Merriam-Webster defines a writer as: (noun) One that writes.
I’ve been writing, well since I was about 5. First just letters, then short, three word sentences without punctuation, then onto complete sentences and paragraphs. By seventh grade when I had Mrs. Spicer for English I was writing essays and stories and poems and loving it. In between there around the age of nine I started journaling. For me, writing has been a way to process my thoughts, feelings and circumstances. When Jesus became real and beautiful to me at age sixteen writing was the way I processed what I was reading in the Bible and the conflicting feelings I was experiencing as an insecure girl wanting to find my place in the world. I wrote a play for my youth group and more essays and poems and filled a few more teddy bear and flower decorated journals.
Between those early teen years and now I have married, graduated from nursing school, labored two sons into the world and moved several times. In between those words are years of trials and joys. Some too hard to speak about. All digested in the writings of my private journals. Also in there somewhere I discovered the blog. I had no idea. Up till my discovery of Blogger all my writings were private letters, journals, poems and word docs. As women in my church, close friends and family encouraged me, I began to blog more.
In the past 10 years or so of blogging I have been introduced to the endless voices in the public square. It’s quite overwhelming actually, the volume of published content by anyone and everyone on the internet. A simple google search on any topic will give you pages and pages of links from the famous and professional to the stay-at-home-mom who managed to squeeze in a half hour of blogging in her day full of household management tasks and human-raising efforts. (A thought-provoking article here about the tsunami of un-governed writings and teachings available on the internet for the consumption of the church and it’s implications.)
In the beginning of my blogging efforts I set out to promote my blog- reading other blogs, commenting, participating in mommy-blog contests, etc. And then my marriage took a dive into troubled waters. During that time I stepped away from public writing and became aware of my mixed up priorities and the praise-seeking sin at the root of all my efforts. Writing had ceased to be a tool for processing life. It had become an obsessive exercise to be known. I hated finding that out about myself. But it was the beginning of dealing with a besetting sin that was dragging me down on my race of faith.
As I returned to meditating on God’s words more and processing what I was finding there in private journals, I slowly returned to selectively writing on my blog again. This time with a decision not to self-promote or to check stats or seek comments, but just to offer in a public way my meditations on God’s word and life with a prayer that it might encourage someone out there.
Writing for me has never been an identity or profession. To me, calling myself a writer because I write is sort of like calling myself an eater because I eat. It’s a fact. Big deal. Writing is the way I chew on life and digest it. Ignorantly I’ve sort of thought everyone does that. Having two sons who don’t enjoy reading or writing like I do has taught me that not everyone experiences life best with books and ink and words. Not everyone feels a sense that heaven might smell a lot like the intoxicating paper pages scent of Barnes and Nobel.
Somehow, the process of digesting life that is so necessary for me has encouraged others. I’ve been told it’s a gift. I haven’t thought of it that way. But listening to others and hearing God say, “Do your part in the body of Christ! Use your gifts for the good of the body,” (my paraphrase of Romans 12:3-8), I have started to take more seriously the stewardship of a gift God has given me to process the Word and the world in writing for the purpose of pointing others to him. I want to do this while thinking of myself soberly and less. For me this means beginning to submit public writings not just here on my blog at my will, but to men and women in the church (worldwide) who can help me steward this gift for the good of the church and God’s glory.
Desiring God has been a source of much encouragement to me in my walk with Christ and so was the first venue through which I have submitted a couple articles and have been so humbled to have published there. The decision to submit writings to editors and people who give feedback and criticism and sometimes just a simple rejection opens me up to learning to take this gift God has given and start stewarding it for the multiplication of his kingdom. I’m excited to learn. I really don’t feel comfortable calling myself a writer because I need to write. But I do feel comfortable calling myself a glad and happy servant of my Servant King Jesus to the people he loves!
I mean, I am a nobody. Really. There are plenty of famous and much better writers out there. But, I am a cell in this body. And maybe it’s just another cell or two that needs to fight off some invading sin or needs help to lift it’s spiritually-anemic head. If that’s one of the ways God wants to use my life I say a hearty, “Yes!”
If you’re reading this I’d appreciate your prayers that I would seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness and forget about myself and be more others minded for their good and God’s glory in my writing. Pray that I’d learn to use writing as a means of building up the church and bringing God glory.
May God build up his people, even with a world-digesting writer/eater cell like me.