Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The treasure she left behind

At our writer’s group meetings, we try to help every writer reach their goals. Those goals are as varied as the people a nurse practitioner works on an historical novel, a court interpreter writes a children’s book, a former executive secretary writes for a national magazine, a stay at home mom puts a non-fiction book proposal together, a bio-chemist pens a Bible study, a pastor inks a memoir, and the list goes on. Because I also write screenplays, we’ve even had a scriptwriter attend. However, some who come aren’t necessarily seeking publication.

Our friend Colleen was one of those. She wrote to capture her testimony for her children and grandchildren. She wanted to insure her family knew how God worked throughout her lifeto document His faithfulness. She understood memoirs are a hard sell to a publisher and their salability mostly depends on a person’s platform and reach, because publishing is a business. She wasn’t interested in developing that platform, so with that in mind, we tried to help her make the pieces readable, and always enjoyed when she shared one of them.

Three years ago, Colleen’s husband died unexpectedly, and the grief took a toll on her creativity. She dropped out of our group for a while, but a few months ago, Colleen returned. I was glad to see her writing, again.

At our meeting in mid-September, Colleen read a story about the peace of God. As always, the words were poignant. The gist was she decided not to let anything take away the peace God placed in her heart.

This past weekend, I clicked on a social media post. I couldn’t believe what I read. Colleen had died.

As I reeled from the shock of her unexpected death, I took comfort in that last story. It was as if she were leaving us with this message, “It’s fine. I have peace with God.”

Many people believe they should write a book. Sometimes our stories are for publication;  sometimes they are for encouragement to our families. If we are believers, the value of those stories is more than any other legacy one could leave and is worth committing to paper. Revelation 12:11 reads, “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” The power of testimony helps us conquer the enemy. If you sense God’s leading in committing your story to paper, do it. Discipline yourself to write. In the writing, you too, may be encouraged as you revisit the faithfulness of God in your life.

Some operate under the delusion that we only write when inspired. No, we write as a discipline. We sit down at the desk and do what God has asked us to do. Of course, at times, we may have the feeling of inspiration, but we should not depend on that feeling alone to guide us.

Colleen was obedient to follow God’s leading. Because of her faithfulness, and despite her unexpected death, who knows what her writing might accomplish? What a treasure she is leaving. She has certainly left one to me.

Judy, another member of our group who raises butterflies will soon release one in Colleen’s memory. Dear Colleen, thank you for all you have meant to us. We sure will miss you.


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