by Marcia Lee Laycock
The room was abuzz with chatter and a high level of excitement. It was the beginning of the annual writers’ conference and it was obvious everyone was happy to be here. I watched as old friends embraced and new friends shook hands. I heard snippets of conversation that told me many were here to network and others that revealed some who harboured a little fear and trepidation.
A woman about my age smiled at me and we started to chat. She was writing a devotional book so we had much in common. Then the conversation veered and she began telling me about her husband. “He’s so creative and supportive,” she said. “I wouldn’t be half the writer I am without him.” As we parted I smiled to myself. It was a delight to hear someone gushing about their spouse.
I mingled a bit more and was introduced to an artist/photographer, a tall distinguished looking man. We talked for awhile about his work. Then the conversation veered. “I owe everything to my wife,” he said. “She’s the talented one in the family and her encouragement keeps me going.”
Wow I thought, as I walked away. Twice in one night – that’s a record. I circulated a bit more until someone announced it was time to move into the dining room. I joined the flow of people and ended up in line behind those two people. Yes, they were married to each other.
I pondered what I’d just seen and heard. Encouragement, supportive words and actions – they can make the difference between success and failure, between joy and confidence in our work and that deadly fear of pointlessness. Words of encouragement are like links in a vest of chainmail – they bind us together, they keep us safe, they guard us against the enemy.
A man named Eliphaz knew this. Listen to what he said to a man named Job:
“Think how you have instructed many, how you have strengthened feeble hands. Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees” (Job 4:3-4).
“Strengthened feeble hands and faltering knees.” What affirming words. Though Eliphaz went on to chastise Job, those first few words praised him for being a man who was an encourager of others, a man whose words strengthened others. His words were like chainmail.
This, I believe, is the goal of all writers of faith – to encourage, to strengthen, to lift up. No matter what we write, be it a poem or an article, or a novel, we should seek to do this through our words.
Like that couple I met at that writers’ conference, we should seek to do this through our very lives.
“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today...” (Hebrews 3:13).
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. Her second novel, A Tumbled Stone was recently short listed in the contemporary fiction category of The Word Awards at Write Canada. Marcia also has two devotional books in print. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan.
Visit Marcia’s Website
Her most recent release is the first book in a fantasy series, The Ambassadors
Abundant Rain, an ebook devotional for writers can be downloaded here.