June 10, 2019

The Path of Life by Sharon Espeseth

Hank and Sharon on vacation 2013


My husband continues to have health concerns and has been feeling poorly of late. Right now, time for writing seems short and distraction seems long. One blog from four years ago loosely fits the prompt.

To answer some of the June prompt, I find that my daily Bible readings and study, good books, good friends, the writings of my InScribe colleagues and my prayers speak to me in regard to writing and to life. 

Here are a few phrases from Psalm 16, a prayer by David, that speak to me of writing, faith, and “The Path of Life.”

* The Lord is my portion and cup.
* I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
* In the night also my heart instructs me.
* I (try to) keep the Lord always before me.
* You show me the path of life.
* In your presence there is fullness of joy.
* In your right hand are pleasures for evermore.
(New Revised Standard Version)

I highly recommend this Psalm in its entirety.

Eureka Moments by Sharon Espeseth (March 10, 2015)
Maybe I became a writer when my story, "The Man Who Loved Auctions," was published. Maybe it was when I gave Dad the small Western People magazine. Or it may have been when Mom phoned to say, "Dad knows this story is about him and that you wrote it. He carries the story around with him. He unfolds and folds it and then puts it in his pocket." My gift of writing had connected with him in his advanced state of Alzheimer's. I only wished I had written it sooner.

Of course, my family, friends, and relatives, especially my parents, could be prejudiced about my writing. Did I mention I got paid for this story?

Then there was Janice, a business owner in our small town, who grabbed me and hugged me enthusiastically on Main Street. She was excited because I had a story published in the Edmonton 
Bear Hug on Main Street
 (Imagine!)about how great it is to live in a small town, especially one like ours. "As soon as I read it," she said, "I ran down to John's Men's Wear to let John read it."

I had taught three of Janice's kids, so that's pretty close to home, but the Edmonton Journal paid
for their columns in those days.

I kept on writing in my dog-eared, coffee-stained notebooks. My words weren't yet worthy of acid-free ink or acid-free journals. Big, thick notebooks, aka scribblers, were filling up with recipes, to-do lists, garden diagrams, anecdotes of our genius children, shopping lists, and the occasional thought. Did I mention prayers? Time to write was in those prayers. Life had its stumbling blocks, and I wrote about them too.

My sister held the burn-them-when-I'm-gone order. Heaven forbid that anyone should know what actually went on in my head.

My story, "A Holy Night to Remember" was published in Chicken Soup for The Canadian Soul. This  seemed like another step toward becoming a writer. Congratulation calls and letters ensued. I too was excited about that and the fact that I also got paid for the story.

I didn't quit my day job of teaching.

To believe in myself as a writer in those days, I needed reassurance that I did have something to say and that I could say it well enough to resonate with readers beyond the concentric circles that cradled me. I needed God's help on this one. Sure enough, I started receiving phone call or letters from people I knew, even from people I didn't know, telling me how I had connected with them.

That was the sign I needed to know I was a writer. Eureka!

Fortunately, my "fan mail" still fit in our mailbox; I didn't need a secretary nor a full time accountant. My head didn't swell beyond recognition,  but I came to realize these unexpected contacts as a sign that my "messages in a bottle" could bring joy, hope, comfort, peace, or anything else God put in my heart to share with others. God  has said that his word will not return to him empty.

I may never know how my words have affected my readers, nor do I need to know. I do, nevertheless know how my writing has affected me. My writing has given me solace and comfort when I am discouraged. It has helped me regain and maintain my mental stability after, and during, clinical depression. My writing has helped me see the beauty, love, joy, and humour I encounter on a daily basis. Writing has helped me see who God is and how he loves me. It has helped me know and love myself as well as my neighbour.

I pray that through my writing, I will influence my small part of the world to be a more tolerant, loving, and peaceful place. I also may inform others of the Good News we are commissioned by Christ to share.

G. K. Chesterton says, "Our confidence lies in our message and not in ourselves." Eureka! And it isn’t all about the money either.


  1. Your G.K Chesterton quote sums up all so well. Our confidence (success) is in delivering His message the best ways we can. You've done that well here! Thank you!

  2. This repost did indeed fit very well and I concur with Lynn's comment. Thank you for faithfully sharing the words that God has given you, Sharon. You are a blessing.

  3. Dear Sharon, this is wonderful. Writing also gives me "solace and comfort." It's important that our writing helps us first before it can pass on the same hope Christ has written on our hearts.
    Blessings ~ Wendy Mac

  4. Hi Sharon! As one of my encouragers I would like to encourage you as well. Your posts are what I call "heart words." They speak to me on a personal and sensitive level. Right away you shared your husband's health challenge with us. We then turn to a word picture of how personal and intimate your writing can be. I glean this from such lines as, "Life had its stumbling blocks, and I wrote about them too." You speak of such things as , "I needed reassurance that I did have something to say..." You speak also of how your writing has found its way inside you. You say, "know how my writing has affected me." This is such good self-awareness and something I believe we all need as writers. I love also when you say how your writing, "helped me see who God is and how he loves me. That is a great truth to know. Thanks Sharon for this wonderful message for us.

  5. Hi Sharon, Your blog of four years ago was so meaningful to me, especially the words, "I needed reassurance." There are times I need reassurance that what I'm writing is what God wants me to do, that my words will encourage and help someone. Thanks for sharing from your heart.

  6. Thank you, Lynn, Tracy, Wendy, Alan and Sandi, for your encouraging and affirming remarks. I’ve read and appreciated each one of them. With my mind on Hank’s health, I couldn’t focus on what I started out to say, so I am happy to read that each of you found a message in my earlier blog with a current update. Now, where did that idea come from?

  7. Absolutely your post from 2015 fit this month's prompt, Sharon. Thank you for resharing it. Praying all the best for you and your husband in this challenging personal season. May the God of all comfort be your shalom.

  8. Thank you for your encouraging comment and your prayers, Susan. Peace be to you also.

  9. Sharon, when I briefly glanced at your blog a week ago, I knew I wanted to spend more time with it ... I just did that and your final paragraphs are so on track for me--Thank-you tremendously.
    "I do, nevertheless know how my writing has affected me. My writing has given me solace and comfort when I am discouraged." ... has helped me see the beauty, love, joy, and humour I encounter on a daily basis ... who God is and how he loves me. It has helped me know and love myself as well as my neighbour." Your entire post resonated with me. Thanks and keep writing as you can, when you can. Blessings

  10. I am happy you connected with my thoughts here, Jocelyn. I see more and more how much we, as writers who are Christian, share a common bond. We each have our joys and struggles. We are all learning that the Lord is our rock and our deliverer; our God is our rock in whom we take refuge. (Paraphrased from Psalm 18:2)

    We hear Christ’s voice when he says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)

    "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26 ESV) Hard to tell I’m coming fresh from Trinity Sunday!

    Thanks, Jocelyn, for the encouragement to keep writing, as I am able. My husband is presently in hospital for observation regarding his symptoms.

    1. Sorry to hear that ... my husband and I were recently at a retirement seminar and the speaker asked what was the #1 concern for retirees ... no it was not about money, but about health. Our health is a great gift, and when we don't have it ... it does bring its challenges, and its blessings(in great disguise.)

  11. Thank you for this additional comment, Jocelyn. I recognize what you are saying about the blessings of ill healthy sometimes being greatly disguised. Still they are there and God is faithful through it all. I pray that our love and faith may grow through these struggles.


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