By Kathy Parish
When I was growing up a beloved English teacher always had a beautifully leather-bound volume titled Apples of Gold. It was filled with inspirational quotes and verses on glossy pages, and selected students read from it over the school intercom at the beginning of the day as a sort of devotion. It was many years later that I realized Joy Petty had titled her book after this verse in Scripture. I particularly remember Christmas readings and how I loved the way the words rolled off my tongue when I had the honor of doing the reading. Even today, I just love the sound, the “feel” of well-written words. You probably do, too, if you are reading this blog. Because, if you are reading this blog, you are a writer.
In this season of gifting, I want you to be especially aware of the gifts that you have been given-the gift of loving words and the gift of sharing words. Some of you may write to entertain or to invite the reader to a time and place in history. Others may write to illustrate moral truths and life in relationship with Jesus, inspiring the reader to persevere in the walk of faith. Many ACFW members write to encourage-to lift up the hurting to a place of healing. And, often, your books may contain all of the above, bathed in your prayers that they will fall into the hands of readers who would not otherwise be exposed to Biblical truths, making indelible impressions and resulting in changed lives.
I, too, am a writer, but a recent tragedy in our family’s life seems to have “dried up” the stream of words that used to flow so easily. The challenge of fulfilling this blog assignment seemed overwhelming and was undertaken with great trepidation. Only trust that, with healing of this overwhelming grief, the words will return, keeps me going. Much of that healing is coming through words. The Bible. Cynthia Ruchti’s Tattered and Mended. Daily e-mails from the GriefShare support and recovery group. The words of prayers lifted in my behalf by many ACFW peers, my church family, and a loving community of co-workers and friends. The words of comfort and praise experienced through worship music.
I said all this to remind each of you that writing is a gift. And the kind of writing that exemplifies ACFW values is definitely a God-given gift. Your words, aptly written, touch lives in ways that you will only know when you reach heaven. Your words entertain, inspire, encourage, evangelize, heal, and save lives. Your gift of words does not come from a beautifully wrapped and ribboned box under a tree, but, rather, from the truth that your life, your gift, your calling, were designed by God, of whom the psalmist said,
I pray that this Christmas season you will perceive the invisible gift under the tree, the gift of words-beloved, aptly spoken, aptly written, used by God to touch reader’s lives. May you all have a blessed Christmas season.
Kathy Parish lives with her beloved husband, daughter, grandson, and miniature Schnauzer, Piper, in central Arkansas. Her faith is the foundation of her life. An actively practicing cardiology nurse practitioner, she has indie published one inspirational romance, Freely Given.