The Ministry of Writing with Jeaninne Stokes (Re-Air)

23 February 2024

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Is there a call you’ve been resisting? No matter how you’ve tried to ignore it, have you heard God’s voice that just won’t seem to leave you alone? Do you know deep in your soul that you are supposed to write, yet you hesitate to take the first step and actually start writing?


This week’s Publishing Secrets guest, Jeaninne Stokes, ignored God’s call to leave her full-time job for an entire year, but it kept coming back until she finally obeyed. Jeaninne describes her journey as leaving Egypt and entering the wilderness, but God carried her through into a writing ministry through which she is now able to help other Christian writers answer God’s call on their own lives. Listen and let Jeaninne encourage you to obey God’s prompting, reignite the fire, and write the message He has given you. 


In this episode, you’ll also hear:


  • The importance of obeying God’s call, even if you don’t think you’re qualified
  • How God supplied “manna” for Jeaninne during her writing journey
  • How to write your story in a way that helps people connect with it
  • Why Jeaninne refers to writing as a ministry
  • What kind of writers this world needs right now
  • Jeaninne’s advice on returning to your “burning bush” for renewal and motivation when the journey gets tough


Obeying the Call to Leave

In her book Lessons from the Writing Wilderness, Jeaninne Stokes shares the story of leaving her full-time job to pursue a ministry in writing — or, as she puts it, “leaving the ‘Egypt,’ if you will, of my career, journeying through the wilderness of preparation, and then finally entering my promised land to become an author.”


Jeaninne says she truly loved her job at the time. So when she first heard God calling her to leave, she ignored the prompting for about a year. But God kept trying to get her attention. From an audible voice telling her it was time to go to the words “never be afraid to give up the good to go for the great” mysteriously appearing on her computer screen, the nudges from God became too obvious for her to continue ignoring them. 


Despite not knowing why God wanted her to leave her job — or what she was supposed to do once she left — Jeaninne obeyed. Now, she encourages others to be obedient to God’s call, even if it doesn’t seem to make sense. 


“God will not reveal anything else to you as to what He wants you to do until you take that first step of obedience,” she explains. “And that’s what I had to do.”

Preparing in the Wilderness

After taking that first step of obedience, Jeaninne found herself at home alone, uncertain of what to do next. But that alone time allowed her to ask God for guidance and to listen for His answer. “When you make yourself an available instrument,” she says now, “God will start speaking and making His plans known.”


The first answer Jeaninne received was to get up at 4:00 AM every morning, go to her office, read the story of Moses and the Israelites, and write down the lessons she learned from it. Only after she obeyed this call did Jeaninne begin to understand the purpose for it. 


“God started speaking to me and saying, ‘I’m having you read this because you’re going to be going on a similar journey. I’ve called you out of your Egypt and put you into the wilderness to prepare for a writing ministry,’” Jeaninne recalls. 


Although she didn’t necessarily want to undergo this “wilderness” period of preparation, Jeaninne came to understand over time that it was necessary. “Before you can do anything great, you’ve got to prepare for that great,” she explains.


For Jeaninne, preparation meant not only becoming a better writer, but also growing in her faith and learning to trust in God’s provision and guidance. She didn’t consider herself qualified for ministry, but as she continued to follow God’s leading, He continued to provide exactly what she needed for each day — just as He provided food and water for the Israelites in the wilderness. 

Learning to Be Vulnerable

Although Jeaninne had written numerous devotionals, Lessons from the Writing Wilderness was especially challenging to write, because it required her to be more vulnerable and transparent in her writing than ever before. Sharing her personal struggles and hardships with the world was difficult — but it was also important.


“I came to realize that people need to hear your story,” she says. “People connect with your story.” Through transparently sharing the story of her writing journey, Jeaninne has been able to help others who are going through similar “wilderness” experiences by offering them hope and encouragement.


It was a difficult journey, but Jeaninne says that once her book was finished, she felt a strong sense of closure and relief. “I felt like I had given birth, and that I was now able to really go out and help other aspiring Christian writers,” she adds.

Understanding the Ministry of Writing

For many people, ministry is something that happens from the pulpit of a church or out on the streets. But, as Jeaninne has learned, writing can be a powerful ministry as well. What’s more, Jeaninne argues that writing is an essential ministry.


“The world needs good writers,” she says. “The world needs people who are willing to write from God’s perspective and not our own, in light of the hope and hurt and all that’s going on in our world. God calls people He wants to use to write, to share His Word, to spread His gospel. And it took me a while to understand that if I’m doing that as a writer, then that is my pulpit.” 


As writers, we can share the good news of Jesus with a much wider audience than we might otherwise be able to reach. So it’s vital that we obey God’s calling on our lives and write the message He has given us to share with the world around us. After all, if He can use ordinary people to write the Bible itself, what might He use your written words to accomplish?

Returning to the Burning Bush

Maybe you, like Jeaninne, have felt God tugging at your heart to pursue a ministry in writing, but you’re hesitating to obey the call. If that’s you, Jeaninne advises following the example of Moses. Go back to your “burning bush” moment and remind yourself that God has called you to do this — and He’ll provide the ability and resources if you will just take that first step of obedience. 


“You’re going to have your doubts, you’re going to have your struggles,” Jeaninne says in closing. “But you have to go back to the burning bush, to remind yourself of the call that God has placed upon your life, and find a renewal there.”


Meet Jeaninne

, The Ministry of Writing with Jeaninne Stokes (Re-Air)

After beginning her career in higher education and on the trajectory to retire, Jeaninne’s life was going the way she planned it until she heard the call to step away to prepare for a career in ministry as a Christian author and Bible-teacher. In 2002 Jeaninne answered the call. She took a leap of faith and left her career to prepare for a new career in ministry as a Christian author, speaker and Bible-teacher. After a season of preparation, in 2015 she founded JStokes Writing Ministries and began her writing ministry by publishing her first book, Living by Faith, a collection of inspirational poetry. Since the publication of her first book, she has authored four more books. Jeaninne has also written numerous devotions and articles and her writings have been published in Cross and Quill, The Christian Communicator, Harmony on the Go and Christian Woman Today Online. In 2009, she founded Inspiration for Living Ministries, her ministry platform where she walks out her calling as a Bible-teacher offering books, keynote messages and other inspirational resources to help people grow in their walk with the Lord.


Combining her experience and background as a former educator and her passion to help others being called to the ministry of writing like she was called to do, in 2012 Jeaninne also launched Writing For Him, a ministry designed to help prepare aspiring Christian authors to write and publish for the Christian marketplace. Her service offerings include personal coaching, workshops and keynote messages for Christian writing conferences.


Jeaninne’s formal education includes a B.B.A in Business Administration from the University of North Texas and a M.Ed in General Education from Texas Christian University. She is a self-taught writer and her training to write professionally included attending numerous writing conferences, participating in several online classes, reading books on the craft, studying the writings of great Christian authors, and the daily practice of writing to perfect her craft.


Jeaninne resides in Arlington, TX with her husband and two young adult children. In her spare time, she enjoys walking, reading, watching old movies, listening to old school music and rooting for her favorite professional football team.


Visit Jeaninne’s website here. Connect with Jeaninne on X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook.

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