April 10, 2016

Deliberate Ramblings by Sharon Espeseth

Apprenticeship Still in Progress . . .

By both Jeff Goins' and Malcolm Gladwell's standards, I have done my writing apprenticeship: plus 10 years practice, 10,000 hours writing, and at least 1,000,000 words. I've had my share of sporadic writing. I haven't daily practiced my scales and pieces. Years have passed when I didn't perform, or publish my work, regularly.

I'm thankful for what I have inscribed in my journal and what I've had published. My writing has not made me wealthy, nor has it always satisfied the taxman. I do, however, have a few bulging binders with clippings of blogs, poems, memoir pieces, essays, and religious articles. Would some of these writings fit between book covers? If so, I'm running out of years to accomplish this feat. It's time to escape apprenticeship mode.

Intrinsic Rewards!

I have enjoyed the writing and I have been rewarded in spiritual and emotional ways. God has blessed what I've written to I-don't-know-how-many readers. Occasional responses, or personal comment attest to this. For everyone who thanked me for a message that blessed him or her, there may be others who were also blessed.

Jesus, on his way to Jerusalem, met and healed ten lepers, but only one leper came back to thank him. Do we encourage other writers by letting them know that their writing helped us?

Listening: A New Emphasis

January 1, 2016, I made one resolution and that was to become a better listener to God, and to my husband, family, friends, and others I meet. As background to this, I reread the story of Elijah, and his experience in listening to the voice of God. (I Kings 19:1-18) After upsetting the status quo by destroying the prophets of Baal, Elijah fled to Mount Horeb, the mountain of God. There Elijah spent the night in a cave.

The Lord woke Elijah and asked, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

Elijah reminded God what had happened.

The Lord said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is going to pass by."

Expecting something big, Elijah waited on the mountain. The Lord was not in the terrible wind that ripped the mountain apart. The Lord was not in the earthquake that followed; nor was he in the fire. Torn and shaken, Elijah waited. After the fire, God whispered to him, telling him what to do.

Disappointment and a Whisper!

For years, the Edmonton Journal has been running a Saturday column called "Offerings," which is an "opportunity to express thoughts on religious issues." Over the years, I've had a number of articles published in this 750-word column, as have other Christian writers. The column is open to those of other faiths as well. I feel disappointed when there is no column. Do we as Christians, have no words to express our gratitude for what God has done for us?

Years ago the Journal paid $75 per column, fair pay in the 90s. Then they quit paying, but still invited columns. To satisfy the taxman, I looked for other markets, but I still wrote occasionally for Offerings and read what others wrote.

The Early Morning Call
"I need you to write the story about Lent, Sharon."

During Lent, I watched for tidings on the Easter theme. Nothing. I awoke at 6:00 a.m. one morning I must proclaim the Easter/Lenten theme. I wrote a quick draft for critiquing at the March meeting of Women Word Weavers.
knowing that

Reading my essay to the group, I discovered that we, being of different denominations, had uncommon understandings about Lent. One of the ladies, also a Christian admitted Lent hadn't been a big part of her background. Discussion and suggestions prepared me for a total rewrite. I prayed about the rewriting and set to work. My writing buddies were surprised to see how the published article differed from my original draft.

After my story was printed, a few people commented on the article, but one gentleman I didn't know sent me an encouraging message by LinkedIn. He said he had read my essay twelve times and that he would probably read it twelve more times. What message from the Lord did this fellow receive?

My story in Offerings in the Edmonton Journal

Listen, Trust and Obey

When God tells us to write, we are expected to listen and obey. The message may be tailored for a particular readership God has in mind. If we fail to do God's bidding, God will have other options to get his message across. In our failure, however, we have denied the Lord, as Peter did the night Jesus was arrested. When God has done so much for us, how can we neglect our work in his vineyard?


  1. Listening! That is a skill we all need to hone, be it listening to God or to one another. Thank you for your faithfulness.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I need to learn to listen more and not spout out all my thoughts.
    I have started to crochet a "stress" blanket. This way I will be more quiet and do not always say what I think.

  3. Yes, listening is important in all relationships, especially with God, and we can all try to do better! I love your "stress blanket" idea, Addy. I pray the crocheting lessens your stress and brings you peace. :-)

  4. Think you for this important reminder to listen before rushing into anything. It's God's timing that is perfect, not mine!

  5. Sharon,
    Thanks for reminding us to take time to listen. In our fast-paced world, listening is a precious gift we can give to others, and ourselves!
    Thank you also for sharing how your listening led to a publishing opportunity. May God continue to bless and use you for His glory!

  6. Timing is important too, Tandy, and so is taking time in our fast-paced world, Ruth. There is something special about a morning call to action. Another thing we need for listening is silent time and time beside quiet waters where our souls can be refreshed. We each need to find that quiet time.

  7. What a beautiful story. I'm glad you listen and obey. A lesson for us all.

    1. I am learning to listen and I am learning to share the yoke with Christ and "learn of him." A work in progress is who or what I am. Thanks for reading and for your encouraging remarks, Connie.

  8. Thank you Sharon for this piece.
    We don't all come from the same background or denomination. It doesn't matter as long as Jesus Christ is our Saviour and the Bible is our textbook. Listening to each other is important.

  9. This is so true, Tammy. We will do well to listen to each other, and we also need to listen to the same God. Thanks for the reminder.

  10. Sharon, as always you have inspired me (us!) with your godly perspective and humility. Having spent a few minutes reading your post, I now feel more settled about my own writing and my own calling, than I have in years.
    I also want to comment on your January post, focusing on us doing our little part, and God doing the big stuff. And thank you for mentioning my post, too! I missed it first time around (busy breaking my arm--haha), but glad I caught it now! I am printing that one for my binder to remind me often of my part. Bless you!

  11. Thanks for your encouraging comments, Ramona, and letting me know that God has spoken to you through my writing. That is our InScribe, and my personal goal, in writing.

    I have been without internet access due to our Third Annual Residential Move, so I have stopped by the Library today to make a writing submission. Sorry to hear about your broken arm. May God bless you and heal you through, or in spite of this setback.


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