One of my earliest memories is of watching my Grandmother make cookies. Both my parents worked, so Gramma was the caregiver, cook and housekeeper in our home. She made really good cookies. I especially liked the oatmeal kind with chocolate chips. I loved the smell of them as they baked and I loved peering into the oven and watching them puff up. Gramma made a lot of cookies over the years. She always used the same utensils - a big brown mixing bowl and an old wooden spoon. I never saw her use a recipe book and sometimes she'd throw in an ingredient that was a bit different, but they always seemed to turn out right. They were always a labour of love. She didn't just make them because it was her job or her duty to the family. She did it because she loved us.
Our words are a bit like those cookies. They need to be blended in just the right way using well worn utensils and baked at just the right temperature. They should be time-tested with experience and above all, created in love.
I confess I don't often think about love as part of the process. I think of the responses of readers, the joy of seeing a book between the covers, the compliments and the praise. I think, selfishly, of all the things I will get from writing. Too often I don't take time to consider what I am giving to my readers, and to God. I forget that my words are my "sacrifice of praise," given to God and to the world, not out of a sense of duty or because it's my job, but because of love - the love a gracious God bestowed on me when I was created. My DNA had writer stamped all over it, from the very beginning, a gift from my creator to me and to those who would need my words.
I believe God wants to increase that love, as He refines me, challenges me and enables me. As I grow into a deeper understanding of who He is and who I am as His creation, the fitting response is to love in return - love the work, love God and love my readers.
In a recent interview Carolyn Arends did with Wm. Paul Young, writer of The Shack, he says - "So anytime I write, my first thought is always, “I trust that this is a river.” And if the timing is right, I’ll get swept down-river somewhere."
Yes, a river - a river of love flowing in and out of me, and my work. It is therefore "fitting to praise Him" (Psalm 147:1).
Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor's wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone and also has two devotional books in print. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. Marcia's second novel,
A Tumbled Stone has just been released.