February 26, 2018

The Reasons I Write - Marnie Pohlmann

A Mom struggles to overcome harmful thoughts that were hardwired into her brain during childhood trauma.

First responders search for ways to protect themselves from the cumulative stress of carrying the pain and pictures of those they have served. 
A young woman is anxious about an upcoming surgery that may remove a breast as the doctors cut out cancer.

An immigrant family who knows they are now safe cannot erase from their minds the thoughts and nightmares of the horror they have experienced.

A young woman betrayed, beaten, trafficked to be owned by others. Trapped.

A First Nations woman is stuck in the belief the past defines her and determines her present and future, unable to see any choices.

A young man grieves his life choices, his failures, and contemplates a choice to stop the pain coming from the consequences.

A teenager is confused about her identity, yet she trusts no one with her secret because they would not understand.

A believer in Christ becomes depressed; her faith seems to only condemn not comfort her in the darkness.

Each of these individuals is who I imagine being my audience, the "world" my writing could possibly influence. I am burdened with the pain and darkness these people are experiencing because I relate to them. I have been in these situations, believed these thoughts, considered these actions. Yet I have also found hope and peace through Jesus Christ who provides life amid the darkness. I still struggle but I have experienced victory in these areas before and I know I will again. Not that "I" can, but that God will walk me through the darkness and teach me new ways of thinking, feeling, and acting.

Does my writing or speaking change the world? Honestly, I rarely get feedback on what I share except family and friends who love me and other writers who encourage me. So, I don't know. I don't hear of or see my words changing any of the people in my imaginary audience. Perhaps, although I occasionally share the words, I write only to solidify in my own ears, eyes, brain, and heart the truth of God’s redemption.

While I would like to think I can change the world through writing blogs, poetry, lyrics, magazine articles, fiction, or memoirs or by speaking my understanding of God's Word, changing others may not be the result or the purpose. I am called to write, but how that writing is used is out of my hands. That is God's department. I believe He uses anything He wants to further His Kingdom, whether a silver chalice or a chamber pot. So yes, He can use even me, even my writing, though the ink may flow in words that mention nothing of God.

Psalm 45:1 says in the Message paraphrase,
"My heart bursts its banks,
spilling beauty and goodness.
I pour it out in a poem to the king,
shaping the river into words."

(I shared a couple years ago on my blog, Phosphorescent, an essay delving into what this verse shows to a Christian writer, called "Waterfall.")

Walking with God, whether in darkness or joy, my heart bursts when I contemplate His grace to me. I then cannot help but write. My true audience is God. His love is amazing and we as Christians who write cannot express that at all adequately. Yet we must try. Yesterday at church we sang "The Love of God," a hymn expressing that truth.

Writers who are Christian, whether or not we know we are changing the world with our writing, have three reasons to continue.
To change the lives of others.
To change the life of ourselves.
To bring joy to God.

God’s Word changes hearts. Our words - written, spoken, sung, or acted out, - may be used by God to change the world. Therefore, I write.

*photos CCO license compliments of Pixabay.com

God is present. God is at work. Marnie writes.


  1. Even if God uses you to reach ONE of those people, it is worth it. Also, its worth it for what it does inside of the writer. I think we can all relate to this.

  2. Well said, Marnie. There are so many people in the world experiencing a different journey and you have reminded me of that. The burdens that people carry and do not share is heartbreaking to say the least. Our writing becomes a matter of faith - just as we believe in the one we do not see, we must also believe when we can't see what our writing has done. God has it in his hands. I also agree with Tracy. Keep writing my friend!

  3. So much of what you have written resonates with me; the struggles of life which I continue to deal with daily as it really seems like a traumatic childhood is something one deals with in some way for the rest of their lives (not a bad thing but a growing thing) and in the questions of who you are reaching and why. Just the other day I was thinking that my writing is not first and foremost about being published in any sort of big or even small way but for what God wants to do with it and if published in a small way (which is the case for me) it's left up to God again as to its impact. That really frees us as writers I think. I love the scripture. I think I need to meditate on that.

  4. Anonymous1:34 pm GMT-7

    Your writing is definitely an encouragement to me! I believe when we step fulling into our calling (be it as writers, or in some other capacity), God takes our efforts and puts them to good use. Whether we see the impacts or not, it is still effective. Thank you for your words, Marnie!

  5. I agree with all of the above comments, much of your post resonates with me. I struggle, I doubt and I write to try to clarify God's hand in this beautiful messy life. Thank you for your honesty ... and I also appreciated the Psalm 45:1 words from The Message, and your comment that our true audience is God. As Gloria said this does/should free us from the published audience factor.

  6. If I gave the following quote before, please bear with me, because I have been thinking this as I've read several of the blogs with this month's theme.

    "Who do you think Paul is anyway? Or Apollos. . . We each carried out our servant assignment. I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow. It's not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the centre of the process but God, who makes things grow. Planting and watering are menial servant jobs at minimum wage. What makes them worth doing is the God we are serving." (from The Message: To read the complete paragraph, see 1 Corinthians 3: 5-9.)

    Thank you for this blog that reminds us that it is not any one of us who gives the increase. Rather, it is God. Amen to this and to what you say, Marnie. Yes, keep writing.


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