September 01, 2015

Who Started It All For Your Creative Spirit? By Sandi Somers

Prompt: Who started lighting the fire for your creative spirit and inspired you to write? How old were you? Tell us about the person who pointed the way for you and helped form you as a writer of faith. It could be a person you knew, or it could be an author you read. Tell us about the impact and why that impact mattered.

Catherine Marshall (1914-1983)
Spiritual Mentor
I first read Catherine Marshall’s books as a young adult, books such Beyond Ourselves and Something More, as well as her first novel, Christy.  

Her writing fed into my starved spirit a deeper intimacy with Jesus and God’s power. I read her books again and again. Her discussion on themes such as inner healing, guidance, and the work of the Holy Spirit, challenged me to believe God in ways I had never before imagined.

Literary Mentor
At the same time, Marshall’s powerful writing inspired me to write vividly. She told powerful stories of people and their faith and I studied how she integrated story with God’s action in the lives of people.

I particularly benefitted from the way she discovered spiritual themes.

As she began writing a biography of her husband, A Man Called Peter, she asked herself, “Why am I writing this book? What am I trying to accomplish?”

Immediately she knew that the hero of the biography had to be Jesus Christ, not Peter Marshall. “Jesus Christ would have to tower as the central figure of the book,” she wrote. “I saw that the life of no human being has lasting significance apart from his relationship to God. “

As a result, she asked herself two questions about each chapter:
·        What is the theme, the cohesive idea?
·        What will this chapter tell people about God that they really want to know?

The impact of her book was astronomic. Thousands were led to experience God in a new way. Many people wrote how God spoke directly into their particular needs.

While I have had other literary mentors since then, Catherine Marshall’s example also paved the way for me to ask God specifically to:

·        Confirm that my writing projects would be according to His plans.
·        Bring the right people into my life at the right time to implement components of the dream.
·        Fill me with His words to touch the lives of those in my generation and in the next.

Like Marshall, I claimed the verses in 1 John 5:14-15.
 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

Now it’s your turn. Let us know about the one who inspired you.


  1. I am impacted, Sandi. Marshall's two questions asked for each chapter written are powerful. The idea that Jesus has to tower above man in her writing gives me pause as well. I can see how God caught you early on, and has held you and your writing close all these years. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Wow, this is powerful stuff, Sandi. this is quite a launching post for the month's theme and sets the bar really high

    1. Thanks, Bobbi and Tracy, Catherine Marshall's writing about writing is powerful stuff. Her influence is still powerful for me.

  3. Thanks for sharing, Sandi. Catherine Marshall's writings have influenced me as well, but I didn't know the story behind the stories she wrote. Those are two great questions all writers who are Christian should be asking when we write!

    1. Thanks, Ruth, There were other strategic stories Catherine Marshall told, but I couldn't fit everything into one blog. I'll do that another time.

  4. Sandi,

    I so enjoyed catching a glimpse of your writing journey beginnings. Catherine Marshall was such an encouragement to me too as I grew into my young womanhood, but more as a follower of Jesus; when I read her books back then I had no inkling of ever being a writer. But perhaps He was planting seeds that He knew would flourish later.

    You've given us a great prompt to consider this month. Looking back over our journey we are reminded of those tender, early dreams and the words or leading He gave us in the beginning. Sometimes we need those reminders to help us get back on track if we've lost focus. Sometimes we need them to encourage us that no matter what life throws at us writing is supposed to be a part of it and to just put our heads down over our desks and carry on.

    Thanks for a beautiful post!

    1. Thanks, Brenda. I've certainly learned a lot of new things this month as I reviewed what Catherine Marshall said about her early dreams.

  5. Great start to the month Sandi. Thanks for getting us all going in the right direction for the month. And I enjoyed hearing about your journey into writing. I feel like I've gotten to know you a bit better.

    1. Thanks, Connie, it was a pleasure to write this blog. I'm glad to hear you found it inspiring.

  6. Thanks, Sandi, not just for this blog, but for starting us out on the right foot each month. The prompts are excellent and so are each of your beginning prompts. The results, I believe, are the wholesome and honest discussions that follow. We gain insight from one another; we gain insight from grappling with the issues and clarifying our own thoughts as we write. God is teaching us and helping us to improve in our writing and to grow spiritually. Thanks for your leadership, Sandi.

  7. Thanks, Sharon, for your encouragement. It was just what I needed this morning!


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