I’ve always wanted to write a book. I think it started when I won the Halloween poetry contest, sponsored by “Paw Paw’s Pizza” (yes–real place). I was in the 1st grade. I wrote my poem on construction paper next to a picture of a witch on a broomstick, and said, “Boo! Boo! How do you do?” Please, hold your applause.
In the sixth grade, I won the Montgomery Advertiser’s Scary Short Story Contest for my story, “The Shooting on Gunshot Lane.” Step aside, Stephen King, there’s a new kid in town! I still have a copy of the book, my certificate, and the blue ribbon in my memory trunk. Maybe I’ll share that story some day (It’ll be a cold day…).
Still, almost thirty years later, I can’t stop writing. Sometimes it’s creative, some it’s persuasive, and all of it is therapy. But online writing is different from a book. A book – with an impressive cover, and endorsements from all my heroes – is my real dream. I picture a few words from Bob Goff, a line or two from Max Lucado, something brilliant from William Paul Young, a quote from Matthew Barnett, and Barbara Kingsolver as the bow on top of an already perfect gift. It would be words for the ages.
While I wait on Random House and HarperCollins to call me, I have some down time so I pull out pen and paper. And I love it. I love my time here. You tell me of another writer who has a greater community than the one we one we are building together. Daily, I am gripped by your comments, and each time you muster the courage to share your story with me privately or with the entire community, it’s as if I hear the voice of God asking, “Would you trade all of this for a book deal and a chance on a best-seller’s list?” No way.
I pray that, as we struggle and celebrate together on this journey toward Abba, our lives will be open books. Each day is a new page for all of us: a blank sheet of paper, a new opportunity for greatness, a new conversation with Grace, and hopefully an introduction to a new Ragamuffin. But it all starts with being willing to struggle to say the hard things. To name our emotions and experiences. The disappointments, pains, frustrations, and moments that make us all human.
We all started out as blank sheets of paper, but quickly, immediately, the world began to write on us: words of unrealistic expectation, labels, and lies. It is my great hope that each of us would strive to find the Hand of Grace and allow new words to be written. Words of affirmation, freedom, and Truth. I pray that we learn to live our lives like a book others would want to read. In our words and our actions, may the chapters that follow fill our libraries and liturgies with Grace.
Abba, more than anything, let me lay my life, my own blank sheet of paper before You, thirsty for your pen to create a masterpiece in me. With each word, each line, every chapter, may my story reflect Your heart. Express Your love through me. Let others weep for relief as they learn of Your extensive patience, never-ending mercy, and immediate redemption. You are the Author of my narrative. Please write my story.