A long time ago, before I had published a single word, a writer friend invited me to join a Christian writers’ group. Of course, I declined. I was much too uncertain of my calling or my future as a writer to accept. Eventually, my friend talked me into it, and I discovered the many blessings of partnering with other companions in the journey of faith. I grew a lot over the next few years, in confidence and in my writing ability. And then my husband’s work involved a job change, and we moved from Canada back to the United States.
At the first Christian Writers’ Conference I attended in our new area, the leaders encouraged participants to form a critique group with other attendees who lived nearby. I leaped at the chance. The group was large at first, but commitment and determination soon whittled us down to a faithful few. For more than twenty-five years now, Jane Rubietta and Cleo Lampos and I have been meeting to share our lives, encourage each other, and critique each other’s writing. When we began, none of us were published—and none of our children were married. Now we all have multiple books and publications to our credit—and multiple grandchildren!
We have cried with each other through our many disappointments, and joyfully celebrated each publishing milestone. We brainstorm plots and characters and titles together—and we laugh a lot. And eat a lot. Our writers’ meetings always involve great food. There were times when each one of us was ready to quit, but we always convinced each other to hang on to our calling as writers. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be where I am today without Jane and Cleo.
You’ll get to know them a little better next month because I have asked them to blog in my place during the month of February. I will be on a much-needed sabbatical from writing to recharge my batteries. I wrote a Christmas novella this year in addition to my usual, yearly novel, and I need a break. They will tell you a little about themselves and their work—which I’m always thrilled to endorse!
Where would any of us be without our friends? I know my life would be much lonelier without them. But even more than keeping us company, we all need people in our lives who will help us discover our gifts, and challenge us to step out in faith, and hold us accountable to the ministries God has given us. We see Christ through these friends and experience His deep love for us, in spite of our faults and failures. If you have friends who are dear to you, I hope you’ll take a moment this week to tell them how much they mean to you, and to celebrate God’s gift of friendship with them.