February 08, 2022

What is That in Your Hand? - Guest Post by Ruth Keighley


For years I struggled to believe and accept that God gave me the gift of writing. When I first started writing I had no faith in my ability to write anything that someone else would be interested in reading. I joined a Christian writer’s group but it took a long time before I was willing to share anything I had written. I was embarrassed by my lack of knowledge. I was hurt when someone would critique my work, which I translated as criticism.  

Years ago, I wrote a long poem telling my father-in-law’s story. It was 50 stanzas long. I sent it to my aunt for a critique. She sent it back with a few suggestions such as omitting a couple verses that were redundant. I was so hurt that I threw the document into a drawer with the intention of never reading it again. A couple years later I found it and reread it. I was so amazed at how my perspective and attitude had changed. Yes, my aunt was correct. Those verses were unnecessary and leaving them out and following some other suggestions made the story so much better. 

I decided then and there that I could be a writer. That is what God had called me to do. Since that time, I have published two books, am ready to publish a third, and am working on a fourth. A couple more are waiting in the wings. 

When God called Moses to do a mighty work for him, he questioned God, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me?” God asked him, “What is that in your hand?” Moses answered, “A staff.” God promised him that he would use that staff to show his people his power. Exodus 4:2 

God asks us, “What is that in your hand?” We answer, “A pen.” God has given each of us the mysterious gift of writing. We can’t fully comprehend the power we wield when we put pen to paper. We will use that pen to bring words of pleasure and light, words of instruction and warning, words of encouragement and blessing, and words of life and healing. Or we can use our pen to pass on words of heaviness, destruction, deceit and betrayal. 

Jodi Picoult, said, “Words are like eggs dropped from great heights; you can no more call them back than ignore the mess they leave when they fall.” It is essential that we choose our words wisely. They must be significant and accurate. Words define reality, whether positive or negative. 

In Revelations 1, we are told that John saw visions of things to come. God told him to write on a scroll everything he saw. Verse 3 gives us the outcome for the readers. “Blessed are the ones who read the words of this prophecy.” We have no indication how many or who will read our words but God has promised to bless others when we obey him and use the tool he has put in our hand. And we, too, will be blessed.

Putting our words on paper carries with it an awesome responsibility but we needn’t fear it. The genre doesn’t matter. We all have our own preferences and genres in which we write the best. 

I encourage you to face that empty page and pick up the pen that God has put in your hand and do what you do well. Write to be read.

Ruth Keighley is a wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother living in Warman, SK. She loves writing, reading, jigsaw puzzles, and hand embroidery. She has authored one book, Healing for an Unquiet Mind, and co-authored one book, Making the Crooked Places Straight.


  1. Thank you, dear Ruth, for encouraging us today. I especially love these words of yours: "God has given each of us the mysterious gift of writing. We can’t fully comprehend the power we wield when we put pen to paper."

    Great analogy in your post, too.

    Blessings ~ Wendy Mac

  2. Thanks for your wisdom in relating your story, Ruth. These words were particularly meaningful to me: "God has promised to bless others when we obey him and use the tool he has put in our hand. And we, too, will be blessed." We have no idea how the Lord will use our writing.

  3. What an estute post. We use what we have to glorify the Father rather than waiting for some great calling. I also love the use of supporting scriptures.

    1. Yes - astute is exactly the word, Bruce!

  4. It is so wonderful to hear from some different voices here on the blog. I loved this post, Ruth. It is so easy to take everything personally and get our feelings hurt. Criticism and critique are not the same thing but many people don't realize the difference. I also appreciate the way you referenced Moses. Thank you for sharing such a wonder post!

  5. Ruth, I loved your post. Beautifully written.

    I too have had to learn the difference between criticism and critique. Like you, I want my words to be read, which means paying attention to critiques and remembering it's not about me, it's about making the piece better.

  6. Thank you for this post, Ruth. Learning to accept critique is a process in writing. I know that I've felt the sting of it, too, but realize that those who really care about my writing are trying to help, not hinder.


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