Exactly two years ago today, I was surfing the internet, and I found something very special. I can't tell you exactly what I was looking for, but I will tell you this--I had spent the last three years using every bit of creative energy I had persevering (with God's incredible help) through the many issues that had been added to my life since my husband got sick. I was finally feeling like I had a bit of spare creativity to use elsewhere. Perhaps I was looking for somewhere to channel that creativity that was a bit more fun than crisis management. What I found has become an integral part of my life.
Faithwriters was the answer to the prayer I hadn't even prayed yet. I had worked as a newspaper reporter before I had kids, and had even dabbled in a bit of fiction (and ghastly poetry), but it was at this wonderful site that I finally had the opportunity to exercise my "writing muscles"--for the first time as a Christian, in a Christian environment. I found the amazing message boards that very day, and submitted my very first challenge entry the following day (note the horrible spacing, plethora of exclamation points, and annoying abundance of capital letters).
Through the past two years, I have grown dramatically in my writing and my confidence in it. I have made some amazing Christian friends who are closer to me than many members of my family. I also learned, through comments from some of these very special friends from around the globe, what one of my Spiritual Gifts is, and I have started up a bit of a ministry at the site to help me and several like-gifted sisters in Christ an opportunity to exercise their encouragement gift.
It was not very long after I became a regular at Faithwriters that I joined the Faithwriters 500. It seemed like a logical thing to do - so many benefits to take advantage of, plus the amazing benefits I was already receiving. How could I not spare the $10 a month to support this site that had helped me so much already?
Since joining, I have had several stories featured in Faithwriters Magazine, as well as the magazine "BraveHearts" and the Sunday School paper "Purpose." I've had a story in a Faithwriters anthology, and have one set for publication later this year in another magazine. I have submitted quite a few articles and stories to paid publications, and through some of them, I have helped supplement our income a little--and every little bit helps, of course.
Being a FW500 member has encouraged me to write in completely new ways and to try things I never would have tried before. I am working on a non-fiction book about God's workings in our lives since my husband got sick (gonna be submitting it to the FW500 only Page Turner Contest), and I even have an idea, and a bit of preliminary writing done, for a Biblical fiction novel on the Biblical queen Michal.
I also had the amazing privilege and blessing of attending the inaugural Faithwriters Writing Conference last summer in Detroit. The fellowship was incredible, and it was unlike anything I had ever attended before. I learned so much, and it was just special in every way. I still miss every one of those people, even though it's been a year AND I chat with many of them still anyhow.
Now, it seems my very favorite website in the world is having some major financial difficulties. In the words of my dear friend and all-around-everybody at Faithwriters, Deb Porter/Breathfreshair:
I really can't tell you how serious the situation is for FaithWriters. Without the financial support of the members, I really don't know what the future holds.
Membership in the 500 provides so many benefits, but FaithWriters itself is such a blessing. The fact that so many people give so much time, voluntarily, is testimony to how much this place means to so many people.
I won't beat around the bush. We need your help.
I am already a member, and am sponsoring another, and I'm not sure I can afford to do another. I do NOT want to wake up one morning and have Faithwriters gone. After my two years there, I can't imagine NOT having that wonderful place.
I did not write this in order to be a "marketing campaign" for Faithwriters, but because of my deep love for the site, the people at it, and the amazing benefits it has provided to me (and the body of Christ!) over the past years. I am praying like I never have to Keep Faithwriters Alive, and I'm trying to put feet to those prayers. If you love Faithwriters too (or love me - or even just kinda like the idea of it), can you join me? I want this site around for a very long time so others can benefit, and so I can celebrate ANOTHER two years of blessing in 2010. :)
I have been involuntarily retired so financially I won't be contributing. I love what you have said here. I thought it might be too long, but couldn't find a place to edit it. I get the message. You really do like the place.
I know you are so positively right because I for one would be loss withot faithwriters.com,for instance one day I could'nt get through and becamed loss without my daily encourgment.Hands up to you and many,many blessings there off''
You're right in so many things, Joanne, but especially in saying that one of your mega gifts on this site is encouragement. That you are.
Originally I tried looking for a hint as to your challenge entry this last week (topic - Africa) to 'return the favour' from your encouraging feedback on my entry. However, I couldn't find it, so decided just to pick an article that looked interesting which you'd written and give some feedback on that. Hence being here.
It didn't disappoint - as I knew it wouldn't - but it did so much more than that. It reminded me of so much. Indeed, FaithWriters is a God-ordained site for this point in time and I'll join you tonight in praying afresh for it ... especially with the recent attacks on it ... which probably just go to show that it is performing a significant role in getting God's people exercising their writing gifts too.
Thanks again, Joanne, for your encouragement generally and for all you've raised in this article in particular.
Very wellwritten and said!
Thank you for being a faithful member. I ,too, know how you feel about Faithwriters. You have encouraged me to try again to become a member. I can't seem to get through the sign up. Monday I am going to the bank for help. Praying for you and your "whole" family.