In my effort to expand my technological repertoire (translation: actually use my webcam), I've decided to post short vignettes titled, "Tea Time with Tracey." As I say in the clip, this is a little bit more than a video blog and alot less than a talk show. More importantly, it is an opportunity for you and I to sit down over a cup of tea and talk about any number of topics...including those related to my upcoming writing projects. I would love feedback on this...
I want to thank my fellow sista-writer, Shon Bacon, for getting me thinking about why I write and my mission as a writer.
*** I am a writer. Even more than that, I am a scribe. Much of what I write is the transcription of something so much greater than I could ever imagine. Yes, even the bad stuff. Most certainly the stuff that I or they call good. It is my own journey and my observations of the world around me that provide the context for my words. These stories are the layers between which a message is revealed. These revelations are born from great pain and brokenness which, after much misguided manipulation on my part, still inevitably leak onto the page. Beyond my own intentions, the words I write seem to transform themselves into a kind of divine intervention. Sometimes for the reader. All the time for me.
For me, Writing is Ministry.
Another truth? I write because it is one way for me to demonstrate the fruits of the spirit even when I, in the course of my daily humanity, fall short so frequently. When I write, I have the ability to show and give love in the most splendid ways. I experience the most magnificent joys. I am patient and kind and fearless and disciplined and... so not like the flesh and blood, breath in britches woman that I can be at times. In a way, I can fully become what I am slowly becoming when I write.
The things I've written and the things I will write (fiction, nonfiction, or poetry) are about restoration and redemption. I allow my characters to do what writer Melanie Clark Pullen says, "cut through the crap and learn to be authentic." Most of the the time, this is even when I find it difficult to do so. With my words, it is my desire to reveal the heartache and hardships of this world in the most candid and straightforward manner I can. I will compel and confront, if necessary. Yet, I will never do so without offering remedies that work and resolutions that are true. The unfailing love of God. The sacrificial covering of Christ. God’s use of faulty human vessels to accomplish great and extraordinary things.
For me, Writing is a tool for Healing.
A scribe is a servant in the Kingdom whose sole purpose is to translate the words of the King. As I grow as a writer, I realize that this call I have requires me to #1) keep my eyes open to everything and everyone around me, empathizing with great passion the many stories, both foreign and familiar, that I come across and #2) keep my ears close to the heart and desires of my Lord and King.
This is so that what I see and the passion in which I process it can ultimately be transformed by the Holy Spirit; coming together as a blessing on the page. If I do that...which frankly I’m still learning everyday to do...then I know I can trust that God will be pleased.
For me, Writing is Worship.
In fact, my mission as a writer can be summed up by a re-working of a quote by the character, Eric Liddell, in the film, Chariots of Fire.
"I believe God made me for a purpose. He also made me a writer. When I write I feel His pleasure."
It's funny how revelation comes sometimes. As much I love to read and listen to them, it's usually not some deep, heavy philosophical truths hidden in some ancient book or sitting on the tongue of some great preacher or prophet that gets me to thinking about my life. Most of the time it is something rather simple that gets under my skin and works it way into my soul. Simple stuff, ideas, thoughts. It's the things that would ordinarily go unnoticed that cause me to really think about something; to actively engage in an area of my life or in the lives of those around me.
A perfect example of that was the 2009 Superbowl. I know, some people will argue that this is just my way of trying to reconcile the loss of the Arizona Cardinals since I was rooting for them, but that is not case (at least not entirely - smile.) I wasn't really a fan of either team but the reason why I chose the Cardinals as the one that I wanted to win the big game was because I have deep appreciation for the underdog. The one that nobody expects to win.
I think there is a lesson embedded in the Cardinal's journey to the big game that teaches us something about how we should live our lives, particularly as it relates to our giftings. Your gift is that thing that God gave you to use for his glory. It could be writing, speaking, teaching, dancing, etc. And guess what? You just might be the underdog. You might have only sold 2,000 copies of your book while others have quadrupled that. You may speak to a group of five, three year olds but desire to speak to the nations. That's okay. Look at the superbowl. The Cardinals were definitely the underdog. They were up against a team and a legacy. The Steelers had a history of winning and a monster defensive line. The Cardinals? Well they were told that they would never make it to the Superbowl. In fact, they'd failed enough times during the regular season that people initally excluded them from play-off contention. They were told that their quarterback was too old, their team was too young, and their coach wasn't quite ready to lead them. Fans and critics alike said that, at least this season, they would never be able to accomplish what they set out to accomplish back in August. What every team playing hopes for. To make it to the big game.
Yet, in spite of a not-so stellar record, in spite of what people said, they made it all the way to the show! And although they didn't win, they showed up and they played their hearts out. Even in the fourth quarter, when the score was 20 to 7, and it looked like the game was over, they didn't give up and if for just a moment, made the Steelers' hearts beat just a little bit faster. The Cardinals fought for it until the very end.
That says something to me. It inspires me. It says to me that all of the times that I'd been told, sometimes even by the voice in my own head, that I wasn't going to make it, that I'd failed too many times, that although I had talent, I wouldn't get very far, that I wouldn't be able to accomplish what God had called me to do...none of that matters when God decides to use me. Those may be the facts about me but they aren't necessarily my truths.
The reality is...it wasn't true for the Cardinals, it isn't true for me, and it isn't true for anyone reading this. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. You're saying, Tracey, they didn't win! You're right. But sometimes it's not about winning. The lesson is not always in the win, the lesson is in showing up to the game and fighting until the very end. God is in control of the outcome but the question is, do we trust Him enough to play like we know we can...in spite of what people may say, in spite of what you think you have or do not have. You and I can make it to the big show! You and I can make it to the game, whatever that looks like for you. Maybe you'll win and maybe you'll be the tool that God uses to humble and challenge the one who will win. Whatever the outcome, keep going, look for the lesson, and trust that it is all for your good.
This is my lesson from the Superbowl. Keep pursuing your God given destiny no matter what it looks like to you or anyone else. If you get to the big game, show up ready to play and fight until the very end.
TMLG In the words of that great theologian, P. Diddy, "Can't stop. Won't stop." :)
Is there anything more beautiful than a woman set free? no longer barely grasping at destiny but cradling it in her arms rocking it back and forth to the beat of her heart made full by love and joy and peace and the release of pains known and lost.
the rhythm simple and complex ---at the same time
understood and mysterious ---at the same time.
There is nothing... no graven image, no circumstance, that surpasses the sovereignty of God and the woman who has surrendered to it.