Number 1 - "I could really relate to what you wrote. I know exactly how you felt."
Number 2 - "I cut out your column and have it on my fridge. "
That was music to my ears; to think my words hit home and people were actually 'getting me'.
Little did I know, though, that God was priming me for some greater, wonderful, writerly moments over the years. Moments that would point others to Him. A ministry.
At the beginning I had such trouble seeing myself as a writer, though, even though I loved relaying stories and offering inspirational words each week. Sure, I wrote, but I felt what I plopped on paper were mere words. I felt apologetic sometimes and often had a need to explain why I was writing what I was writing. As if my words were insufficient and weak; so weak no one would understand my point.
My confidence level in the writing department was as dull as ditch-water and almost as stagnant.
Then something happened. I think I grew up. Come to think of it, it was the same year I fell in love with Jesus. God eventually had hold of me, and something started to bubble. Maybe it was because I had experience under my belt. Maybe getting older gives one presence of mind and a little bit more understanding. Maybe just maybe God gave me new eyes (He certainly gave me a new heart) and said it was time I started realizing that this writing gift was His to use for His glory.
I am not by any means implying I have it all together and everything I write is flowing prose and each word effectual and right and pleasing to God. What I am saying is that once I acknowledged God, then something happened in my writing life.
Situations entered my life; some heart wrenching and more than a little challenging. I wrote about them.
God placed people in my life then He gave me ideas about how or what to write. I wrote about them.
Trials came and opportunities arose. He told me that I need not worry about prying open any doors - He would make sure those He wanted open would be open and that would be my signal to walk through and write about them.
God reminded me of how Jesus was not forceful and tough in his ministry. Instead he was gentle and honest and passionate. That's how I wanted to write.
An editor, very early along in my career, gave me a very wise piece of advice that I love to share. I believe she offered it as she was rejecting an article I was submitting. I cannot remember the article at all, but I will never forget her wise words that helped turn my ordinary writing into ministry:
"If you write from the heart, you will touch other hearts"
My hope and prayer is that I always write from my heart - my new heart, in Christ!
I’m thanking you, , from a full heart, I’m the book on your wonders. I’m whistling, laughing, and jumping for joy; I’m singing your song, High God.
Psalm 9:1-2 The Message