LenaLena Nelson Dooley - Characters who grip your heart - lives in Texas with her husband James.   They are active in several ministries of their church.   She speaks at retreats and conferences.   Both she and James are interested in missions and have been on several foreign mission trips.   A full-time author and editor, Lena holds a BA in Speech and Drama.   She has had several novels published by Heartsong Presents and novels or novellas in eight collections. 

Favorite Verse: Philippians 3:10 (NKJV) "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death."



 The Fatherís Heart: by Lena Nelson Dooley

As a fiction author, I tell stories. But not just to be telling stories. I apply the Father’s heart to every one, hoping that readers will come to know Him because of my words.


Maybe you don’t understand God’s heart for you. Let me share a few things He has said about you.


Zephaniah 3:17 - The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. NKJV


Just think about that. Father God rejoices over you with singing. Wow! What a thought.


Jeremiah 1:5a  Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; NKJV


God created you unique and special in his eyes. The ability to write, or any of your other talents were especially chosen for you by God.


We can grieve God’s heart, but only because we make choices that break the connection between ourselves and the Father. It doesn’t make Him love us any less.


Psalm 139:13-16  For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. NKJV 

Psalm 17:8 Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings, NKJV


Jeremiah 29:11-12 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. NIV


Ephesians 1:3-4  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, NKJV


We’ve all heard these words, but do we really believe them. Now that you know what you mean to God, listen to this word to you.

Habakuk 2:2-3  And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. KJV 

God has spoken a vision into your heart. You need to write it down and believe that He will bring it to pass at His appointed time.


Now let’s look at the Father’s heart. No one knew the Father’s heart like Jesus did. The whole reason that Jesus came to earth was for people. The Father’s heart is that no man should perish.


We all need to get to know the Father’s heart more than we ever have. One way to do that is to read all the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament. Get a red-letter edition of the Bible and read all the red letters.


Jesus talked more about eternity than anything else. The only thing that makes it to the other side is people. Be gripped with the reality of eternity. The stakes are too high not to share Jesus with others–our neighbors, people we meet in the store, and especially our readers.



When you look at people, try to see eternity in them. Jesus did. He would look at sinners and see saints.


Who else could have seen purity in a prostitute?

Who else could have seen a giver in Zacchaeus?

Who else could have seen boldness in a weak disciple?


What does He see in you? Ask Him, and let Him speak it into your heart. It will revolutionize what you feel about yourself and about God’s call on you to write.


He wants us to do what He had been doing when Jesus walked on the earth. He did ministry to show us what He wants us to do. It took the disciples three years to get it. How long is it going to take us to get what He wants us to get–to see people the way he sees them? All our writing, whether fiction or non-fiction should have an eternal purpose–to point others to their only hope for their lives today and for eternity.



Look at what you’ve been writing. Are there weak areas? Plots that don’t really pan out, characters you can’t get a grip on. Or who don’t grip your heart.


Look at what God told you about why he gave you the gift of putting words together to make stories. Apply that knowledge to your stories, and you’ll see them come alive.


II Timothy 2:15  tells us to Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. KJV

 As you apply God’s vision for you to your writing, reach out to Christian organizations, conferences, and other writers, who can help you learn what you need to know to make your stories sing. When you’ve diligently studied and learned what you need to know to make your stories strong, they will be published. Then the readers who need to read the message you have to share will be reached through your stories.




More Books by Lisa Nelson Dooley
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Web Resources for Writers

There are many web sites with great information for Christian writers. Below are some that you might find helpful.


  • American Christian Fiction Writers
  • Christian Writers Fellowship International

  • The Christian Writer's Manual of Style
  • Writer's Digest
  • Writer's Market
  • The Writer's Magazine
  • Christian Writer's Market Guide
  • ACW Press
  • Writer's Edge (Manuscript Service)

  • More Author Tips

     • Words of Advice: Chris Fabry

     • Writing Advice: Maureen Lang