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Shirley Crowder writes devotions to help people catch “glimpses of God”


Devotional writer and Christian counselor Shirley Crowder will be leading a SCWC workshop via Facebook Live video on Friday, Sept. 18 on writing devotions. She's a longtime Southern Christian Writers Conference member who has led facilitator groups at the annual conference, participated in all three SCWC Book Expos, won first place in the 2019 SCWC Writing Awards, and had a devotional published in the SCWC ebook Day by Day.


Her books include Glimpses of the Savior: 50 Meditations for Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year; Glimpses of Prayer: A Devotional; Hope for New Beginnings: Devotions for the Adventure; Glimpses of God: A Summer Devotional for Women; and Glimpses of God: A Winter Devotional for Women. They are wonderful (and available on Amazon here).


[Shirley's workshop on devotional writing will take place Friday at 4 p.m. CT. in the SCWC Facebook group. Join the group here.)


I recently got a chance to talk to Shirley about her love of writing, counseling, and devotions, and how faith guides everything she does.


When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?


I did well in writing essays in school and began dabbling with prayer journaling when

I was fourteen and I have been consistently journaling since I was seventeen. I didn’t set out to be a writer, but it is one of the myriad ways through which I can make

disciple-makers.


I had not thought of writing for publication until December 2013. Several of those

I was counseling were facing their first Thanksgiving and Christmas since a spouse,

child, or parent died. They asked me to post a “devotional/uplifting” thought on

Facebook every day from Thanksgiving through the New Year. I began posting

things I observed or things from my Bible reading.


In one post I raised the question, “Why do we only sing carols at Christmas?” since

they are so rich in theology. One of my long-time family friends, Harry Butler, left a

comment on that post, “Call me (phone number) … I called! This friend coordinates

writers for The Gadsden (Alabama) Times’ Faith section’s “Paper Pulpit.” He told me to expand one that post and email it to him. "Why limit carols to Christmas?" was published in the online and print editions in February 2014. My articles continue being published—when I have sense enough to write and send them!


How did you get involved in devotional writing in particular?


Through continuation of the holiday Facebook posts. Meanwhile, my Nigeria missionary kid-cousin Harriet E. Michael (who had published devotionals in several publications) and I began talking about expanding those posts and co-writing a devotional book. We self-published Glimpses of the Savior: 30 Meditations for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year. Harriet and I speak of “thinking devotionally” which means we see biblical truths, insights, and lessons everywhere and in everything. Some of our devotional titles reflect this as we hope our devotionals help people catch “glimpses of God” all around them.



Do you feel like your style of writing coincides with your work as a Christian

Biblical counselor?


Absolutely! In fact, my biblical counseling helps hone my devotional writing. Often in counseling sessions, I am helping a counselee see God in the midst of whatever she is struggling. As Christ-followers, we know God is omnipresent (everywhere and always present), However, when trials, struggles, and difficulties come our way, we have a tendency to focus on all the maelstrom around us and forget that God is with us enabling us to

walk through our circumstance with the confidence that He is at work in and through everything!


Tell me a little bit about your counseling career.


I’m a theo-nerd, I love studying theology! I was also blessed to have parents, my

Nigeria missionaries, and countless Christ-followers throughout my life who have

taught and modelled for me how to give hope and help to hurting people through the

Holy Spirit-inspired Word of God I learned to counsel as folks sat around our kitchen table for a meal, or in our living room or dining room, or in the car enroute somewhere. Mom and dad were always listening to people and pointing them to Jesus the only REAL source of hope and help.


During the pandemic, my counseling hours have multiplied exponentially as women

of all ages have struggles with anxiety, fear, loneliness, relationship conflicts, and

suicidal thoughts. A great deal of my counseling is helping women of all ages who are sinking in the throes of addiction—all kinds.


What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a writer?


You must be a pray-er!


Pray before you begin writing. Pray while you are writing. Pray when you complete

the manuscript. Pray when you send it to the editor and/or publisher. Pray for the

editor and illustrator. Pray as it is being produced. Pray as it is launched and

available to the public. Oh, and don’t forget to pray without ceasing!!


Writing is hard work! You need to determine what you want to accomplish with your writing (aka, Why do you want to write?).


For me, writing is one facet of the myriad of ways I make disciple-makers. I want to

get biblical truth in to as many hands as possible through as many ways as possible.

It usually makes a task easier if you are called by God to do that task, which means

he has prepared you with the gifts, talents, abilities, knowledge, training, and

understanding that you need to accomplish the thing for which He has called you.


When you recognize His call, you are to add to all those things training, practice,

training, practice … and so on!


Attend writer’s conferences and take the time to walk through the book tables and

talk to the folks who write what you are interested in writing. One of the gazillion

things I absolutely love about Christian writer’s conferences and book expos is that

Christ-followers are used to sharing their knowledge with others—we call that

disciple-making! Most Christ-following writers are pleased to share their knowledge

with you, give you advice, encourage you, and most importantly, pray with and for

you!



What role does faith play in your writing?


For a person who calls himself or herself a Christian writer, their faith in Christ must

be absolutely solid and be the foundation upon which everything they write

flourishes.


Most of the devotionals I write have come from entries in my journals about things

God has taught (is teaching) me, how God’s mercy and grace redeemed and

forgave my sins of omission and commission, the struggles I have weathered,

glorious blessings the Lord has poured out on me, the fun things that I’ve observed

(or that have happened to me), and so on.


My faith engenders a passion to know God more which propels me to communicate

more with Him in prayer and through the Holy Spirit-inspired Word. The more I know

Him, the deeper my desire to obey His Word and share the truth of His Word with all

those whom He brings across my path.


When a deadline is missed or the cover design is messed up or the editor wants to

change a sentence that you spent four hours crafting, remember God is in control

and at work.


What is your life like outside of writing?


My real job is as a financial secretary at a Baptist Church. I am a member of another

church where I serve as pianist, women’s Sunday school teacher, women’s Bible

study leader, and whatever else comes along!


I love music, particularly piano music! When sit down at the piano I express my

worship to God, I pour out my heart and my hurts, I repent and ask forgiveness for

my sins, and I receive encouragement and strength, which leads me to worship Him

even more. I also love teaching the Bible to those who have served God for decades and for those who have just come to know Him.


I’m a people-watcher. I love to watch people and talk to people and figure out what

makes them tick.


I’m an avid reader. My first choice is always theology. My “To be read” stacks are

high. I prefer to hold a book in my hands and read rather than read an ebook,

particularly if it is something I may teach. Those books I mark up and make notes as

I read so when I’m ready to teach it, my outlines and student handouts are waiting to

be transferred from the book to a word document!


Purple is my favorite color. Dark chocolate and strawberries are my comfort food.


I have never married and have no biological children. I do, however, have spiritual

daughters and sons, as well as granddaughters and grandsons, serving the Lord in

secular and ministry position in 43 states and in 32 countries.


Check out Shirley on Amazon.

Follow her devotional writings on Facebook.

Check out her books at Write Integrity Press.


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