September 24, 2018

The Gift of Writing by Michelle M. Brown

“All this,” said David, “the Lord made me understand in writing by His hand upon me, all the work and details [to be done] according to this plan.” 1 Chronicles 28:19 AMP

As a new Christian, I more often than not found myself unable to calm my brain long enough to pray. Not only did I not know how to pray, believing I needed to bodily be in a particular position, with a completely calm mind as I went through my list of prayers for everyone and everything I could think of. I also believed the perfect prayer session would be neat, orderly and required eloquent language skills.

The reality was quite the opposite. I have a bad knee, and kneeling is painful. My brain is never calm or orderly and remembering all the people and things I wanted to pray for was impossible. I felt like a failure, unable to pray for others as they prayed for me. Neither able to communicate with Jesus, nor find the peace that I was told I would find in prayer.

On my 40th birthday, I was given a beautiful journal as a gift. I wasn't new to journaling, but in the past, as I wrote out my most profound thoughts and fears I often destroyed them for fear that someone in my life would read them and use the contents of the journal to hurt me. There was too much ammunition in those books for the abusive people I'd had in my life, but my life had changed. I was single, had good friends, and there was nobody to invade my privacy. I could once again unburden my thoughts on paper.

I embraced that beautiful new journal and poured all my pain and hope into it. Detailing my new-found faith, my struggle to find my place in the world and in God's Kingdom. I wrote with passion and in turn, found healing.

As the years progressed, I found I was writing less to myself and more as a letter to someone else. I was painting a picture of my story, speaking for myself and others and my hope for our lives. Posing questions and asking for guidance. I was talking to God.

I had not made a conscious decision to start a relationship with God on paper, but once I realized I had done it, I consciously made the decision to write down my prayers and maintain my conversations in this medium. One that allowed me to stop thinking long enough to start communicating.

The focus of writing gave release to beautiful words of hope, despair and my victories with Jesus. To a thankfulness of the life I was given and the daily miracles that I encountered: a private joke and the laughter I shared with my new husband; the tiny, injured bird I found in the snow that would go on to live; and an early morning sunrise which brought peace and the hope of a new day.

I discovered that writing calms my brain, orders my thoughts and gives birth to God's direction. In my own hand, I could find Him, speaking to me with love and a purpose for my life. I found solace and understanding for my failings.

Through writing, I found my relationship with God -- a deep love that is given and a greater love that is received.

Michelle M. Brown was born and raised in British Columbia, Canada. She has a background in Marketing & Design. An avid hiker and adventure junkie she has embarked on a journey to conquer 50 adventurous activities in her 50th year.

September 22, 2018

Writing In Stillness by Alan Anderson

“And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:
And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?”—1 Kings 19: 11 – 13 King James Version

Elijah had a rough time and was despairing and somewhat depressed with what had been going on around him. There had been a great wind strong enough to upset mountains. If that wasn’t bad enough an earthquake juggled things up pretty good. On top of these calamities came a fire. How terrifying this must have been to behold. God wasn’t in any of these phenomena. Where was He?

“and after the fire a still small voice.”
God was indeed present to Elijah. God’s presence here is like the calm after the storm. The “still small voice” draws our attention to an intimate communion with God.  For this to happen there is to be stillness. Stillness is not the same as silence. “Silence is the prerequisite for inner stillness, and only inner stillness enables us truly to listen to God, to hear His voice, and to commune with Him in the depths of our being...” (

You see, God is not confined to drawing attention to Himself or His works in a booming manner. He does not have to be loud or overbearing. He doesn’t have to scream at us. He is gentle and His voice is “small”, a gentle whisper.

How does this “still small voice” apply to my writing? From my point of view, God’s still small voice is what I need in my writing. It is a stillness that calms my fears and builds my confidence. It is this stillness that allows me to speak healing words into the world through what I write. It is more than sitting quietly and thinking. Stillness is about truly listening for God’s voice deep within.

When I was a chaplain in healthcare I knew that if a person was in pain it was difficult to offer spiritual care to her or him. The pain had to be managed first. Once the person’s pain subsided I could now come alongside the person and listen to their story. My role was to be a healing presence so calmness and stillness were imperative.

I am aware that I am prone to earthquakes or strong winds and even fire that will disrupt my creativity. One of the storms to assail me has been spending more time learning about writing than writing itself. It is, however, the “fire” of my writing that is more disrupting. This fire is the fear in my writing life.

I am aware that the fire of fear burns up precious energy rather than using it for writing. It sears through my mind and heart leaving me at times in ashes. Perhaps I show a lack of faith when I ask myself questions. Who will read my writing? What if I have nothing worth saying or writing about? Such flames of fire must be stopped.

I have to go beyond the fears etc. and calm down, listen and hear that “still small voice.” He has not left me. I can write! Oh, that still small voice is gentle, as He keeps me from straying from the writing path set out before me.

My dear readers and writer friends can you think of anyone who needs stillness? Is there anyone in your life bombarded by the calamities of our culture? There is in my life. We speak for that still small voice, the One who speaks through our writing. How may our writing be a healing presence for our readers? How will you bring that stillness, that healing into someone’s life?

September 21, 2018

Some Days I Feast, Some Days I go Hungry ... By Jocelyn Faire

Some days I Feast ... and some days I go hungry ...
Faith feeds writing ... as writing feeds faith ...

Tear stained prayers and laments occupy more pages of my journals than the dear diary this is what I did today kind. I've heard songwriters complain that most of their lyrics are morose; that many songs are penned in heartbreak. There is something universal to writing out one's pain in those dark days of the soul. Many times I have wondered/thought that my faith is stronger during times of difficulty, during times when I needed God for every breath I taken ... and wondered if faith fades when I rely on myself too much. The dark days are sometimes the blessings in disguise, the blessings I would not wish on anyone. For me, these times of writing give voice to the disturbing questions, helping me find clarity in the confusion, and forcing me to dig deeper, going beyond the churchy pat answers that just don't fit. Perhaps the reason my pen has not been as prolific lately, is because my life is going too well at the moment? But would God want me to remain in a heavy-hearted mode, to stay close to Him? Or does He want me to learn to rejoice? I pray that I may continue to walk close to God and be grateful for the beauty of this abundant season, for the beauty of His grace-filled days. And to keep me on my knees, I have more than enough prayer requests coming my way on behalf of other people.
In contemplating how faith and writing spur each other on ... these words spilled out in two short poems.

I write to right what has gone wrong,
to turn laments into a praise or song
I write to say Thanks, more often to beg please
I write hesitantly while on my knees,
I scribble blindly through the tears,
I write immobilized by overwhelming fears
Sometimes I write from a sense of duty,
Sometimes it's the sheer enjoyment and beauty,
And often, looking back I marvel to see
Divine intervention has brought clarity.
God's signature is all over the page.
So as I write along the way,
My hope is to taste sweet manna each day.
(I hope to be feasting till my final day.)

The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want.
But why do I still want?
Why have my longings continued?
I want to feel loved,
I want to feel accepted.
Help me be loving and accepting.
I want to travel, to explore your world
And I want to be settled at home.
Some days I want to be at home with you.
I want to stand firm in the winds of change
And Lord, the changes are happening all the time, I can't keep up.
I want to be a person of prayer, a woman of good deeds,
but time is occupied with immediate needs.
And sometimes my wants seem shallow, I'm embarrassed to say
Caught up with things that seem important at the time
I want my spirit to be at ease, 
I want to go with the flow, your flow.
Really God, what I want is ... You.

He leads me beside still waters,
He restores my soul.
Thank-you God
          (You're welcome)

Some days I feast and some days I go hungry. With Paul, I am learning to be content in all my days.

September 19, 2018

It's only a tiny Sunbeam by Eunice Matchett

It’s mid September and the walls in my house feel as if they’ve come alive and are closing in on me. I stare through my living room window at the snow clinging to a gigantic, sodden and rotting leaf pile beneath a tree. Planters that were filled with colorful blossoms two weeks ago are nothing but stage props for a mini horror movie. The sky is covered with layers of dark gray clouds. Dark gray clouds that threaten more snow. I walk away. Fall yard work this year might become spring clean up next year.

My restlessness makes it impossible to concentrate on anything, so I plop on my bed and reach for my book on the night table. As I do, brightness draws my attention to the window. A tiny sunbeam has poked through those moisture-laden clouds, promising the sun still exists. The ray’s tenacity starts me thinking.

It reminded me of all those times I’ve sat in front of my computer with my brain waves on a collision course with each other. I’d over-think every scene, delete more words than I typed. Watching a movie was so tempting, but I’m stubborn. I came in here to write and write I would. Minutes passed. I would eat a candy then drink some water, then eat more candy. Still, no useable thoughts would materialize. That movie became far more attractive, but my stubbornness is no sissy. It just needed some help. From above.

I would close my eyes and prayerfully allow my heart to reach beyond my hyper-active head, and God would meet me where I was. I didn’t always feel His presence immediately, sometimes it took what seems like forever. Just as that tiny sunbeam worked its way through banks and banks of clouds, my Heavenly Father made a path through my busy ramblings, allowing me to think again. Then, a minute thought, so small I have on occasion missed it,would push its way through all the activity in my head. As I thought on it, it grew, and slowly becomes the scene I needed to write.

September 18, 2018

The Known God - Gloria Guest

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is "For in him we live and move and have our being, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also his offspring.’ {Acts 17:28} The context of this verse is the apostle Paul’s speech to the people of Athens regarding their worship of many gods, including the ‘Unknown God.’ It is this unknown God that Paul seeks to introduce them to.

It is only by knowing the one true God that we can in all fullness experience abundant life and pass it on to others. “I came that you might have Life. And to have it abundantly.” {John 10:10} The word ‘enthusiasm’ comes from two Greek words, en and theos. Theos is the Greek word for God. 'enthusiasm' literally then means, ‘full of God’ or ‘God within.’ I find that profound. For me, this means that without God, I can’t be truly enthusiastic in anything! I can have a shadow of it perhaps, as we are all Gods creation, but I cannot have true enthusiasm, just as the people of Athens had no true understanding of the Unknown God, but instead worshipped and served empty, manmade gods of stone.

In my writing, I feel this verse keenly. It is in God that my writing lives and moves and it is in God that I can have true inspiration and enthusiasm to share the words that He gives me. Even in writing a non-christian based article, I can still seek for my writing to honor Him and believe that He ministers in any way that He sees fit through it.

We truly are God’s offspring. It is an amazing thought that a part of God’s ingenuity and creativity abides in us and our words.

We don’t have to know everything about writing as we often think we do, and sometimes those things can just end up being our searching out other gods and a means to not have to depend on and get to know how God wants to truly move uniquely through us. I don’t know where my writing journey will lead me in the future but I do know that God, who was once described by Paul as the Unknown God, wants to be known by me and is the one who leads me. That is more than enough for me.