Thursday, September 6, 2018

There is a Season

I'm probably dating myself here, but how many of you remember The Byrds singing "Turn,Turn, Turn" based on the Book of Ecclesiastes?

In case the answer is no (or you need a refresher), check this out.

Or perhaps you recognize this more easily:

Ecclesiastes 3 New International Version (NIV)

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

I've had this on my mind quite a lot lately. Summer is fading into fall, and even though the official season change is still a bit off, Labor Day marks an unofficial change. School resumes, the carefree attitudes of summer give way to the industriousness of autumn.

I've found myself reflecting and wondering about the seasons of our writing. Although we love writing for Love Inspired, many of us have also branched out in other directions. Why? I'm curious to hear how you choose what you are writing at any given point.

I have a novella out right now that's not from Love Inspired, though Belle Calhoune and I are both blessed to write for LI/LIS. I wrote this book because it answered a need in me at a time when I couldn't write romantic suspense. The collection is comprised of four novellas of modern day women who are inspired by legendary biblical women: Eve, Hannah, Ruth, and the woman at the well.

When I was asked to be a part of this collection, my husband had just been diagnosed with cancer. I was grateful to focus on reading and writing about the biblical Hannah because she was always described as a prayerful woman, a persistent prayer. I knew that I needed that kind of spiritual mentor in the upcoming battle, so I chose to do a modern day Hannah.

Unfortunately, the cancer was extremely aggressive, and my husband passed away within two months (before I'd even begun to write this novella). You could say that writing this story was my way of coping with the unexpected that life throws at you. It was cathartic, in many ways. I never experienced Hannah's struggle with infertility, but I do understand how it feels to keep praying when things don't go as you hoped and planned.

Writing this story answered a specific need for me.

The following lines from Ecclesiastes are less well known than the ones above, but I find myself reflecting on them in this season of change:

What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.

I think we are blessed, as writers, to find satisfaction - and sometimes healing - in our toil.  

So today I ask you to join me in reflecting - what do you gain from your toil as a writer? How has your work blessed you?


  1. First, my heart goes out to you, Cate. Grief takes many forms and sometimes it takes the form of doing something to show your sadness and sorrow. Writing is one of those things. I find that my stories often reflect any emotional upheavals I’m been dealing with at the time of writing them. When I look back, I can see God’s hand in my words. Writing is my escape and my outlet from a world that at times is cruel and hard to understand. But through our words, we help others to heal and we find a way to heal ourselves. That is the gift God has given us. It’s a good kind of therapy that helps introverts let go of some of their angst and in return gives those out there suffering a way to do the same. Bless you. We love you. The collection looks beautiful.

    1. Thank you, Lenora. You quite eloquently stated exactly what I was inadequately trying to express. :)

  2. Cate, what a beautiful post. I'm so sorry to hear about your husband. Prayers for you. Writing can be cathartic when the world around us is in chaos. A refuge in the storm for me perhaps because it is the one thing I can control to a certain extent. And you are so right. Writing can be healing. Sometimes, we gain the most from our own stories.

    1. Thanks, Mary. Yes, I was rereading the story and was surprised to realize how much of my struggle I poured into Kane and Hannah.

  3. What a beautiful post, Cate. You are always in my prayers. You've demonstrated such strength and grace during this most difficult time. Thank you for joining me on the Faithful Women journey. I'm so happy you were able to immerse yourself in writing Hannah's powerful story as an outlet. I think writing is very therapeutic. I tend to pour myself into the words when the world gets a little rough. Hugs and prayers.

    1. It was such an honor to work with you, Sandra. I'm so glad you came up with this idea!

  4. Cate, you've been in my prayers and in my heart since you first told me about your husband's cancer. I know God was giving you the strength and determination to write "Hannah's" story. Without his grace, I doubt anyone would have the wherewithal to be creative in the midst of grief. I'm eager to read your story...and the others.

    Writing takes me to another place. When the story pulls together, I know it's not from me but from the Lord. I find story creation to be spiritual and what God is asking me to do at this moment in time. Tomorrow? Only he knows.

    Hugs and love always!

    1. Thanks, as always, Debby. You've been such a constant support and blessing to me. I cherish your friendship.

  5. Cate, so sorry for your loss. This looks like a great, encouraging collection. Thanks for your heartfelt post! Blessings!

  6. Cate, my heart aches for your loss. I bought this collection and turned straight to Hannah's story--and what amazes me is that you wrote so incredibly WELL during such an impossibly difficult season. Impressive--and such indisputable proof of God's hand upon you and your work during that time...

    1. Laurel, that is so kind of you to say. Thank you so much.

  7. Hugs and prayers ♡

  8. Hi Cate, thanks for sharing your thoughts! I first new you through Seekerville. I did not know much about your husband's story, but prayed for you as I saw bits and pieces here and there on media. I will search for your book; sounds wonderful.
    Hugs and prayers!

  9. Cate, my thoughts and prayers are with you. I am so sorry for your loss.


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