Shirley Crowder won First Place in the Newspaper Article category in the 2019 Southern Christian Writer’s Conference Writing Competition. She serves as editor for and contributor to TheAddictionConnection.org blog as well as the InspiredPrompt.com blog.
She has spiritual children and grandchildren serving the Lord in various ways throughout the world. And I’m so glad she is with me this morning!
Good morning, Shirley. Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born under a mango tree. Okay, I was actually born in a mission guest house under the shade of a mango tree in Nigeria, West Africa, where my parents served as missionaries. I am passionate about disciple-making, which is conducted in and through myriad ministry opportunities., including writing, biblical counseling, teaching Bible studies and Sunday School.
I am commissioned by and serve on the national Advisory Team for The Addiction Connection, a ministry whose vision is Connecting the Hope of the Gospel with the Heart of Addiction.
I co-authored the chapter, “Paul and Women in Ministry” in the book Paul the Counselor: Counseling and Disciple-Making Modeled by the Apostle, published by Focus Publishing.; and has several articles which have appeared in The Gadsden Times’ Faith section’s Paper Pulpit.
My life-long missionary-kid friend, Harriet E. Michael and I have collaborated on several books published by Pix ‘N Pens Publishing: Glimpses of the Savior: 50 Meditations for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year and “The Prayer Collection” consisting of the anchor book, Prayer: It’s Not About You by Harriet, Study Guide on Prayer—A Companion to Prayer: It’s Not About You by me, Glimpses of Prayer we co-wrote, and Prayer Warrior Confessions we compiled true stories of prayer by several friends and wrote some. Harriet and I have a new devotional series coming out soon. The first of the 4-book series is scheduled for release in late 2019.
My mentor, Dr. Howard A. Eyrich, and I co-wrote a Hope for New Beginnings: 31 Devotions for the Adventure, published by Growth Advantage Communication.
My articles have appeared in The Gadsden Times’ Faith section’s Paper Pulpit, Seek magazine, as well as publications for Student Life and Woman’s Missionary Union.
Shirley, you are one busy lady! So, why did you choose to write in your particular genre?
Since making disciple-makers is my passion, writing devotionals is a good fit. In a sense, devotionals chose me.
I enjoy your devotions. Share something you wish the reader knew about your book.
Many people with whom I speak think that it’s easy to sit down and write a devotional—and sometimes it is! You see something that you connect with a biblical truth and write. That does not occur within a vacuum or just in my mind. Years of listening to the Word of God preached and taught, personal Bible study, and grappling with the truths of the Word are the foundation upon which I build. Part of the process of writing devotions is a fresh study of the passages I quote or refer to in the devotion.
I agree. In your opinion, what is the hardest part of the writing process?
Culling down the things I want to include in the devotion so that people aren’t overwhelmed with all the details and are able to absorb, understand, and apply the biblical truths through the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
Editing is always hard. 🙂 Here are some fun questions. First draft: Pencil or keyboard?
Keyboard—I often can’t even read my own handwriting!
LOL! I thought I was the only one who had trouble with that. Plotter or pantser?
Mostly pantser. But when writing a devotional book it is important to be a Plotter at least in terms of overall topics. Sometimes those topics remind me of something I have already written, or notes/bullet points I have jotted somewhere. Then I do a biblical study on the topic and that’s where hopefully, the Holy Spirit-directed/led, pantser part comes into play.
Tea or coffee?
In the mornings, after a good meal, with most desserts (crème brulee, coconut cake, pound cake, chocolate anything sweet)—coffee. Hot tea, with honey, no lemon is my comfort drink and what I drink when I’m studying to write and writing.
Favorite thing to do when not working?
Play the piano and study theology.
Good answers! This year’s theme is sharing hope. In Hebrews, the writer tells us to encourage each other while it is called today. Would you please take a moment to share a brief testimony to encourage our readers?
The first three verses of today’s passage lay out what we were before we came to saving faith in Christ. We were dead in our trespasses and sins, disobedient children following the desires of our heart, and deserving of God’s wrath. Basically, we were lost without any hope!
We often assess a situation to be dire or hopeless. For example, sometimes we wrongly convince ourselves that we are so sinful that God could not possibly save us. Then, we read one of many glorious phrases in Scripture—But God—and the whole picture changes!
Ephesians 2:4-7 reminds us that God is rich in mercy—we don’t get what we deserve. Eternal death is what we deserve because of our sin against holy God. We are also reminded not only that God is love, but that He directs His great love toward us. And we are reminded of God’s work of kindness: But although we deserve punishment and eternal death, God … made us alive together with Christ as He redeemed us and made us His children.
When teaching this passage, my friend Earle Carpenter asks, “Are you wearing your grave clothes? Or are you wearing your grace clothes?” He was asking: “Are you living as if you are still dead in your trespasses and sins, or are you living as a new creation in Christ Jesus?”
Regardless of what we are before coming to Christ, He is willing and able to save us from our hopelessness and deadness, to make us alive in Him by His marvelous work of grace. He makes us a new creation ready to serve Him! And that, my friend, is a new beginning indeed!
Wonderful! Thank you for sharing that! Shirley, thank you for being with us this morning and sharing your faith and writing.
Readers, to buy Shirley’s book, click the purchase link below the picture. You can also find out more about Shirley on her Amazon page. The link is below.
Stepping into any new beginning not knowing what is ahead, is exciting and unsettling at the same time. Our Hope, as Christ-followers, rests in knowing that we do not move forward in our own strength, but in the strength of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.
We pray devotions will guide your thoughts toward the biblical truths presented in the background and focal Scripture passages and will help prepare your heart to learn from the Lord as He affirms His steadfast love that gives the strength and hope needed to walk boldly into whatever new beginning the Lord has in store for you.