50,000 words of faith…

50,000 words of faith…

It mocks me from a distance; sits on a shelf in my den, begging for notice while collecting dust. A purple, three-ring binder containing 50,000 words, personal words. Words written from a place of noble thought and understanding. Words that took nearly a year to write. Words that I thought would surely play a bigger role in my “next” than they currently are. Words that serve as a reminder to me of where my heart was twelve months ago…
A woman completely in favor of faith and the pursuit therein.
I thought I had it figured out… my faith. Little did I know that the greatest challenges to my previously rehearsed faith were dancing on the horizon, hidden from me in the moment, yet soon-to-be unveiled with the passage of time. Most of you might reason (even as I have reasoned) that, as my struggles came into view, I would take hold of the earlier written 50,000 words. That I could and willingly would apply “noble understanding” to the strife at hand. That I would pull the binder from the shelf, shake off the dust, and dig into the thoughts, precepts, and strength from my earlier season. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. I wouldn’t.
Because maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t ready to fully trust these words to see me through. They were good words, right words, words in keeping with all that I know to be true, but in many ways, words untested by the pulls and strains of a stressful season. Accordingly, I left the purple binder untouched, leaving it in the same place where it had been residing for the past eight months. That is, until today.
Today I dared to take it down off the bookcase. I began reading those 50,000 words again and wondering if the faith that I wrote about back then would match up with the faith steps I’m taking right now. Where did I get it wrong? Where did I, by the grace of God, get it right? Are these “old” thoughts in keeping with my new reality? Is this manuscript worthy of a second read-thru with the further goal of publication?
It’s a daunting task… this survey of a previously written faith, yet one I want to apply myself toward. In doing so, I expect my faith perspective to evolve into fuller understanding. I know some things now, hold some things now that I didn’t know or hold a year ago. Today, my faith lives and breathes at a higher level. Today, I can better address the issue of faith, because mine has been tested with the purifying flames of God’s eternal love. Today, I can hold the purple binder in hand with deeper clarity about the words printed therein.
Today, and in the days to come, I want to sit with my words before God and examine them under his microscope. I want to finish that which I thought was finished a year ago. I want my faith to live even as it writes… truthfully. Thus, I get to it. No timetable this go around, just a willingness to fall into some words, sentences, paragraphs, until the work is complete and up-to-date with my faith.
Along those lines, I want to ask you a question or two, even as I ask them of myself:
1. What would you hope to learn/gain by reading yet another book on faith? (I just typed in the word “faith” under the book tab on Amazon and the results are 93,862 currently listed titles regarding faith). Who needs another book on faith? What can be written about faith that hasn’t already been written? What is the take-away value for this book?
2. What format/style works best for you as a reader? Longer, fewer chapters? Shorter, more chapters?
3. What keeps you interested as a reader? Stories, anecdotes, scripture study?
4. Are application questions at the conclusion of each chapter important to you as a reader?
5. Any further thoughts on faith that would help me as a writer better understand what you as the reader wants…
I’d love your input; no need to answer all the questions, but your insight is valuable to me as I shake off the dust from my 50,000 words and attempt to edit them in this new season. For the record… I’m still a woman completely in favor of faith and the pursuit therein. This old, purple binder and a freshly tested faith seem like a good place to start.
Thank you for joining me on the road, and thank you for your prayers this week. I’m recovering, and I am at peace.
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35 Responses to 50,000 words of faith…

  1. Hello, sweet friend. I am glad to know that you are revisiting these words–bringing more wisdom to the pages. You know I would read any book on faith that you write (or on anything for that matter :). What would make me keep turning pages? Knowing the path you have been walking, I would want to know how your faith was challenged. I would want to know how it held up under the REAL and how it was stretched and wrestled wider.

    I want to know your story. I think these are the most compelling of all: the stories that we write with our lives and how they fit inside the Greatest Story Ever Told.

    Love you.

  2. 1. What would you hope to learn/gain by reading yet another book on faith?

    2. What format/style works best for you as a reader? Longer, fewer chapters? Shorter, more chapters?

    3. What keeps you interested as a reader? Stories, anecdotes, scripture study?

    4. Are application questions at the conclusion of each chapter important to you as a reader?

    Praying for you my friend,

  3. Because you are asking sincerely, I will be honest with you. I would not read a book about faith if I skimmed through it and found it to be not in keeping with all of God's word. Too many have tried to tell us that faith is the key to getting what we want. God's power is somehow ours to weild as we please, as long as all the "magic words" are used. I won't read another book like that because I believe those are the "ear-tickling teachings" the Bible warned us about. I don't believe you would be writing any such thing. Faith often gets us through difficult circumstances but not out of them. I believe you know that, because you read the whole Bible, and because you know God is with you in the most difficult of times.
    Still, God is able, and I do pray for good health and even miraculous healing for you, in the precious name of our Lord Jesus.

  4. Sweet Elaine….I am so excited that you hold another manuscript for print!! Joe is reading your last book and it is blessing him so-we like your style of writing, the depth of the subject, the conviction and encouragement it gives. I will try to answer your questions also:
    1. My opinion…faith is about application and many people don't get that. They leave it at church or they leave it at the door. Are we not to be a beacon of light in this dark world by living out our faith, embracing it as you have in the good and the bad times? Its about a relationship its more than just religion and the practice there of…just saying. I will most definitely read your book no matter the title or subject, but you know that already.

    2. I am more into chapter devotionals with questions. One page devotionals are nice when time is short but I do not like to shorten my God-time. I prefer shorter chapters to longer ones. Allows me to pause better and reflect on the content to my life.

    3. All those listed but especially when the Word of God is intertwined within its pages.

    4. Are application questions at the conclusion of each chapter important to you as a reader?–YES!

    5. Seriously…the whole action part of faith…the eternal significance of our faith…what is it doing for God's kingdom. Funny how this very subject has been on my mind and in my studies as of late.

    I will be praying for you in this new adventure. Joe asked me the other night after reading one of your chapters "Why do you think God has put her though this cancer?" and my response…"ministry". You minister to so many women and this is just another way!! I think this whole journey is looking pretty amazing!!

    Love you!!

    Believing Him~Pamela

  5. This is great Elaine. This is the stand still I'm at in my writing.

    I love books that are stories laced with anecdotes & scriptures that unfold as the book moves along creating questions of their own in my mind causing me to think it through. The length of it doesn't matter as long as it moves right along and not stuck in one place making it hard to get past a certain point.

    I hope that makes sense. I'm hard to please in reading. I love historical stories that include all the above. Not many out there. I really appreciate something I can take away from what I've read and apply it to my life.

  6. What a journey you have been on. I think it great that you are looking back to see how far you've come, how much you've changed and through it all how constant God has been.

    Faith in itself is a journey, filled with deep valleys and high mountain tops. Your journey of faith has encouraged me through this past year.

    continued prayers

  7. Hi Elaine~
    So good to see you on here so quickly after you last procedure. Hoping and praying your recovery speedy and complete.

    I would read another book on faith if it were to encourage and build up faith through stories of being human, going through trials and goodtimes; strength and weakness, struggling with faith and coming out on the other side with faith in tact.

    There is something edifying about hearing someone else went through the fires and emerged faith in tact (possibly scorched, but in tact).

    I like shorter chapters.

    I can take or leave questions at the end of the chapters, but I do find that reading the questions makes me stop, think and process.

    So glad to see you posting.

  8. I just want your story, told in tandem with God's story, because the faith walk doesn't mean an easy walk as we well know but neither does it mean we are asked to walk it alone.

  9. I'm so glad you're taking this next step!

    Having published my book in the spring of 2008, then going through a very difficult season in 2009-2010….it makes me wonder if God sends these trials to see if the faith we 'write' about is as real in 'practice'!
    Makes me a little apprehensive about writing another book! LOL
    That said…my favorite books are true stories of victorious faith during times of trial. Stories that don't sugar coat the struggles, but reveal true character in the face of trouble…something real, something I can learn from. (Books such as When I Lay My Isaac Down, and Mistaken Identity)
    Knowing what an encouragement you have been to me through this season of your life, tells me that you should write this book!

    1. Who needs another book on faith?
    People going through trials…looking for hope, encouragement from your experience

    What can be written about faith that hasn’t already been written?
    Everyone's story and perspective is different. There is always something to be learned.

    2. What format/style works best for you as a reader? I prefer shorter, more chapters

    3. What keeps you interested as a reader? Stories and anecdotes, and real/practical application of scripture

    4. Are application questions at the conclusion of each chapter important to you as a reader?
    They can be helpful

    5. Any further thoughts on faith that would help me as a writer better understand what you as the reader wants…
    See notes at the top

  10. I'm sure God will help you refine the words you wrote so many months as you now have fresh experiences — hard experiences — of faith tested. May He guide your efforts, Elaine.

    To answer some of your questions, I like the idea of shorter easy-to-read chapters that get straight to the heart of the matter. Application questions at the end would be a wonderful addition.

    What to include? Honest discussion of times we waver in faith or feel or faith is under attack by the enemy and how we can stand firm — or at least hang on — during those times.

    Hope your recovery is going well this week!

  11. Faith from your heart. Your story, your heart on matters and how God, through His Divine interventions has changed you, carried you, grown you and embraced you. That in reading YOUR story, I too would learn more of how He carries, grows, embraces, and grows me.

  12. How very happy it makes me that you are revisiting your manuscript. The reason that I would read YOUR book about faith is manyfold. First of all, I love the way you write. It has a rhythm, a cadence, that I find soothing and peaceful. Also, I love your introspective honesty. I appreciate your transparent vulnerability. I love that you have had to fight to keep your faith strong.

    Here's my answers to your questions:

    1. What would you hope to learn/gain by reading yet another book on faith? (I just typed in the word “faith” under the book tab on Amazon and the results are 93,862 currently listed titles regarding faith). Who needs another book on faith? What can be written about faith that hasn’t already been written? What is the take-away value for this book?

    As I said, I would be drawn to YOUR perspective on faith. And I always appreciate someone's words on faith who's had to struggle and fight for it in the midst of a huge battle. You are a cancer survivor, yes – but you are also a faith survivor. I am always looking for a real word on a real faith – forged through difficulty, and yet glowing.

    2. What format/style works best for you as a reader? Longer, fewer chapters? Shorter, more chapters?

    Shorter, more chapters.

    3. What keeps you interested as a reader? Stories, anecdotes, scripture study?

    Stories, with Scripture woven in.

    4. Are application questions at the conclusion of each chapter important to you as a reader?

    I like that idea. Makes it easy to use the book as a study/discussion book, too

    Prayers for you as you continue your journey – just know, Elaine, that for me your words are beyond encouraging.


  13. Elaine there's certainly no stock answer to these questions as you knew when you asked them. Just as God created each of us to be unique our needs are also unique. I like books that are personal…what were your personal questions and what were the answers and how did you reach them. I know what the Bible says but I often figuring out what it means in my life. If I'm praying about something that's important to me (and I believe if it's important to me it's important to Him) how can I get clarity about an answer…how do I filter my questions through the word and trust that the answer I think I got really is the answer He gave. These are just examples and may sound even more confusing to you than they are to me but I search for the answers. blessings, marlene

  14. Elaine, I am so glad to hear you are back to writing/rewriting and I cannot wait to read what the Lord has walked you through.
    In these dark and lonely days since hubby passed I suppose what I would most be intrigued to read are the how's and what's that are bringing you through this season of your life.
    How do you fight depression? What are scriptures that God has spoken to your heart? What kept you intertwined with others?
    Unfortunately I feel myself pulling back, hiding away and scaring myself with my own thoughts these days.
    As I spent more and more time taking care of my husband I let go of friendships and relationships. Now I find myself so totally alone and it is dark and scary in this place.
    Whatever the final printed words will be in your book, they will ALL be worth the reading!!!

  15. Hello Elaine! I'm so happy to see you recovering so well. I think what's most important to me is the personal journey of a story. Your faith walk through this season. Of course, I would read anything by you!! I so love your words.


  16. "words untested by the pulls and strains of a stressful season."
    ……love these words…so true.
    For years I learned…digging through the Word and other sources like a chicken scratching for that last piece of grain. I felt like I was starving for each new piece of knowledge I could get. And I was only too excited to share the new truths I was learning.
    AND THEN…. 🙂
    Life got flipped upside down and my snow globe of a life got quite a shaking. I now KNOW what I learned….it has become part of the marrow of my bones.
    I would venture to say that this is where you are finding yourself.
    It is something that will never be able to be taken away.
    As far as the books on faith…stories that tie in the truths always catch my attention. I think maybe that is why Jesus used all those parables. 😉
    Love ya girl!

  17. First off, it's a poignant & purposeful subject, faith. We are asked, "Will the Son of Man truly find faith upon the earth at His return?". We know the answer is "yes", but it elevates the subject to that which will garner His assessing gaze; the difference between His knowing His own and passing by those that are not.

    Also, it's a subject too often obscured by lesser ones. Many worthy pursuits are just that: worthy pursuits, yet they pale in comparison to growing in faith. Afterall, isn't that the soil by which we grow to be as He is?

    Keep writing. I'll read it!


  18. Already such a fan because of PEACE FOR THE JOURNEY… I would love to hear YOUR take on how your faith has changed, how God has proven himself to you… the story of Elaine… and as always, I love short chapters so I can digest each one. You did that SO WELL in Peace for The Journey! I never, NEVER lost interest… and now your journey involves new faith trials… share them all!!! He is bigger than all of them!

    Love you!

  19. I find it so exciting Elaine that you have another book in progress. Here are some of my thoughts…Another book on faith is important to those who are looking for a strengthening of their own faith. And who isn't?? I think one that would catch and hold my interest would be the personal walk of someone who has been through a LARGE life trial and has had that faith tested and stretched…such as yours through these last several months. I personally like short but meaty chapters. I love the questions at the end of the chapter that help you think it through. And taking scripture and applying it to present day situations and circumstances just doesn't get better in my opinion. So in a nutshell I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to read a book about your personal walk of faith through the trial of cancer. The more real, the better. I think it would bless and minister to more than you can ever imagine. Glad your healing up well. HUGS, Debbie

  20. Hooray that this is your season to pick the work back up! 🙂 May God abundantly bless your writing/editing time!

    As for your questions…

    There are a lot of faith books, but not all of those pertain to the faith we are talking about. So just because it's been done before, doesn't mean that it's been done by you, or more importantly, how God wants it done by you.

    I tend to like shorter chapters so that I can make it a devotional/quiet time book. More pondering instead of reading it to digest it as a whole.

    I love the author's stories–it truly does make a book a piece of art. I also like application questions, but not too many. One or two tops because I can then fit it into my busy day.

    Hope that helps!

    Prayers and blessings as you delve into this season of your life. I am finding that Priscilla Shirer's new book "Life Interrupted" and her Bible Study "Jonah" are invaluable during my current season. Maybe it will be something you are interested in, too.


  21. Dear friend,
    You have not been named Faith Elaine for no reason.

    I believe your name Faith points to an eternal purpose.

    To be the beacon of light in the faithless generation.

    Faith that rolls up its sleeves and gets down to work – not the faith that sits and watches as the world goes by.

    This may yet be your masterpiece.

    Your personal stories of struggle and how your triumphed over it through faith.

    You will surely write from your heart – they will not be untested words. They are words that were written in one season but only to serve you well in another season.

    A few Bible study mixed in just to make sure what you write aligns with God's word – but I generally do not read Bible study books – I find them preachy. I stay away from them – I do my own Bible study on my own, so that I get it directly from the HOly SPirit. The Holy Spirit is my personal tutor and mentor.

    A few application questions at the end will surely make it personal. Just to make sure the reader is able to respond to what you have written, and thereby come away with His own experience, not somebody else's.

    Go for it… Faith Elaine.

    Keeping you close

  22. Hi Elaine….

    Thank you so much for encouraging me with your words on my blog that you love to think and study the Kingdom of God! YES…His Kingdom reigns within us by His Spirit! It is soooo exciting to know that He is within and out there some where~

    I have been following your blog for a while, and have prayed for you! I attend a Christian writers group…the past 20 years…and I might give your questions some thoughts and then answer. They are good questions. Hope to write again soon!


  23. Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

    Just the Word itself.

    Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

    We need a personal relationship with Him.

    I hope I'm not off track from what you are asking from your readers, it's just what's on my mind 🙂

  24. Elaine– Many others have given you their thoughts about this book on faith. I don't have any answers really at this point.

    I know it would have more meaning to read such a book from someone whose faith has been tested, as yours has.

    It just needs to be real and from the heart, as I'm sure it would be. I've been through several seasons of testing myself, and I'm still walking through challenges with my son. But I'm not sure I could put into words what keeps my faith strong; the only thing that stands out is that I have to trust the One who knew me and had plans for my future even before I was born. He is still in control–Praise His name.

  25. I put "faith in" into my Bible search and in came up with:

    "faith in his blood"
    "faith in his name"
    "faith in Christ"
    "faith in Christ Jesus"
    "faith in me"
    "faith in God"

    They look like good chapter headings to me.

  26. Mercy! You have some great answers here my friend! What can I add? To hear how God has strengthened your faith in this season of your life. A personal story draws me closer to the characters(and I know them!!). I feel as though I am in their skin. How would I react? Where in my life journey is my faith? Yes, m'am. I want to read your story.

    Love you!

  27. I'm really glad you pulled "your" book off the shelf. Your ponderings here tell me you ARE indeed "recovering and at peace"…

    Reading comments, I see that the even the term "faith" means different things to different people…interesting!

    It is your writing style and personal experience that will make your book on faith different than the (was it?) 93,000+ others! Keep the Word central…don't write for the "market" (although I know that's a reality AND a temptation).

    There. That's MY two-cents worth 🙂

  28. Dear Elaine,
    I am right along with Sheryl in my answers to your questions.

    A faith that is applied…
    and a faith that has struggled…
    an honest faith.

    So glad that my faith is in one who is FAITHFUL to His Word.

    Much love to you! So glad to hear your heart!

  29. How wonderful that you're back to writing! I SO enjoyed your last book!

    Hmmm…I get bored quickly. But this question you're asking will bring all kinds of answers, as we all have different preferences. I like to read books that open up scripture. I like personal stories. I like anecdotes. I like humor. If you can get me to laugh…you have just wrapped your arm around me.

    My friend June just underwent surgery and chemo for uterine cancer. I couldn't believe how bold she was in her faith! Before she got cancer, she was wavering. She was pointing a finger at God, demanding to know why God wasn't answering her prayers. But when she got cancer…she got bold! I think God used this storm to strengthen her. The change has been amazing. She is now cancer-free.

    June is in my Bible group. We are all speaking daily declarations and we're all feeling strengthened. Here's where you can get them, if you like. Print a copy for yourself.


  30. 1. I would hope to learn more about faith tested in the fire. The trials and how they purify and refine the faith. I mean I know that, but a practical application of it… I am learning a bit at a time, and have been challenged by Beth Moore in Believing God to really step forward in present-active-participle believing God. But to have something more, from a different perspective, from a freshly tested faith like you mentioned.

    2. Probably shorter chapters, because of the pace of my life right now. When I get the chance to sit and read, I get interrupted too soon. If I am in the middle of a longer chapter, then I have to backtrack a bit to figure out where I was before I move ahead again.

    3. all of the above, because it keeps it real. But the scripture running through it all is so important. I need to to be more than just someone else's story, but also with the bible and the Truth, seeing how it is my story too. Does that make sense?

    4. For me, I usually underline so much as I read, that I don't need many application questions, and again that time thing too – I feel "obligated" to do the questions or feel I am not doing the book justice… but i do like a few questions to get me thinking. So, two to three are good, but not much more for me, or I get too bogged down in it.

    As I am learning more about believing God versus believing "in" God, the more hungry I am to learn about faith like that. I love going through Hebrews 11 and learning more there (Beth Moore has been using it in her Believing God study we are going through at church right now). There is always so much more to learn, and to sit under new teachers with their own stories of faith, in the good, bad, difficult and untroubled times, well it means so much to me.
    Encourages me when things are dark and spurs me onward and upward when things are good and I feel good.

    Hope that makes sense.

    I pray that as you go through your 50,000 words of faith you will find the refining you have gone through has made those words between you and God more precious than ever.

    Love you!

  31. wifeforthejourney:

    You are in my prayers this morning as you work through the challenges of your "Walkabout."

    I am glad to review the many comments and opinions offered here about your book-to-be. May the Lord continue to inspire and encourage you!


  32. For me, real personal stories of faith move me. I don't read many devotionals, but weep when I read a story that I can relate to where someone shares their struggle to hang on to their faith and then I see Jesus there.

  33. My dear Elaine ~ These comments from your friends and followers are breathtaking, aren't they?! I am so impressed by the depth and significance in each one. Blessed me!

    I saw several possible titles in your post:
    A Previously Written Faith
    A Freshly Tested Faith
    In Favor of Faith
    This Old Purple Binder: tagged by any of the above
    Gentle Graces (not faith but I love that)

    I would love to see you work your name into the book … Faith Elaine.

    I don't think this book needs to be only about your cancer journey. You've had many faith testings. You might want to consider starting with the lessons/milestones/nuggets of truth/gentle graces/etc. that God has taught you about faith as chapter titles and take us through the journey that led you to each Truth.

    I like shorter chapters. Like the others, I only have so much time. With many books, even if they're great books, I find myself flipping ahead to see how far it is to the end of the chapter so I can mete out my time.

    Your writing style, your perspective, your battles and victories are the reason for another book on faith. I haven't read many of those other 92,000 books.

    My thoughts …

    Ever hoping we can meet in person one day!

    with my love,


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