Definition of Friendship
Last week I introduced Mesu Andrews to begin a new series of joy-finders: authors whose books reflect the authentic hope and joy I’ve seen in their own lives. This week, I’d like you to meet another joy finder who is also a good friend.
“Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.” Proverbs 27:9, ESV
I could paraphrase that verse to say,
“Writing and PSL’s (pumpkin spice lattes) make my heart glad, and the sweetness of my friend comes from her earnest counsel.”
I met Beth K. Vogt at BRMCWC (Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer Conference) several years ago. She taught a workshop that dissected The Princess Bride. No one but God knew that when I signed up for the conference, I felt this would be my last conference unless “something” happened. I prayed for God to show me whether I should keep trying or just give up writing. At that point, I couldn’t even finish a manuscript but Beth’s teaching made sense. When I saw that she was offering fifteen-minute mentoring sessions, I signed up.
A Friend Helps
I brought with me a sad little collection of ideas that I called a book. It had undergone so many changes through the years as I tried to follow the trends. It had no plot and very shallow characters. The longest version was around 40,000 words. Forty-five minutes later, I had tools to create a great plot and deepen my characters as well as what would turn into a life-long friendship.
A Friend Shares
In addition to teaching at conferences and workshops, Beth is a regular speaker on Susan May Warren’s Novel Academy, as well as an award-winning author. When she’s not busy writing novels, novellas, shorts, e-books, articles and numerous guest posts, she’s also the team photographer for her youngest child’s athletic team. Yet, somewhere in that very-full schedule, Beth makes time to encourage other writers and I’m so blessed to be on the receiving end of some of that encouragement.
A Friend Encourages
So how does a friend encourage? The very word, “encourage,” means to inspire with hope, courage, or spirit. Beth offers biblical advice that reminds me God is in control of every situation. She gives me the courage to write. There have been so many times that she’ls pulled me along, forcing out of my comfort zone so I can become a better writer. She understands my chronic illness, but she doesn’t let me wallow in self-pity. Yet when it crushes me, she helps me find my joy again by praying for me and lifting me up spiritually.
As Beth Vogt’s About Page says, “Following God through that door doesn’t mean we’re on ‘easy street,’‘even though we’re where he wants us to be.” And her books reflect our real, messy life but offers the same hope and courage that is woven through her own life. So if you’re looking for books about real life and real love to inspire you with joy and truth from an author with an authentic spirit, check out her award-winning books on her website, Goodreads, Christian Book Distributors, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.