Two weeks ago, I threw one of my best friends a baby shower. I love throwing parties, but baby showers are my favorite. Our church has two traditions for believers – we have everyone write a prayer or verse on a card that the mom can bring into L&D to read, and someone always gives a devotion, usually the host(ess). I’ve now hosted 4 showers (2 baby and 2 adoption), and the devotion is my favorite part.
For my friend’s most recent shower, I spent two weeks trying to figure out what I was going to say and nothing came to me. Friday, the night before the shower, I still had nothing. My friend and I went to dinner and she made a comment about something that was on her mind, and BAM! – I had my devotion idea. I mulled it over in my mind for the rest of the night, then woke up early to write everything down, especially the verse references I needed. At the shower, I had the pleasure of sitting down with everyone in a circle and giving the devotion. I’m not sure how well it connected with everyone, but it seemed like the right thing to say to the people in that room.
When I got home, I had a facebook message waiting for me from one of my friends who attended the shower. She asked if I’d ever thought of writing devotions for submission. I’m shocked to say I never have! I love writing short stories and novels, and I love writing devotions for events, but it honestly never occurred to me to try writing devotions for submission in the same way I’m submitting short stories.
My friend was kind enough to pass me a link on writing devotions, and I spent the next few days rolling the idea around in my mind. When I finally got a moment alone to sit down and work on my novel, I found I was stuck – I couldn’t get the idea of writing devotions out of my head. I sighed and pulled out my Bible. Looking back on what I had read the prior day, I pondered over a real life example of what the verse had taught me, then wrote everything down in a brief 200 word devotion. Once finished, I moved on to editing my novel and was quite productive.
Since then, I’ve written a few more devotions based on my daily Bible reading. I’ve found them to be extremely challenging in ways that are completely different than short stories, poetry, or novels. There’s a bit of each in a devotion: the concise words of a short story, the emotion of poetry, and the glimpse of a bigger picture from a novel (like a scene). I’ve found it to be wonderful training, both in terms of writing and faith. Although the first few I’ve written are quite rough, I hope to hone my skills with devotions in the same way I’m working on other aspects of my craft.
P.S. I’m extremely grateful to my friend for the marvelous suggestion of devotion writing.