Have you ever wondered whether your writing was worthwhile? Maybe you’ve been diligently penning a weekly blog and the only people who comment are your Mum and your best friend. Maybe you’ve had lots of bits and pieces published in your church newsletter but the only person who ever talks to you about it is the resident Grammar Nazi who always finds the typo you missed. Sometimes it can be discouraging, but take heart. You never know where your words will end up.
For the last few years, some friends and I have contributed to an American daily devotional book called Penned from the Heart. There are about 140 authors from all walks of life, though a significant number are retired people. The other day I turned to the designated devotion and found a poem written by a fellow called Duane. It was a beautiful piece based around Matthew 6:19: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal”. I turned to the back of the book, thinking that Duane might be a kindly grandfather type. Instead I read that he was a prisoner on Death Row who’d been given donated copies of Penned from the Heart and had become a believer. I immediately felt teary. Wow! A prisoner on Death Row wrote that poem expressing his love of God?
I don’t know the story of how Duane came to believe in Jesus. There would most likely be a chaplain at that facility. Maybe there’s a prison fellowship and Christian volunteers who visit the inmates. Somewhere in the mix, however, he was also reading a book that included some devotions written by our small writing group. When I was submitting my pieces to the editor, it never occurred to me that they might end up on Death Row. Now one of the people who has been blessed by the book is writing Christian poems to bless others. If you’d like to see one of Duane’s poems, look on the first page of the Compassion newsletter, a publication that prints material written by Death Row prisoners.
If God has placed a message on your heart, never underestimate the effect that it can have. That paragraph you wrote in the church newsletter about an answered prayer may encourage someone else in the same situation. That blog post that no-one commented on may have been shared countless times with the click of a button. God uses many means to reach others with His message of grace, but how wonderful to be able to share His words with a hurting world.
Has your writing turned up in unexpected places? I’d be interested in hearing your stories.
Nola Passmore is a writer of shorts, a would-be novelist, and the originator of many a hare-brained scheme that she inflicts on family and friends. She loves exploring different facets of creativity and encouraging others to develop their God-given talents. She and her husband Tim have their own freelance writing and editing business called The Write Flourish. You can find her writing tips blog on their website: www.thewriteflourish.com.au