October 01, 2018

The Story Behind the Story by Sandi Somers

Creative Nonfiction magazine has sometimes featured an article on the background of a writer’s particular work. They called it, “The Story Behind the Story.” Sometimes these background stories are as interesting—or more interesting—than the story itself. Our own Sally Meadows recently wrote a blog that illustrates perfectly this concept.
All of us can tell how we conceptualized, planned and wrote a particular work, or what happened after it was published. This is our topic for October.
Ministry in Refreshing
Years ago, my work situation had been conflict-ridden and I was frustrated. And yet as I read Isaiah 41:18, God spoke into my spirit, “I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys”.
And so it was that a few months later I travelled through the dry
plain in Washington State, through an area that was irrigated and producing lush vegetable gardens, fruit trees and hay crops. As I left the valley, I was surprised to see an irrigated orchard partway up the pass, and then another at the top of the pass. I expected lush groves in the valley, but not on the heights!

It was a mystery how water could reach the heights. It was a mystery how God would water my dry spirit. And yet it was a visual reminder of God’s promise from Isaiah that He would refresh me. My response was to leave everything in Gods’ hands. He would make all things work together for my good and for His greatest glory.
* * *
I wrote that story as a devotional, and it was published in The Upper Room. Some time later, I received a letter (this was before emails) from a woman in Yakima, Washington, asking where I had seen these groves. She shared how she and her Bible study group used The Upper Room as one of their study guides, and the group was pleased that a devotional was written about a location close to home. It was great to know that my words had refreshed their spirits.
PS. In a return letter, I told her that I had stopped in Yakima to pick up a small bottle of mouthwash. Walmart, where I had stopped, was holding a special sale, and I picked up three pairs of shoes, a purse, a jean skirt and jean dress, all for $59. And I shared how my less-than-a-dollar mouthwash had cost $59.Perhap this too was a confirmation of how God could supply refreshment and abundance for my needs.

Now it’s your turn. I look forward to hearing your story behind the story.


  1. Love this story! I am really looking forward to this month's posts. It is always so interesting to hear what inspired someone to write something.

  2. Thanks for this neat story, Sandi. A visual can often help me grasp something in regard to faith. My sister Joan used the thought of putting a prayer request about a worry into a basket. Then she would visualize this basket on its way to God. If the worry came to mind again, she would say to herself, That's okay. I put that in the basket.

  3. Also, Sandi, that's wonderful that this woman contacted you to let you know they appreciated your devotional. May rivers flow on our barren mountains!


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