end of August, the urge to write began in bits and pieces. I started thinking about what I could offer to churches because I wanted to start speaking again. As I began to think beyond my grief, When I prayed about my next writing project (as I wasn’t emotionally ready to write about my dad), God gave me a picture of overcoming loss–something I struggled with everyday in regard to my vision. The recent loss of my mother also softened my heart on this topic. Overcoming loss of any kind needed to start with God. 

A New Focus with Devotionals

I shared my desire to write devotionals with my writing coach, and she encouraged me to use the ones I had already written as a basis. They all focused on loss–in childbearing, my marriage and the final illness of my father–all which occurred in the United Arab Emirates. I always said my faith grew the deepest in this barren desert of struggle. When I printed out my devotionals, I discovered they needed to be rewritten since they were all stand-alone pieces. I needed to fit them to my recurring theme of loss. 

My faith grew the deepest in this barren desert of struggle in the Middle East

The Challenge

I always tried to paint pictures with my writing and let the reader “be there.” But that takes more words than I could spare. In writing devotionals, the key is brevity. Instead, the writer carefully chooses words that impact. Because these devotionals would appear in my own publication, I decided to give myself a little freedom and wrote hybrid devotionals,  implementing dialogue and keeping a little of my storytelling style. 

Some Stories of Loss Hard to Write 

While fifteen years seems like a long time, when seeking the lessons God gave me in a particular situation, it brought me right back to those feelings of devastation and I had to push through them a second time to regain or clarify the insights. I couldn’t write in order. I wrote much more rapidly on the positive, even miraculous, gifts of reassurance God gave me than I did on actual deaths, or the day of my divorce. A writing colleague said she pushed through writing a hard scene in her book. So I asked God to move me through the harder events, too, in my devotionals. 

Feeling God’s Comfort in the Holidays

I planned for my book to be finished by now. But maybe God has other plans. I think He’s telling me to take my time–that perhaps this writing focus will carry me through the holidays, my first without my mom. God seeks my best in everything He plans. I’m seeking His divine timing on this book and producing sincere devotionals about how God brought me through the hardest of my losses halfway across the world. 

God responds to grief and loss in ways that uniquely speak to each of us. How has God reassured you in your losses? 

For more encouragement in coping with loss during the holidays, go to Griefshare.com

You have just read “Tackling the Hard Stories” by Amy L. Bovaird. © November 17, 2017. All rights reserved. If you’d like to receive more stories like this, sign up for my newsletter at the bottom of any page or HERE.  to find out more about my books, my author profile and order links are below. Don’t forget to leave a comment on today’s blog post! THANKS! 

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