Monday, March 2, 2015

God's Plans by Julie Auld


"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare (peace) and not evil, to give you a future and a hope."  (Jeremiah 29:11, ESV)

God can show us so many things when  we allow ourselves to be in a place where it is only us and God.  When we allow our hearts to be still, be prepared to listen for his voice removing the distractions of this world, giving God first place that he deserves then we can hear him speaking.
Recently I did a road trip with 3 small dogs and a cat in the back seat of my 4WD from Longreach to Brisbane ( without radio or cds), taking in the amazing landscape and small country towns along the journey.  We live in an amazing country that is yet to be explored and documented.  Living in the city all my life I never understood the beauty of Australia and how we can take the small things for granted. Moving into an outback town I have seen how tough it is to really survive on drought stricken land, but I am also amazed with the colours of the sunsets and sunrises the outback can give us. 

 God had shown me that from each town I visited or drove through there is a story for me to write.  The stories that I write will be an encouragement to others that have gone through a similar journey to me.

My hearts desire is to serve God in missions, to write my book, to be able to  travel overseas and Australia.  I have  also learnt that I need to  surrender all my dreams totally to God so that it is not my doing but God's and he is the one where my success will come from.  

 I have wanted to go to bible college for several years now and in 2015 I have been accepted to study a  Bachelor of Ministries at bible college by distance.
 My road trip to Brisbane meant that I was able to meet with the bible college lecturers and other distance students. 
 The next three years will be an incredible journey as I take my walk with God to a deeper level studying the bible, understanding and trusting what he has planned for me and  be able combine it with my writing. 
I know God has a plan for me and each of us, a plan that he designed for me before I was born.
God  gave me this love for words.
God gave me the desire to want to serve him.
God gave me the desire to want to write.
My life is like a jigsaw puzzle and God is the one who will put all the pieces together the way he planned.
Right place Right timing.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Words and words are all I have... by Anusha Atukorala


I wake up in my hotel room at the Changi airport. The time is 4.40 p.m. Groggy and disoriented, I walk to the bathroom. My eyelids are half closed. I splash cold water on my face. A cup of tea would be nice. I plug in the kettle and make myself a cuppa. I sit back on my bed and sip it slowly. Mmm. That feels good. Very good.

I wake up. I remember. I am here waiting for my connecting flight back home after Mum’s funeral. Without any warning, tears begin to rain down my cheeks. My blouse gets soaked. Mama is gone. My beloved, wonderful, amazing, one of a kind Mother is no more. I miss her so. I can’t reach her. Never again on earth. Never is a sad word. Never is never! I put the cup down. I rush to my overnight bag. I pull out a book. A slim volume with a light green cover. I open it.

“This book is for Anusha when I’m gone. 4/5/07” AA

It’s the journal my Mama left for me. Slowly, I turn its pages and begin to read. The tears continue to fall. But Mum’s journal comforts me, a warm fire on a dark sad winter’s night. Quotations, poems, verses; many in her own beautiful familiar hand writing. What a treasure trove! I read on. I am blessed. Her presence is with me.

That was 6 weeks ago. It’s now almost 2 months since my beloved Mother passed away on the 4th of January 2015. Mama hadn’t been sick for more than a few days, so her death came as a mammoth shock to us her family. We’d been hoping to celebrate her 90th – all 34 of us children, grand children and great grandchildren – only 6 months on. We could hardly believe that we’d been cheated of that special celebration for Mum. She was eagerly looking forward to it and so were we.

In today’s blog I honour the extraordinary woman who was my Mum. Because you see… if not for her, I would not be part of CWD. Mum was a writer. I imbibed my love of books and reading and writing from her. She was a journalist for 72 years – right until she died at age 89. Her Christmas article was published in the newspaper 10 days before. In 2014 she was given the award of Lifetime Achievement in Journalism. Mum was also a counsellor and a speaker and a friend of many. She touched hundreds of people. She used words. To bless and build. To challenge. To build a better world.
The Journal she left me is now my most prized possession. I discover inside an excerpt from an email I wrote to her in June 2007. “I have some good news about my writing. I got my first Aussie acceptance. Isn’t that wonderful? I had a letter yesterday from Strand Publishing. My story ‘A dream realised’ will be printed in a book called ‘Australian stories to inspire the heart…” It touches me now that Mum pasted it in her special journal. She was the "ever-present, totally-for-me" cheer-leader of my writing journey. When I sent her a link to my Amazon Author page just a few weeks before she died, she responded immediately:

Goodness gracious me! I AM vastly impressed, darlintest of authors.
Your devoted fan,
Anne A.


Mum wrote fearlessly to change systems. She challenged injustice and stood up for the downtrodden. Her writing made a difference. Today, though sharing with you a little of her professional career, what I’d like to highlight is something different. For almost 16 years, Mum and I wrote a long daily email to each other every night. Today, the 5093 emails (yes, that many) she sent me over the years comfort me. Her journal blesses me. Mum kept closely in touch with her seven children and their spouses, her eleven grandchildren and their spouses and her 4 great grandchildren. That is a lot of us! Mum was a prolific email correspondent with many people all over the globe; young and old, men and women, people from all walks of life. She was a writer! Not only professionally but all the time.
We writers have one major tool that we use over and over again. Words. Words matter. Words build and create. Like bricks to a builder or paint to an artist, we writers have the time of our lives splashing words about in life's ocean, don’t we? But here’s the question. What of the words we use in our spare time? Are they being put to good use as much as our professional writing? We writers have the ability to touch lives. Do we use words to that end? Are others enriched by our words? All day? Every day? Whom can you bless today through your writing? An email? A snail mail letter? A card? A poem? A few words on Facebook? A status message? A story – not just for publication but to encourage a friend? May you and I continually colour our world with words – words that bless, anoint, encourage, challenge and inspire.

And just as Mum’s journal continues to bring healing to my life – may you and I use words to heal and restore. Are you up for the challenge? And while we are about it – do you have stories of how your words have blessed another? I’d love to hear them.

Anusha Atukorala is a writer with a song in her heart and a message to proclaim. The love of Jesus is her anchor, her strength and her song. Her first book ‘Enjoying the Journey’ is a collection of little God thoughts from every day life. She has been enriched on her writing journey not only by God’s wisdom and inspiration but also by many amazing writer friends just like yourself! You can connect with her on her weekly blog and website Dancing in the Rain. Do drop in to say G'day.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Lent - Give up or Take up?

Photo courtesy of Common Grace
/Bible Society
“So what are you giving up for Lent?”
Up until two years ago, I’d never given Lent much thought. For some reason, I know not why, I’d thought it an outdated practice that Catholics observe. Typically, it appeared to be reduced to the question above. In my overly judgemental moments I found it strange that apparently non-pious people chose to participate in such a “custom”.
Two years ago I felt the nudge in my soul to explore Lent and one of the studies I followed introduced me to the notion of “spring cleaning of the soul” which particularly grabbed me. We spring clean everything else, so why not the soul?
Yesterday I was cleaning out a cupboard that we used to store odds and ends and invariably I came across stuff that at one time was useful but no longer. Similarly, I’ve found junk in my soul that needs throwing out as I’ve refocused my walk with Jesus during the past two Lent seasons.
Fasting is an important aspect of our daily walks allowing us to let go of our dependence on certain things (food, TV shows, internet, etc) so we can filled by the Lord as we rely on Him. It’s a practice I grapple with and it’s this challenge that makes it worthwhile to keep doing regularly.
However, I’ve also found it important to actually take up a new practice during Lent. Activities that change my focus in my daily time with Jesus.
 “Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you.” (Eugene Peterson)
This year I chose to take-up two activities:
1. The Bible Society has teamed up with Common Grace to focus on the Lord’sPrayer. I find it such a great prayer in aligning my spirit to focus on God. In a year where I’m seeking to “adore” God more, the Lord’s Prayer is an excellent way of starting my day.
2. I follow Margaret Feinberg’s work and she brings thousands of people around reading the Bible. Two years ago we read the entire Bible (yes, in six weeks!) and last year, the New Testament. This year, we’re reading the Gospels. But Margaret also introduced us to the idea that a friend showed her of using the Colour Method for reading each passage. I love this as it forces me to linger longer on the words and the message. I won’t do it everyday but I hope to do it 3-4 times a week. Try it.
Photo courtesy of Margaret Feinberg.com
I hope we all draw closer to Jesus during these next six weeks as we prepare for Easter. 
What are your thoughts on Lent?

Are you giving up or taking up something for Lent this year?





Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Northern Sydney. Ian's first novel of speculative fiction, Angelguard, is now available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Qualities of a Christian Writer by Nola Passmore



What qualities do you think are needed by a Christian writer?  In asking this, I'm not only thinking of work that has specific Christian content, but anything a Christian might write with a view to publication.  It could be novels, non-fiction books, poetry, devotions, blog posts or a myriad of other material.  Here are some things to think about.

Heart attitude – What are your motives for writing?  Is it to glorify God and help others draw closer to Him?  As noted above, this doesn't mean that everything you write has overt Christian content, but it should be consistent with a Christian worldview.  God gave us our abilities for a purpose.

Your own devotional life – Are you spending quality time with God?  Do you study scripture regularly?  How’s your prayer life?  You need to have water in your own well in order to impart it to others.

Responsibility of a teacher – If you have aspirations of teaching others the word of God, make sure you know it well.  Study it, pray about it, ask God for revelation and insights, read commentaries.  God holds teachers accountable for what they teach (James 3:1).

Integrity – Are you practising what you preach?  None of us is perfect, but we can’t expect to help others follow God more closely if we’re not seeking to be more like Him ourselves.

Transparency – We’re often touched by reading honest accounts of people who’ve struggled with different issues.  However, it costs you emotionally to lay yourself bare.  If you have deep, personal stories that have caused you pain, they are worth sharing so that you can help others.  But seek God’s wisdom in knowing how much to share, with whom, and when.

Patience – There can sometimes be a long time delay between sending your work off and receiving that acceptance or rejection letter.  Some journals and magazines include the expected time delay on their web sites.  Always give them more than that time.  If you haven’t heard by then, you could send them a query.  Sometimes, you’ll never hear.  Once it’s accepted, there can also be a big time delay before it appears in print.  Waiting is part of the game.

Perseverance – (Luke 8:15) - Anyone who tries to get material published is going to get the odd rejection letter (maybe hundreds of rejection letters).  Famous authors get those letters too.  You may have written a really great piece, but have had it rejected because there were hundreds of submissions and they only picked ten, they already had other similar works, it was in a different style to the type they usually choose or ... it wasn’t very good.  If it’s the latter, there are lots of things you can do to improve.  But sometimes, it’s just a matter of polishing it up and sending it off somewhere else.  Don’t give up.  Perseverance is necessary if you want to see your work in print (e.g., 2 Pet. 1:5-8).

Humility - Do not despise small beginnings (e.g., Zech. 4:10) – All of us would like to have an article published in a magazine that has millions of readers.  It’s also nice to get a cheque for your work.  As a general rule of thumb, however, the magazines that pay and the ones that have large circulations, also attract the most number of submissions.  You’re in a much larger pond and have less chance of being accepted.  Don’t be afraid to start small.  Even if you only have a paragraph printed in the church bulletin, you’ve already reached 100 or more people. 

Teachable spirit – You never stop learning and growing while you’re on this earth (Phil. 1:6).  You need to be open to the Holy Spirit’s prompting when writing.  You need to be able to accept feedback from others graciously and discern which comments to act on.

I wish I could say I have all of these qualities nailed.  The truth is that I struggle with a lot of them, but that's okay.  It's all part of the learning curve.  How about you?  Do you agree or disagree with any of these?  Which ones do you struggle with?  Do you have any other qualities that you think should be added to the list?  I'd love to hear from you.



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


Monday, February 16, 2015

Unlikely Places by Nola Passmore



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



Thursday, February 12, 2015

FaithWriters - An Oasis for Christian Writers

Way back in time, when the Internet was still new, dial-up reigned supreme (albeit slowly), and a blog sounded like a plank of wood in a mud hole, I was introduced to Themestream—a huge site where writers could share their work, get feedback, and develop their skill. For the first time ever, I looked at something and thought, Hey, I can do this.

Being someone who has always hesitated to try new things for fear of failure (do I have any brothers and sisters out there?), this was a dramatic step, and one for which I am very thankful. The Holy Spirit pointed me in the right direction and I jumped straight in. For two years, I wrote inspirational articles almost every day, gaining a large following, confidence, and skill. Which was just as well because Themestream went down the drain in April 2001, a victim to its own success.

By the time tumbleweeds were blowing down the old Themestream streets (say that six times fast), I had a website in place and a growing subscriber base. Another reason to thank God. Even so, there was a void. I missed that community of writers, encouraging and equipping one another. As a loner, it was something I never expected to miss—but I did.

Many other writing sites popped up post-Themestream, but they didn’t last. That’s when FaithMania arrived. Scott Lindsay, a young entrepreneur, saw the need for a site where Christian writers could share their work in a safe, encouraging environment, and he was right.

The demand for space on FaithMania very quickly outgrew the site’s ability to cope. That’s when Scott took the leap and created the much larger FaithWriters.com. That was well over a decade ago, and under current owners Mike and Bea Edwards the site continues to provide an oasis for writers to hone their skills, test the waters, develop their confidence, and enjoy community with likeminded people.

FaithWriters - an oasis for Christian Writers

So passionately did I believe in the need for this type of environment that I started working alongside the owner in 2003. Since then, it has been a constant joy to see countless nervous newbies develop into polished and professional wordsmiths.

There are many ways to participate in FaithWriters, and a quick exploration of the site can be overwhelming, but after all these years, here are my top spots:

  1. The Writing Challenge. This is, without question, the backbone of FaithWriters, and that’s not just because it’s my baby. New prompts are posted forty times each year (ten topics each quarter), and members are invited to write to topic, word count, and deadline. The top ten entries each week are eligible to be published in future Mixed Blessings anthologies. Free Silver members of FaithWriters are able to enter the Challenge four times to test the water. Be warned, though, it has been known to be addictive.  

  2. The Regular Articles. This area is open to any member to write and share their articles, poems, short stories, etc, and possibly receive feedback from their peers. 

  3. The Critique Circle. This area is for upgraded members, and can be an excellent way to receive deeper critique on works in progress. 

  4. The annual Page Turner contest, which is a manuscript contest offered by Breath of Fresh Air Press and FaithWriters each year to Platinum members, with the winner receiving a cash prize, editing, and the promise of publication.

From experience, I know the incredible value of FaithWriters for Christian writers. If I didn’t believe in it, I wouldn’t still be a part of the community after all these years. God definitely used it to change the course of my life in ways I would never have anticipated. I’ve seen the same unfolding in countless others as well. Maybe it’s time for you to rise to the FaithWriters’ Challenge, too.



DEB PORTER is a publisher (Breath of Fresh Air Press), writer, editor, and popular public speaker, with a particular gift for communicating in a way that is both enjoyable and easy for readers and listeners to understand. Deb has been the right hand person at FaithWriters.com since 2003, and is a regular speaker at conferences, but prefers to spend one-on-one time with authors at these events. As the Coordinator of the FaithWriters Writing Challenge since its inception, Deb has helped shape this weekly contest into arguably the most popular aspect of FaithWriters.com, and she now publishes the winning entries in the Mixed Blessings book anthologies.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Time for the Poor



Modern humanity appears to be in a financial crisis like never before – and the failing currency is time. How often have you heard someone say, or even claimed yourself, that they’re time poor? (I can’t point a finger as there would be three pointing back!)

I was recently with a group of people involved in the writing industry in various ways. Each of them lead a busy life and I started thinking about all the things they achieve in the space of a week, let alone a year. It’s a pretty full load.

Interestingly, I know most of these individuals also actively create opportunities to support others, including with their time. Each activity may not necessarily equate to a huge commitment, but anyone who’s felt the pressure of overwhelming ‘to dos’ will appreciate how even a small hand can make life seem so much more manageable.

In my writing journey I can name many super busy people who have given me an investment of their most precious resource. Time. Observing their lives, I’ve noticed these individuals make generosity with their time a habit. Their investment may have been simply an email of encouragement, a book review on a relevant forum, purchasing a novel, critiquing a poem, re-posting book related events – or it may have been a far greater investment like editing a manuscript, publishing written work, making a book launch happen and so many other forms of time based support.

This brought me back to the Biblical depiction of a generous person, that being one who devises (mentally plans and prepares) generous things (Isaiah 32:8). To me this does not suggest a haphazard event, but rather a strategic, purposefully measured gift. So I asked myself – how generous am I with my time? Even more specifically, how often do I devise generous plans with my time as a writer?

I’m probably preaching to the choir, but don’t you think actively inventing ways to be generous is a great approach to life (including supporting our fellow writers)? Given our modern pressures, perhaps our best bet for effective strategising is to target one of our greatest deficits. And let's make every 'time dollar' count.




Adele Jones lives in Queensland, Australia. She writes young adult and historical fiction, poetry and short inspirational works. Her first YA novel Integrate was released in September 2014. Her writing is inspired by a passion for family, faith, friends, music and science – and her broad ranging imagination. To find out more visit www.adelejonesauthor.com or email contact@adelejonesauthor.com

Thursday, February 5, 2015

'Writer's Bottom' and how Facebook and a treadmill saved me from getting it.

I suspect that many of you, like me, are time-poor. My enormous, all-encompassing dreams of being an incredibly famous and well-loved writer have to fit in with four kids, two dogs, a husband in ministry and a Sunday school roster.

Practically, this is how this lack of time works out for me: I don’t exercise.
I justify it in all sorts of ways. It takes too much time, it wastes my day, I’m not very good at it anyway. Also, pain.

However, the sad fact is that (and I suspect I’m like many of you also in this) I sit on my bottom. A lot.

And it’s not all that good for me. I am at distinct risk of developing Writer's Bottom. (Do you really need me to explain what that is?)

Things came to a head last year when I watched a doco on why moving around will stop an early death. (It was a bit more complicated than that, but that was how my brain heard it. YOU ARE GOING TO DIE!!!)

I counted up the hours per week I spent on my rear end and grimaced. It didn’t look too good. But honestly, I just knew that there was no way I was ever going to cut down my writing work and replace it with, agh, *exercise*.

My dilemma was miraculously solved when, twice in the following week, I read about treadmill desks. What a revolutionary, efficient idea. Here was a desk that was also an exercise machine. You could walk – and work – at the same time.

Of course I looked them up immediately and nearly keeled over (see? early death is imminent) when I saw the price. Three grand to stay alive for 10 more years seemed a small price to pay, but when the books are only just selling fast enough to pay for my cello lessons and the four kids and two dogs still need to eat, the treadmill desk seemed like an impossible dream.

But I knew that I still needed a treadmill desk, because, tummy flab. And I’m not a girl to turn away from a challenge. So I turned to the almighty power of social media and asked my Facebook friends if they could help me. Did any of them have an unused treadmill sitting in their sheds that they’d be willing to lend? 

An old friend from Sydney had just the thing and, even better, she was prepared to give it to me. We had a lovely coffee one morning and I came home with the first part of my plan.

The second part was hitching up some kind of desk apparatus. I googled ‘DIY treadmill desks’, studied the pictures and set my brain to designing something that wasn’t going to cost a lot. It took a few goes (the desk part has to be at the right height) but I came up with something that worked. 

My original desk setup was just too low so I added a second layer.
My current desk set up is made out of (1) an old computer desk piece, (2) glue and staples, (3) Velcro and (4) the kids’ matchbox car garage which was sitting unused in the toy room. (Unsurprisingly, it was free. I had all the materials in the house or the shed. In fact, the only things I spent money on were replacing the belt for $100 and purchasing a ‘split’ keyboard so my arms aren’t constricted, for $160.)

The next test was to see if it actually worked. The first time I walked and typed it was a bit confusing. I found I could type well enough, but editing was tricky. And there was constantly a nagging feeling in the back of my brain, which kept asking me, ‘hey, why are the legs moving here?’ Once I explained it all to my frontal cortex, it seemed to get the idea and now it doesn’t bother me anymore.

I don’t use the desk all the time. I keep it for my dedicated writing hours (as opposed to my fafffing around on Facebook hours) but when you think that I have 6 to 9 dedicated writing hours per week, that’s actually quite a lot of walking. Yesterday, for example, I walked for 2 and a half hours before I decided that I had been quite virtuous enough and would now rest my tired feet. In that time I wrote 2,500 words, and then another 1000 sitting on my bottom, feeling quite relaxed and at peace with the world.

Note the split keyboard. My laptop sits on a shelf just behind the treadmill desk, at eye level. 

Setting up a treadmill desk doesn’t have to be at huge expense, and it could just improve your health and the fit of your jeans. What do you think?



Monday, February 2, 2015

Pondering Punctuation

by Catherine Sercombe

That paragraph – the one I have just written – is pristine. Perfect. Pedantically precise even. Or so I thought. My computer program disagrees, emphasizing its point of view with a bright, green underline. I right-click the mouse. The computer’s angst shouts at me, declaring in no uncertain terms that my carefully chosen words are but a mere

FRAGMENT! (consider revising).

Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating with the exclamation mark. It exists only in my imagination – something my computer lacks. I don’t blame the computer. It is locked into a particular set of parameters. It obeys the rules of grammar, or rather, the rules of its programming. It cannot interpret the context. It cannot see the big picture; the one where I, the author, have chosen to shorten the sentence to a fragment.

FOR IMPACT.

A computer’s expertise extends to punctuation, not creativity. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a die-hard fan of perfect punctuation. It is the body language of the written page. What's more, punctuation's power to prevent cannibalism is unrivaled. For example:

‘Shall we eat Grandma?’
vs
‘Shall we eat, Grandma?’



Yep. Punctuation can be a life-saver.

My contention is that knowledge and intention based on the ‘big picture’ may also influence an author’s selection and placement of punctuation marks. A wild example of this is Tim Winton's Cloudstreet, with its minimalist take on punctuation and complete absence of quotation marks. Who cares! His word choices have such beauty and impact at times that his unconventional punctuation style seems moot. But I bet both his computer and his editor had a bit of a whinge about it.

Here are a few punctuation marks I placed in a document this morning:

Let's see my computer dispute that creation according to its programmed punctuation rules!

As I ponder the power of punctuation to clarify meaning or to create nuances that improve the way a story unfolds, I realize something: Our Creator punctuates our personal progress according to His intentional, creative plan.  And,

The divine Author of Life punctuates perfectly.

I, on the other hand, am inclined to operate at this level like my unimaginative computer; I get frustrated when God shortens my plans with a divine ‘full-stop’.

I can be impatient with His ‘semi-colons’ too. I don’t want to look or wait for additional information; I want to know it all now! As for colons… oh boy! When faced with a list of several things He wants to complete in me before we move forward, I'd rather skip a few in my eagerness to embrace an exciting new ‘sentence’. I want a green light so I can race ahead. I’m all too inclined to frustrate my Author by flagging a green underline and whinging, ‘fragment (consider revising)’.

But here’s the thing – we don’t get to do life over. No edits. No second or third or sixteenth drafts. Our life stories sit on the universal page, the book of life, exactly as we throw them down. Which could mean absolute disaster if they were ‘published’ as they stand. How could my life story possibly bring honour and glory to the Author of Life? Or reveal His ‘good news’story as is?

Praise God! Hindsight reveals He has been actively ‘editing’ my life's story all along, adding essential punctuation marks to slow me down, make me pause, emphasize the important things, stop me blundering on into danger, extend me, talk to me, shout a warning, cause me to question my actions and ideas, make me ponder... and His grace has coerced and confined my foolish detours into parentheses, rendering them irrelevant. What a relief!

My mother told the story of a letter she had written to my father when they were courting. At the end, she had added a postscript which contained a row of punctuation marks and the words, ‘I’m not sure where the punctuation marks should go, so I’ve put them all here. You can put them in the right places for me.’

I think I’ll take a leaf out of her book and trust God to punctuate my life according to His big picture. How about you?


Catherine Sercombe is a wife, mother of three, (they’ve grown up now), creative writing graduate and published author from Queensland, Australia. She manages an education business where she has the privilege of tutoring and encouraging students of all ages to meet their academic goals. Described in publication as a ‘writer whose work reflects an infectious love of language’, Catherine says, ‘From A to Z, surely the best writing begins and ends in God.  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1-2). That’s an epidemic worth spreading.’