Learning to Shepherd Words

Almost exactly one year ago, I was drying dishes and talking to my husband about an application I’d filled out for a writing mentorship with one of my favorite writers. I told him it was such a longshot and I felt silly even applying, but a few days later I opened an email from Lore Wilbert inviting me into the course. She just announced that she’s offering her writing mentorship again this spring with applications due February 17, and I can’t encourage you enough to consider applying.

When I started the mentorship, she explained how she’d prayed for the Holy Spirit to guide her in choosing the writers who would walk through the course over the next 12 weeks. I didn’t know - couldn’t have known - reading those words that day just how much the Lord would use this mentorship in my life.

The day I finished my first assignment was the day I later stood in an emergency room with my family as a doctor and close family friend shared with us that my Uncle Lee had passed away from a heart attack. The next days, weeks, months all seem to run together in my mind. I considered quitting the mentorship because the timing felt so inconvenient and cruel, but at my husband’s suggestion I emailed Lore and decided to work through whatever assignments I felt like I could handle. That week, between funeral preparation and some of the most difficult conversations I’ve ever been part of, it felt like a dam had broken inside me and words poured out like water - uncontainable, easy, fast.

With Lore’s guidance and encouragement to be, in the words of Eugene Peterson, a “care-filled shepherd of words,” I found myself better equipped to navigate the grief that threatened to drown me. I found myself rewriting words and working out my salvation on paper, easily identifying the lies I was believing about who God is because they were written down.

I didn’t apply for this writing mentorship expecting the Lord to teach and comfort me in such profound ways. More than the writing advice (which was superb) and the guidance (which was excellent) and the comments and corrections (which were grace-filled and oh so helpful), the constant focus on the Lord and the ways we can experience his love through writing were what made this mentorship something so pivotal in my life.

All of that to say: if I could participate again this year, I would in half a heartbeat. But I have a sneaking suspicion there are other writers out there the Holy Spirit has chosen to lead into this experience. Maybe you don’t consider yourself a writer (I didn’t) and maybe you think it’s a longshot and feel silly applying (I did.) In all honesty, I hope your experience does not mirror mine - who would wish the death of a close family member on anyone? - but I absolutely think this course can be just as impactful in your life, your vocation, your salvation as it was in mine.

If you want to read more about it, Lore posted information on her blog here.