There's a small card sitting by my computer. Every time I glance at it I smile. The card pictures three horses standing in a green valley surrounded by mountains. I love it because it was sent to me by a friend who had just read my first novel and wanted to tell me how much she was blessed by it. I love it because that woman painted the picture on the card. I love it because the horses in the picture are real. I'd ridden one of them often. And I'd ridden in that very valley surrounded by mountains.
When I look at that card I can smell the sweet green of the wild grasses in the valley and the sweat of the animals. I remember what it was like to be swayed gently by the movement of a powerful animal under me as we walked the high trails. I remember the joy of the wind in my face as we galloped and the vast views when we reached the mountain tops. When I look at that card it all comes rushing back and becomes real again.
A picture can do that. So can words on a page written with skill. It's what I aim to do every time I sit down to write. I aim to bring it all to life on the page so that others can be there too. I want them to experience that place, the emotions of the characters, the pain and the joy. Even if they have never been there themselves they can experience it as though it were real, if I can capture it and convey it clearly to them.
But this is not my only task as a writer of faith. I am charged to do more. I am charged to convey something, even if just a small sliver, of the character of Christ. I can do it because I know Him. He has revealed Himself to me through the story of my life. I see Him in every aspect of it and I have the joy and the privilege of communicating that to others, to make Him real to them.
That's the joy and challenge of writing as a believer in Christ and, in a way, the joy and challenge of living in Him. It's the challenge to see Him and his hand of mercy all around us.
Through her wonderful blog, A Holy Experience, Ann Voskamp challenges her readers to do just that. She calls it the Joy Dare. I accepted that dare for two months while undergoing radiation treatments for breast cancer. It gave me a reason to look around me, in the tiny space where I lived, and find things that were gifts from God just for me. I found them and I found Him, every day.
That's the challenge of life, our assignment. Will you accept it?
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