Today’s Pondering~Say that…


The book of Esther is an odd one. Not because of the monumental message it brings about justice and courage, but because there is actually no mention of God throughout the entire book. No mention, yet we know He is all over the situation. Only God could bring things together the way that He does. Only God could bring about the very appropriate resolution that we see in Esther. It is one of my favorite books in the Bible aside from Daniel. God’s name didn’t need to be mentioned in order for the reader to understand His presence on every page.

I often receive manuscripts that make no mention of God or Jesus but are very-much filled with evidence of His work. In some cases, the author acknowledges that God was the source of his or her healing. In other cases, they don’t seem to think twice about whether or not He was there. It’s always difficult to know which books He means for me to publish, and which are sent to throw me off balance. So, my review process takes a while and is accompanied by much prayer and consideration before I can make a decision. And those whose work I end up rejecting don’t always take it well. Though it is not my intention to make someone feel bad, I can’t always say yes to a submission and rejection always hurts.

In reviewing some submissions this evening, I started thinking again about why I do what I do. I was given this task as a means of helping others come to know God and how He works in our lives. If what I read points to something other than God, I have to reject it. It’s not on mission and it isn’t what I’m meant to deliver to readers. For example, I receive many books where someone has survived a trauma and part of what helped them in their healing process was writing everything out. In some cases, they write from a place that is definitely healed and from where God’s presence is evident in their account of the experience. In others, maybe the person has healed enough to function again, but is still holding onto a great deal of anger and pain because they haven’t allowed God to heal them fully. Their words would not be instructional to others and might only serve to fuel unnecessary anger or hate where what needs to happen is understanding, synthesis, and allowing God to repair the brokenness that has occurred. There is a big difference in the tone and intent of these stories. And my job is to sort that out and choose accordingly, no matter who likes it.

So, I look at these stories like I look at the book of Esther. What’s the overall message? Where is it coming from? Can you feel the faith in the words that have been written? Or is it just painful to read? Do I come away from it feeling empowered? Or do I just feel victimized all over again? These are important questions to consider. I don’t want to add to someone’s burden by sharing or promoting something that will do more harm than good. And that’s sometimes difficult for people to understand when they have poured their hearts into writing through their feelings. A decent book may, in fact, be embedded somewhere in all they’ve written, but it may not be there at that particular stage of the healing process. There is usually quite a bit to sort through when processing a traumatic experience and we may not be in the right head space to share any of it for a very long time after it happens. And while everyone does have a story, it may not be a story that is ready to be told at the exact moment they decide to share it.

For example, it took me many years to open up about my miscarriages and the pain that I went through as a result of losing five babies at various stages of pregnancy. I certainly could have written volumes about the pain I was experiencing shortly after it happened, but it wouldn’t have been writing worthy of sharing at that point. It would have been filled with too much rage and brokenness to do anything buy hurt others who were either going through the same thing or who had the good fortune of not going through it. I wasn’t in a good place then and that wouldn’t have been the time to share. But now, some fifteen years later, I’ve dealt with the pain. I’ve come to terms with the reasons why it had to happen. I’ve resolved the issues I had with it and am healed enough to try and create something to help others see a way out of their own darkness. That’s when it’s safe to write about our traumas. That’s when it makes sense to let others know that we’ve been through the battle, and we’ve come out victorious.

Getting back to the point I was making before, HGBM publishes books that are meant to point to God as the source of our healing or as the ultimate guide when we are lost. We don’t exist to shine a light on any author’s ego. Instead, we want stories that show that the author knows who was walking with him or her through whatever trials they’ve come through. We want stories that lift up what’s good about this life that He has given us and help us to understand that there is more to following God than just memorizing Bible verses and communicating in the latest trendy Christian-speak. We want stories with teeth. Stories that aren’t the product of fads or surface interactions. What’s really happening out there? If Jesus were walking among us, what would He see? That’s what we want to talk about. And if a book doesn’t call Jesus out by name, that’s okay. But we should feel His presence on the page. We should see that it was His influence that brought forth the story. That’s our goal. Because He is in everything. Even if some choose not to acknowledge Him, that doesn’t mean He’s not there.

Rebecca Benston is the owner of Higher Ground Books & Media and the author of over twenty titles currently available through Amazon and other outlets. Her books include a mystery series (The Rona Shively Stories), empowerment resources such as Wise Up to Rise Up, Don’t Be Stupid (And I Mean That in the Nicest Way), and From Judgment to Jubilee, children’s books including Grumble D. Grumble Learns to Smile, All the Scary Things, and See How Strong You Are. Benston lives in Springfield, Ohio with her awesome daughter, Mya and enjoys traveling, reading, writing, and telling it like it is. She enjoys being able to help other authors get their stories out there through Higher Ground and has recently expanded her freelance services to offer more extensive guidance as a writing coach and social media manager. For more information, you can contact Benston at highergroundbooksandmedia@gmail.com.

Higher Ground Books & Media is accepting submissions for the 2023 calendar year. Currently, we’re seeking stories of faith in Young Adult Fiction, Bible Study/Devotional, and Biography/Memoir.

Be sure to check out our submission guidelines before submitting. Also, our FAQs are available on our website here.

We love to tell the story!

answers author beliefs Bible books faith fear God loss miscarriage people prayer publishing purpose relationships self-expression Uncategorized writer

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My name is Rebecca Benston. I’m a Christian. I’m a woman. I’m a mother. I’m a writer. I’m a thinker. When I write fiction, I am usually writing a mystery series called The Rona Shively Stories. My P.I. character, Rona Shively is feisty, fearless and fabulous and is usually caught up in something she doesn’t want to be caught up in. In addition to this series, I also have a blog called Higher Ground for Life. Through this blog, I’m hoping to reach women or anyone who is seeking to develop a relationship with God and give them inspiration to get out there and follow His path for their lives!
I also have a blog called Leading the Follower. This one is my favorite. I write about religion, faith, spirituality and all that goes along with it. What we believe, what we don’t believe, what we are told to believe and how society feels about believing in general. I do a lot of testifying here and some of what I say may make you angry. Most of it will make you think. Some of it will make you cry. Any of it could make you laugh. It’s really up to you.

If you are looking for practical advice, honest conversation, and no nonsense observations about living in today’s world, check out my blogs at http://highergroundbooksandmedia.com and http://www.ronashively.wordpress.com and http://www.highergroundforlife.wordpress.com and http://www.leadingthefollower.wordpress.com. And if you’re so inclined, you can purchase my books and some other great, inspirational works from Higher Ground Books & Media at http://highergroundbooksandmedia.com.

Be blessed!

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