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DSC00827Words – that vehicle of expression that conveys to another the sharing of information, encouragement and understanding – attempts to put into language that which is felt and experienced.

As a new writer, I enter that formidable world where concepts without form or physical substance use existing symbols and pictures to create an understanding.

I had the honor this past week to hear Paul Young, author of The Shack, speak at our church. After six weeks of a study of his book with a group of fellow Lutherans, it was a privilege to not only hear him speak but have him sit at our table and share an evening meal and friendly conversation.

There are many who started reading The Shack and when they reached the point in his book where God is portrayed as a big black woman, closed its covers and never went any further. Paul shared with us that evening that his own Mother struggled with that at first. He then proceeded to tell us how God used people to bring clarity and understanding for what he had written.

As we listened to his stories, we rejoiced at the indescribable love of God, His timing, His awesome power and the freedom we have in and through Him. If there was any doubt of this man’s personal relationship with His Lord it was soon dispelled.

What has this got to do with my topic of words? Only that here was a book that was never originally written to be sold, but to convey to his children and family the struggle and experiences he had encountered. He wrote the book while commuting to and from work and had 15 copies printed to give to his family and a few friends for Christmas. It was his friends who recognized the value of the book’s message and worked to have it published. After 27 rejections from publishers, a small publishing group was formed and the book published. From that beginning, the book has been translated into many languages and over 20 million sold.

As sojourners on this earth, we all have a story to tell. That story may be one another needs to hear to understand their own pain, be encouraged by hope, or find ways to work through difficult situations. We may write at first to meet the need to record our own thoughts and feelings and in the process find that by sharing them with others we form a connecting circle of lives where God meets and intervenes for good in our lives.

With that in mind, I will continue to struggle with proper sentence structure and grammar and punctuation so that I can use the words God gives me to paint pictures of the soul and spirit that can be uplifting and healing.

Write. God has given each of us who He calls the words we need. I want to read and be enriched by your stories – and I don’t care if the punctuation is right. I only want to hear your voice ringing through the words you use to share your message.

Marlene Anderson



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