Two years ago I headed cross-country to a writers’ residency. Early chapters were forged, later chapters were forming. Those five days would not only sharpen the current drafts but also define drafts to follow. I could hardly wait.
On day three a mentor slashed the chapters. The content, the style, and especially the voice were inappropriate to the story. I was astonished. She continued. They were inapt because I was inept, both as observer and communicator. My mind went numb. My fellow residents shifted in their seats. I could hardly wait to jump out of mine.
That afternoon the Lord initiated treatment.
Rehearse what she said and determine which comments were correct and which ones were
not. Sift them, keep the true ones, and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away, as
Dinah Mulock Craik counseled.
Turn your eyes to Me. Keep looking at Me—My character, My ways.
Consider the source. She has a proven record of writing and being published.
Consider her risk. Even though she could not guess how you would respond, nor did she have anything to gain by harsh critique, she risked, using painful candor.
Faithful wounds are better than deceitful kisses.
and another stitch
Look at the submission with different eyes.
She shocked you out of arrogant naivete. She has invited you to improve.
still another stitch
Choose a healthy response. Vengeful options—criticism, ridicule, gossip, slander—feel pleasant for a moment; but only forgiveness can ultimately satisfy and set free.
how many stitches will there be?
First, turn toward her. Ask her questions. Listen to her answers. Learn all you can from her. Genuinely thank her for her help.
Second, turn to Me. I have called you. I am faithful to you, even in this pain. And through this pain we will know each other far better. You’ll thank me for it.
And I have. My soul bears that day’s mark. By it--that faithful wound--I am tutored and encouraged.