A prayer to write for a prestigious Christian magazine has been answered.
Jeanette Levellie recently won a writing contest to attend a workshop about writing for Guidepost Magazine, a publication with a readership of more than 2 million.
Levellie and her writing partner, Diane Stark of Brazil, Ind. — another winner — will join eight others who were selected for the honor in early October at Rye, N.Y., for the four-day hands-on writing conference.
“God sent us a miracle,” said Levellie. “What are the chances that both of us won with the thousands and thousands of entries. It is exactly our prayers coming true.”
She wrote seven stories for the contest and spent nearly a year revising and improving the work before submission.
Her winning story told of Paris resident Beth Ruff’s near death experience from a brain aneurysm. Levellie ghost wrote — or wrote under another name — for that particular story.
Guideposts requires a specific type of writing focusing on people’s faith in God and how they overcome challenges through faith.
“I have been published in various types of magazines and authored several books, but I so wanted to try to learn to write for Guideposts,” said Levellie.
The publishing house for Guideposts also has five additional publications — Angels on Earth, Mysterious Ways, All Creatures, Mornings with Jesus and 60 Days of Prayers.
Writing has been Levellie’s passion since high school and she started pursuing it seriously more than 38 years ago when her son was an infant.
Levellie considers writing and public speaking as God’s gifts to her.
“Writing is my calling,” said Levellie. “When I was a young kid I was called a chatterbox and people made fun of me, but it is really the gift that God gave me to be a communicator.”
According to Levellie, she is privileged to have learned so much about God’s word, and she is compelled to share that knowledge with others who may be questioning their faith or struggling with other issues.
Story ideas come to her in different ways but mostly through normal daily experiences.
“I get my ideas from everyday life. When something happens I will see the spiritual value of it and write a story,” Levellie said.
One example is her three-year-old grandson’s temptation with a mud puddle. She was taking the child out to eat when they encountered a large mud puddle beckoning for a boy to jump in and splash about.
“I led him around the puddle, but it was a big temptation for a toddler to play in,” she said.
For her story, the analogy is that life is muddy but Jesus says follow me and keeps people out of trouble.
Levellie and her husband, Kevin, have two grown children and three grandchildren.
She also attributes story ideas to living in a loving community. Levellie moved to Paris from Los Angeles several years ago.
“I have to brag on Paris and the people who have welcomed us here,” she said. “One factor to help me find ideas is the farming community and living in the country versus being in the city. This atmosphere is a great place to begin creativity.”
Levellie especially enjoys writing devotionals that combine short stories and Bible scripture with lessons about how the stories can help the reader through faith and prayer.
With assistance from another writing partner, Beth Gormond of Farmersburg, Ind., Levellie recently finished writing a book, “Hello Beautiful,” which is an interactive devotional for women.
“It is targeted for women to have confidence and realize they are worthy of God’s love,” she said.
The new book features short stories, Bible applications, interactive journaling and even coloring.
Levellie attributes her writing success to God and plans to continue writing, with God’s help.
“Without God I would not be able to accomplish anything in my life,” she said. “Sometimes I will look back at my articles thinking, ‘I am not smart enough to do that but God is.’ He has fulfilled my prayers.”