Writing from Painful Places
By Marilyn Nutter
My suffering was good for me, for it
taught me to pay attention to your decrees.
Psalm 119:71 NLT
The definition of “good”
is relative and overused. We say the weather is good for a picnic. Or
“That was such a good meal.” But what does it mean when a person says,
“It is good that I have suffered”?
John’s testimony went
on to show there was benefit to his affliction. His life had changed through
finding Jesus, and he had learned valuable lessons. In speaking to us, he
wanted to share the goodness of his experience.
As writers, we can
apply his lesson. If we have had a life-altering experience or a tough life season,
can we find good in it to share? Not that our situation in itself was good or
pleasant, was fixed, or a problem solved, but that our life change has been
used by God for His good purposes. Is there a target audience who needs to read
and be encouraged by your experience? How can you proceed?
- Begin by identifying the pain point of your experience.
- What are some of the lessons you learned? Were they spiritual, relational, professional?
- What did you learn about God, His character, and His promises?
- Did you grow, change, and move forward with purpose?
- Can you write your story and maintain confidences?
- Can you be real and practical?
- Where can you submit a blogpost, article, compilation entry, or book?
As you develop your
story, offer tips and resources for readers to see an opportunity to manage
their experience. Perhaps you can offer particular Bible passages, biblical
principles, suggested readings, websites, or support groups.
When Joseph was reunited with his brothers in Genesis 50:20, he told them, “You meant it for evil, but God intended it for good.” His time away from family and a prison sentence weren’t good, but his character grew, and God positioned him for a purpose. Our painful experiences include suffering and often an outcome we might not have wanted. Some problems don’t have solutions but they always have God who accompanies every step we take. That was the takeaway John wanted his audience to see. That is often the biggest takeaway we share in our writing. Perhaps there is a reader waiting to hear that from you.
Marilyn Nutter writes, not as a professional counselor or through research about grief, but as one who walks that unwelcomed, personal experience of widowhood and has found God faithful in every step. In her journey, she continues to experience the grace of God-sent treasures in puzzling and new circumstances and desires to encourage others. Her book, Hope for Widows: Reflections on Mourning, Living, and Change, was released by Our Daily Bread Publishing on Jan. 2, 2024. It offers 65 vignettes with opportunities for readers’ personal reflections. She is a contributor to compilations, author of devotional books and co-author with April White of Destination Hope: A Travel Companion When Life Falls Apart.
Visit https://marilynnutter.com where you will find encouragement to weave hope
and purpose into your life stories.
Here’s the Amazon link for her new book: