February 9, 2022

Writing With Love






There are woods around me in my mountain place. It is quiet here but for the sound of water moving over stones in the river. The light filters through the trees. A breeze stirs the leaves. I feel God’s presence here. He has brought me to this quiet place. A few weeks getaway with my husband to escape the pandemic became two years. Here I feel loved, and in the stillness of this place I write.

As I sit, still and quiet each morning, one word comes – then another. Like a pen in God’s hand, I write. The writing comes when I make time for Him. When I release fevered panic over deadlines and let go of the anxiety to produce. When I sit with my pen and journal or open laptop and wait.

I begin in prayer, “Speak God for your servant is listening.” Then like holy dictation, a word may come, a phrase, a sentence, a page, or a torrent of words that I can hardly keep up with. Words may not come as I sit in His peace. I release my goals and expectations in the knowledge that what comes from Him far surpasses my own efforts.

My writing education started as a child as I read my writer mother’s manuscripts for her children’s books. Then as a young mother I began to read the books that my children brought home from the library. I could see in my mind the books that I wanted for my sons but did not know how to write them. I started with an adult education course on writing for children and during the classes our writing was read out loud to the class for feedback. My stories developed a following in that class and I saw that I had the gift of storytelling – connecting through words.

The class led to my first book, The Math Wiz, and I went on to write many more children’s books and publish with Viking, Simon and Schuster, Henry Holt, and others. I loved speaking my words through my books, into the lives of children – words of hope, resilience, humor. Many of those first books are still in print and are speaking to second and third graders now. How to Be Cool in the Third Grade is still on state reading lists and each year speaks words about comfort and reconciliation to children who are bullied.

Midlife brought a time of introspection that led to changes, and I went back to school for a Master’s degree in counseling and began to help homeless women write and tell their stories. The written word brings healing to the writer as well as the reader and my own writing was put aside for a season as I helped others write and as I grew in my own understanding of the power of words. I also grew, deepening in my own faith and connection to God.

The More Series started during my morning quiet time when I began to write short devotions for my friend who was undergoing chemotherapy. She wanted something short and meaningful that she could carry in her chemo bag. I started writing devotions on cards for her. As the words continued to come, the cards grew into a small book, More Peace: 30 Experiences of Peace. The vision for the book was small – just the size for someone to carry in a pocket or purse. Since I am a quote collector – my favorite quotes were added, and my love of scripture gave me a verse for each day.

Beautiful Things

Around you things can be hard.

Thoughts are anxious.

Fear abounds.

But inside you there can be peace.

Hold beautiful things in your heart.

A loved one’s smile

The waves on the shore

A seat by the fire

Fall leaves on mountains

Your own bedroom chair

A Christmas memory

A favorite cup


Think of these things often.

Hold these things in your heart.

Feel peace.

I self-published the small book on Kindle and then began to give it away digitally several times a year. I’ve written books as a career and for publishers but this one seemed to be God’s book and I have never thought about making a profit from it. I set the price of the paperback and the ebook as low as Amazon would allow and I give the ebooks away often throughout the year.

The words continue to come in my quiet times with God. His love for us, experienced in my time with Him, became More Love: Experiencing God’s Love. During a season of grief after the loss of my mother, He poured out His comfort on me which became More Comfort: Moving Through Grief. The struggle to let go of my unhelpful behaviors became More Surrender: 30 Experiences of Letting Go. And a season of battling in prayer for a friend with oral cancer became More Strength: Fighting in the Strength of God. The ninth book of the series, More Wonder: Experiencing Christmas helped me to see Christmas in a deeper way.

This holy act of writing with God heals me and heals the readers. It instructs me and the ones who receive the words. It takes me into His presence and these written words can also take the reader into His presence.

We sow our books out into the world like seeds not knowing what impact they will have, if any. But if we are faithful, we keep writing and keep sowing and trust God for the harvest.

My prayer for you – writers and readers – is that God would heal you, instruct you, draw you close to Him and show you how much you are loved. There have been many seasons of writing in my life but this season in the later years is the sweetest. It all comes down to this – write for Love. Write with Love.


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