Southern Christian Writers Conference member Shirley Crowder's newest book, Glimpses of God: A Spring Devotional for Women (authors with Harriet E. Michael), is available now and provides insightful reflections on a special season in a Christian's life. The book is part of the "Glimpses of God" series, which also includes installments for Winter and Summer.
Shirley works as a Financial Secretary at a Baptist church and serves as pianist and Sunday school teacher at the Baptist church where she's a member. "I strive to be a disciple- maker in all that I do," she says. "That disciple-making manifests itself through teaching Bible
studies, speaking at conferences, and my piano playing. I love to read. I’m a theo-nerd, so I love to read theology books, especially those written by early church fathers and the Puritans. I also read a good many biblical counseling books."
Shirley claims spiritual children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren serving the
Lord in the States and in about 40 countries throughout the world.
This year, she'll be a part of the Southern Christian Writers Conference Prayer Team during the June 4-5 annual workshop; she and her team members will pray for requests brought up during the weekend and also be open to talking with and counseling participants.
I recently had the chance to talk to Shirley about her newest release, as well as her love of devotional writing.
Tell me a little bit about your current writing activity and projects.
I am actively juggling two writing projects, both devotionals.
Anyone who knows me or has read the devotional books I’ve co-written, will know that I love music and often use hymn lyrics in devotions. This will be a 4- book devotional series. And, I have yet to begin on two other hymn-based devotional books. I’m hoping this will be out this year in early winter.
I’m working on another devotional collaboration with my dear brother in Christ, Dr. Mark Shaw. This will be another devotional for addicts. We are hoping it will be out this year in late summer.
How did you get into devotional writing, and what devotional books do you have available?
I didn’t set out to write devotions. I do a great deal of biblical counseling. One year
three of the women I was counseling were working through, by God’s grace, horrendous experiences in their lives. All three made basically the same remark to me in individual counseling sessions during the same week: “You’re going to have to text me every morning for encouragement from Thanksgiving into the New Year.” At about the same time, a friend encouraged—actually challenged--me to do the same.
As I prayed about this, the Lord laid on my heart to post an encouragement
(devotional thought) on my social media each day beginning the week of Thanksgiving through the New Year.
A long-time friend of my family who is responsible for coordinating writings for “The
Paper Pulpit” in the Saturday edition of The Gadsden (Alabama) Times, saw one of those posts and asked me to expand it to 400 words and submit it for publication. Meanwhile, my life-long friend and fellow Nigeria missionary kid, Harriet Michael, who writes devotions told
me I should write a devotional book. I emailed and asked her to consider co-writing a devotional book with me. So, she helped me turn some of my social media posts into real devotions. Glimpses of the Savior: 30 Meditations for Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year was the result of that collaboration.
I've also written non-devotional books, including Paul the Counselor: Counseling and Disciple-Making Modeled by the Apostle (co-wrote Chapter 11: "Paul and Women in Ministry"), Prayer Warrior Confessions with Harriet E. Michael (true accounts of prayer in
action), and Study Guide on Prayer—A Companion to Prayer: It’s Not About Me.
What do you most like about writing devotions?
I grew up watching my mom and dad observe people and the things going on around them. They taught me to look for hurting people whom I could help. They also taught me to look for the “glimpses of God” in and through everything. My friend Harriet and I call that “thinking devotionally.” What we mean is that we see biblical truth in everything.
I really like writing devotions for they stretch me in many ways. I begin with the thing I experienced or observed and the biblical truth that came to mind. Sometimes I sit and the thoughts and biblical truth flows freely and a I write a devotion in about 10 minutes. Other times, I need to stop and thoroughly study the Scripture relating to the topic to be sure I have a good understanding of what the passage means so that I correctly represent God’s Word in what I write. That intensive Bible study is what I like best about devotional writing. Often people ask me how long or how much I have to study in order to write a devotional. They
are taken aback when I say, “About sixty years!” Even though I may need to do a little deeper studying, the Lord has been gracious to teach me so much of His Word and how to apply it to real life situations.
I pray the Lord will be pleased to use the devotions I write to bring readers closer to
Him and that they develop a passion to know Him better.
How does faith play a part in your writing (not just devotions, but any writing)?
Faith, in terms of my relationship with God, is essential for my writing. It is imperative
that I carefully guard my relationship with Christ, making certain that I stay in the Word (read, study, memorize, meditate, and contemplate), pray (listen and speak), obey His Word, and when the Holy Spirit convicts me of sin, that I am quick to repent of sin and walk in the freedom of His forgiveness.
Faith, in terms of trust and belief in God, is essential. I lean on Him for direction as He supplies the wisdom, discernment, and understanding that informs my gifts, talents, education, experiences, emotions, and thoughts, and enables me to write. My prayer is that God will be glorified in and through my writing.
How long have you been involved with the SCWC?
With the friendships I have developed, it feels as though I’ve been involved
forever, however, it has been just under four years. (Pictured below: Shirley with SCWC coordinator Cheryl Wray.)
My SCWC family is very special to me. They provide prayer, encouragement, and
teaching. I have developed close relationships with many SCWC folks. I appreciate all the ways that SCWC encourages, supports, challenges, equips us!
What words of advice and encouragement would you give to your fellow writers?
Make certain that you use Scripture and faith-conversations appropriately in your
writing. Get to know other Christ-followers who write. Not just those who write the same genre as you, but those who write in a variety of genres. You will get invaluable advice and encouragement in and through your interactions with them.
Get involved in SCWC and other writers’ groups. Participate in conferences,
workshops, book expos, social media groups, contests, and everything else they
provide. Don’t give up! Ask the Lord to help you every step of the way.
For more information:
Read Shirley's blog: Through the Lens of Scripture
Learn more about the Southern Christian Writers Conference: