Red Ink

Blog_QuillPenAndJournalSitting on a padded lounge chair on a sandy beach, waves lapping over my feet as my pen easily flows across the paper to the rhythm of the swaying palm trees. That’s how I envisioned the writing life. How wrong I was.

For me, the ink has flowed more like blood than anything else. And the view has been a far cry from the idyllic writer’s retreat. But at least I’m not alone. Some of my favorite writers have written from depths far deeper than I’ve ever gone.

The world’s most meaningful words are wrought in the fires of affliction. They often go unread, unnoticed by the masses for years, decades, centuries, until they, and their writer, have stood the test of time. When they finally emerge, they are as liquid gold, yielding wisdom for generations to come.

Today’s bookstores are filled with words that will fade with the passing seasons, blowing away like dust from the shelves. They’ve endured a short while to feed a passing trend. Yet they’ll be long forgotten as time moves on.

As for me, I’d rather write with red ink, words written from a life of sacrifice and struggle. Words that stand through the fires of adversity. Words not meant for the fickle masses, but words for those hungry for something more substantial than a quick fix. Words that don’t fade with the passing of time and trends.


Photo Credit: Free stock photo: Feather Pen, Defense Group, Ink – Free Image on …

Note to Self…Look Beyond

Finish Line from Bing Images Reading the headlines and listening to the news can get pretty depressing these days. That’s why I started this blog series on love. Observing all the darkness, hatred, and violence in this world, I realized it all stems from one root issue: a lack of love.

Instead of responding to evil with hate, I want to proclaim the truth about what love is. Now, halfway through my series, I am both exhilarated and exhausted. Doing what I love (writing!) nurtures me, but it’s hard work—especially when the only focused time I have to write is when the day’s work is done and the kids are sound asleep. It doesn’t help that one kid is a night owl and the other a very early bird.

In the midst of the busyness, I’ve been working on a book about human trafficking. It’s been a work in progress for the past few years, and as much as I love writing I can’t say it’s been easy. There are times when I don’t feel up to the task, and even more times I’m tempted to give up.

With my blog, it’s been much the same. It’s easy to get discouraged when I pour out my heart in hopes someone will be touched by what I say, only to wonder if anyone’s listening at all. But what keeps me going, with both the blog and the book, is the thought that one life could be changed by my words.

As I travail over the edits on my book, I envision victims of modern slavery being set free as they read the finished product. And with this blog, I picture someone whose life is broken being changed by the knowledge of what love really is. Love for those I’m writing for helps me to persevere.

There are countless days I wrestle with feeling I lack the skill to do what’s in my heart to do. And so many times I fear I fall short of my own message. But I’m reminded that true love looks beyond the current sacrifices, struggles, and doubts to the good that can come from it all. And that’s what keeps me going.
“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross..” (Hebrews 12:2)

True Love…LOOKS BEYOND (Day 25, #50ShadesOfTrueLove)

Beyond Average

Blog_ColoringChalkMy six-year old niece hired me for her fashion design company once and that’s as close as I’ll ever get to the profession. As clear and elaborate as the princess gown ideas were in my mind, the end results were nothing more than stick figures wearing lopsided triangles. It was enough to appease my niece, but in comparison to even the most amateur in the field, my designs were average.

This seems to be the case in much of my life. I can sing my lungs out doing the dishes but I’d likely get laughed out of an American Idol audition. My cooking keeps my family alive, but it won’t land me in the Master Chef kitchen. As for looks, I get by, but I don’t turn heads. Even my name is average. There’s 1,423,950 of me in the U.S. and I’m sure that number multiplies exponentially in Jens, Jennys, Jennas and Jennifers around the world.

I’m okay with average in some areas of life. It’s not like I really wanted to be a fashion designer, anyhow. But I do want to go beyond average in the way I live, the way I love, the way I serve and the way I write. I want to live with purpose, love without reservation, serve with excellence and write with passion. I want to use the average I’ve been given to do something that makes an extraordinary difference. Something beyond…average.

“For it is by GRACE you have been saved, through FAITH—and this is not from yourselves, it is the GIFT of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do GOOD works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph 2:8-10)