Victoriously Persistent

Jan Cline encourages NCWA in our writing journey.

My husband and I stayed in Lewiston, Idaho recently. We drove down the Snake River along the Washington side, heading toward Hell’s Canyon. The farther we traveled, the more interesting the terrain. I couldn’t help but notice the tenaciousness of the river—carving its way through the canyon with determination. There is something about nature that teaches us truths for our lives, our dreams and ambitions, don’t you think?

I was reminded of a quote by Oswald Chambers:

“A river is victoriously persistent, it overcomes all barriers. For a while it goes steadily on its course, then it comes to an obstacle and for a while it is baulked, but it soon makes a pathway round the obstacle. Or a river will drop out of sight for miles, and presently emerge again broader and grander than ever. Never get your eyes on the obstacle or on the difficulty. The obstacle is a matter of indifference to the river…”

Isn’t this true of our writing journey? Our imagination births an idea and we write it. But the path we take after that is sometimes daunting. We flow along, winding down the canyon until we meet an obstacle. It may be a manuscript rejection or a harsh critique, or a disappointing reaction from a loved one who read our latest masterpiece. That boulder of discouragement looks like it will block our path—dam up the whole process.

Then we find a way around the obstruction by learning from the rejections, critiques and emotions. We keep going, making our way to the ocean of our dreams. Our mission is to become like the river—undaunted by the obstacle. The twists and turns we make are part of the path we are meant to follow, even when we don’t know which direction we’ll go next.

I never could have imagined that I would detour my writing journey to become founder and director of a writers conference. It was a bend in the river that took me by surprise. But I knew it was my chance to facilitate other writers to fulfill their dreams. My personal journey has profited in the process as well. The most important lesson I have learned along the way is that God will often place boulders in our path. At first they look like barriers or stop signs. But after prayerful consideration, we may find they are merely tests of faith. We are stronger for having accepted them as part of the flow of our journey. Our writing is better because we have pressed on.

I hope you’ll imagine yourself to be a river of words and imagination. Don’t let the obstacles become barriers. Find your path around them and stay on the journey. The ocean is waiting to be fed.


Photo of Snake River by Northwest Voyageurs. Used by kind permission.

Jan is a freelance writer, aspiring author and speaker from Spokane. She has been a member of NCWA since 2010 and  is director of the Inland Northwest Christian Writers Conference held in March each year. She writes Inspirational Historical Romance and non-fiction. Visit her website at The conference website is


7 thoughts on “Victoriously Persistent

  1. Thanks for your encouraging words and the image of the river. This Saturday I teach a workshop at the Oregon Christian Writers’ conference on a similar topic: Writing in Adversity.

    Thanks for pressing on and directing a conference. Many writers will stay on their journey because you did!


  2. Great thoughts, Jan, and a detour for your writing is a blessing to many others. We’re so thankful for your “victorious persistence.” Will pray for details and blessing for the Conference.


  3. What a thoughtful analogy! Thank you, Jan.

    For me, the most difficult part of the journey is when the river goes hiding, presumably still flowing underground, but I’m left on the topside and can’t see what’s happening–you know, that space of time after you have reached out with a query or submission to an editor or an agent, and you’re waiting to see where, or even if, the river will re-emerge.

    Distracting myself with new, shorter projects, and lots of prayer are the only ways I can get through it!


    • Good luck Lydia. I know you will do well and be a blessing.

      Thanks for the prayers Mindy, my friend.

      Sonja, it’s often in the times we cant see the river that we have the opportunity to practice our faith. And it’s always such a thrill to see it re-emerge in all it’s glory. I like the shorter projects idea, I do the same. 🙂

      Judy, thanks so much. Love that Snake River!


      • You are so right!

        I forgot one other important thing that keeps me going–the support of writing friends and groups like NCWA!


  4. What a terrific analogy! Love it. I graduated from high school in Orofino, a town near Lewiston, so am familiar with that area. I loved being a part of NCWA when I lived in WA, and I get to Spokane periodically to see a close friend although I’m now in Iowa. Your post encouraged me as a writer, but also brought back a flood of memories! Thanks.


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