It never fails to amaze me.  I know it shouldn’t, but it does.  I am continually astounded by the way God answers my prayers.  And I’ve found that the more sincere the prayer, and the more open I am to the way He answers it, the more wonderful the answer is!

Anyone who knows me probably knows that I don’t handle criticism well.  I take great pride in what I do, at work, at home, and in my writing, so when I hear criticism I either am crushed, or I get defensive.  Naturally when I went to my first Romance Writers of America meeting, I was a little intimidated, to say the least.  Here I was going to sit while others read my writing out loud, becoming familiar with the characters that I love, and the stories that came from my heart, and then they were going to, yikes, critique them!  So going into that meeting I prayed to God.

I prayed that He would help me to be open-minded.  That He would lead me through any feelings of rejection and unworthiness, and instead, help me to be strong enough to listen and learn.  Let me tell you, it is scary opening yourself up that way, but luckily I did it with the right people.  God not only helped me to detach myself from my work and look at it subjectively, He blessed me with people who were compassionate, intelligent, and knowledgable to help me improve my writing.

The ladies in my writing group come from about every walk of life.  There is a broad range of ages and experience levels, professions, and family make-ups.  But each is there to really help out their fellow writer.  They are wonderful, and all in their own unique way.

But perhaps even more astonishing than the gift He gave me by placing these women in my life, is the work He did in me.  Don’t get me wrong, I still get nervous before I pass my papers out.  And I still cringe when someone reads them out loud.  But when people make comments or suggestions, it doesn’t make me feel sad, like it might once have.  I feel challenged.  I can make this scene better, it’s going to take some work, but here are people who can help me.  It makes things a whole lot easier that the ladies are able to offer their advice in a tender fashion, and are sure to point out the good parts in even the worst writing.  But even so, I feel a change in me. 

Could I be maturing?  Those of you who know me well would say, yeah, right, when pigs fly!  Am I able to display more maturity than in the past?  Yes, I think so.  To summarize…it only took me forty-some-odd years and a sincere prayer to get to a place where I could receive criticism, but, baby, I got there!  And thank you, Lord, for taking me there.


About M.J. Schiller

I am a mother of four/writer/lunch lady. I set my blog up when my son looked at my Facebook wall and said, "Mom, you don't status, you blog!" Let's put it this way, I'm one of the only people that constantly comments on my own statuses!
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3 Responses to GRACE ABOUNDS

  1. Claranne says:

    He works in mysterious ways and we’ve all been there, especially in that “maturing” to even hear criticism let alone accept some of it :-)!

  2. Laurie says:

    That’s wonderful Mary! It is SOOO difficult to put yourself out there and expect critical comments. I, like you, get nervous (heart racing, hands shaking) each and every time I bring pages to the group. Because I KNOW they’re going to find something to comment on. But you’re right — it’s all done to improve the writing. And the writer. Why would we want to hear, “It’s perfect, I wouldn’t change a thing.” You wouldn’t grow. Next time I bring pages, I’m going to say that prayer too!!!

  3. R.T. Wolfe says:

    Well spoken, Mary! Don’t you sort of take the suggestions that make such great sense and, for the rest, let your heart and the flow of the writing lead you? I think I’m still too naive and green to get sweaty. Ha! And by the way, your site is gorgeous!
    -R.T. Wolfe

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