Words Tangled Up in God

For me, faith, writing, and recovery are intrinsically connected. These three very different things are intertwined, tangled threads of a beautiful tapestry.

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I wrote my first stories as a young boy. Growing up an only child left me ample time to employ my imagination. Through the years, my writing benefited from excellent teachers and mentors, many of whom I did not realize were influencing my creative prose at the time. In those years, Marshall High had a stable of phenomenal teachers. Most of us, me especially, did not recognize how good they were at teaching us.

Attending Marshall High School, my writing profited from the solid teaching of Mrs. Douglas and Mrs. Muchmore. Although dramatically different in their style and approach, both were adept instructors molding my skills even before I fully recognized writing as my calling. A dear family friend recently remarked that she could see Mrs. Douglas’ DNA on the way I write, particularly in the manner that I craft sentences and in the very deliberate, intentional organization of my story. Mrs. Muchmore served as one of my earliest encouragers, lauding the words I put on paper.

My Great American Novel should already be complete by now. But, it isn’t. Life threw me some unanticipated curve balls. That really irks me because I pride myself on my ability to anticipate. However, life takes detours in between here and now. All is not lost, albeit that it is different. Over the years I have managed to write a batch of stories, poems and even a couple of plays. My publishing success has been limited. I chalk that up to being my own fault.

The past three years, as a member of our local writers group, the Writers Guild of Texas, and through creating content for this blog, I have been able to rekindle my craft. It has not be easy. At times, it has been really rough. Telling a story isn’t simply a matter of putting a bunch of words on paper. Writing is a craft. Writing is a calling.

Like me, my writing has changed. I’m not the same writer that I was a quarter century ago. I’m not the same person. What I cared about writing about then isn’t what I care to write about now. But I still have stories to tell. Getting to know Jesus has affected my writing. For me, writing has very much become a form of worship. It has even become a means of ministry.

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Similar to my journey of faith and recovery, my writing remains a work in progress. Words can change the world. I believe that God uses the stories we tell for the good of His kingdom. At least, I believe He can. I don’t write in a vacuum. God has a plan for my writing. Sometimes, I am fortunate that He lets me in on it. But as is true with ministry most of the time, I simply need to be obedient and remain faithful in this creative calling.

Recovery impacts my storytelling too. The stories I care about clean and sober are not the same that appealed to me when I wrote drunk and high. Thankfully, sobriety has permanently altered my perspective. For me, I write with a greater purpose.

Faith, writing, and recovery. These 3 things remain intricately linked.

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Photos courtesy of Pixabay.

My Monday Morning Cup

I have come to believe if you don’t see God, you’re just not looking. Terri and I are constantly reminded of God’s presence in and around our lives through precious gifts He reveals to us. Sweet T and I were honored to attend the annual Union Gospel Mission Dallas Praise Banquet along with a couple of our ministry cohorts-Matt and Laurie. We joined in fellowship with several hundred people joined together in the mission to end homelessness in Dallas and to share the hope of the Gospel with men, women, and children coping with life pulling the rug out from under them. We heard testimonies of a good God, merciful and mighty, changing lives and transforming outcomes. Our involvement in ministering to the men and women of UGMD has shown us first hand that God is alive and active in the midst of our fallen world.

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“for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

Philippians 2:13 (ESV)

On Sunday morning, we kicked off our church’s annual participation in the ministry of Operation Christmas Child (a project of Samaritan’s Purse), an incredible movement that uses simple shoe-box gifts packed with love and covered in prayer, to impact the Kingdom for the Gospel. Sweet T and I have been blessed to be involved in this global project for nearly 10 years. Through OCC, we have witnessed God perform mind-boggling things, repeatedly and abundantly.

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We are reassured daily that God exists because we see Him at work all the time, all around us. We count ourselves incredibly blessed to serve as vessels for His story to unfold in our community and all over the Globe.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33 (ESV)

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