Passing on the baton

If writing were a relay race then you could probably rely on me to fumble, drop the baton, fall over my shoelaces and grind to an undignified halt. Such is my lack of strength and agility on poor health days especially.

Thankfully, writing isn’t a race for me, nor one I need only my own levels of fitness to equip me for the task. All energy, ability and inspiration is God-given and He alone equips, enables and sustains me.

There are also many wonderful companions on this journey who urge me on, cheer from the sidelines, encourage and support me prayerfully too.

I was greatly blessed recently by three writer friends profiling me on their sites as part of a general writer blog hop:

Dawn Paoletta has a tremendous zest for living and writing out her faith. She is an avid journal keeper, and not averse to speaking about the dark side of life either as she chronicles her spiritual journey with grace, authenticity and truth over at ‘Enthusiastically, Dawn’.

Heather Mertens is avidly all in for Jesus. She shares from her generous heart in the hope of encouraging others and bringing them together in community. Heather connects with me on many levels as she shares her trials and the miraculous overcoming of them by the grace of God. She writes out her heart at ’40 Year Wanderer’. 

Rebekah Gilbert is another searching soul who is open about her doubts and fears. She is a beautiful singer/songwriter and one who lives into the answers even as questions about life and faith fill and flood her heart. You can find her sharing her vulnerable journey of spiritual awakening at  ‘A new song to sing’. 

Now it’s my turn to hop in and answer these questions…

1) What am I writing or working on?

Over the years I have contributed poetry to various anthologies and a few months ago I sensed God suggesting I write my own (gulp!) and helpfully providing a title to work with, which shall remain secret for the time being.

This poetry book will speak of my life and times as an M.E and chronic illness sufferer as well as exploring universal themes of life, love, loss and faith.

It is my dearest hope to self- publish it in the near future (God and health willing) and for proceeds to be given to a charity which is close to my heart.

Apart from this, I am also working on a devotional book which will feature some of the ‘Prayer Whispers’ God has spoken to me over the last few years.

Further on the back-burner is a memoir which is unfolding slowly as I add to it on a gradual basis.

2) How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I believe the calling on my life, the way I share my journey as a Christian believer, writer/poet, M.E and chronic illness/childhood abuse sufferer is uniquely personal to me. My reflections, prayers, poetry and deep delving into dark areas of life are a composite mix of the way God has gifted and called me to write.

God takes all our experiences and personal stories and weaves His greater narrative from them. I’m one of many, yet also a single individual who shares her story in the way God encourages her to.

3) Why do I write what I do?

As a child who went through emotional and sexual abuse, had a dysfunctional family and was never encouraged in her creative endeavours, my writing was a cathartic, private activity and rarely shared with another.

This creative light was hidden under a bushel for many years until my two sons began to make inroads into blogging, writing poetry, monologues, plays and novels (Sam) and blogging, writing bible studies, lay preaching and devotional work (Joe). Their encouragement and enthusiasm partly inspired me to ‘go public‘ at last with my own work.

I also sensed a strong call from God to share my reflections and life story by combining prose with poetry as I looked at life and faith issues. Then the poetry writing took off exponentially and seemed to be demanding a site all by itself. Thus, ‘Poetry Joy’ was born and expanded into shorter reflections and ‘Prayer Whispers’ as well.

My main aim is to speak from the heart of all that God is doing in my life, share my walk of faith, encourage others who are going through health, life and faith challenges, and to leave a legacy of faith to pass on to future generations.

4) How does my writing process work?

My writing is fuelled by Holy Spirit inspiration, coffee and dark chocolate ~ in that order.

I have no study, desk, or scenic view, and very little energy or strength. Much of the process involves writing in pyjamas, sitting hunched over while fingers type slow and stiff on the keyboard.

And it also looks something like this ‘PLAY’  template:

Pray   ~ This is the foundation of all I do, an ongoing conversation with God. Many rich ‘Prayer Whispers’ have arisen from these times of surrendered intimacy and snatched moments.

Listen  ~ to God’s voice, my life, my body, and heed what they’re all telling me. Pacing and resting are essential for me to have any energy to write at all.

Attend  ~ Being aware that God often speaks when I am resting (or frequently when using the bathroom) or otherwise disengaged mentally. Sometimes a few words rise to my consciousness, snatches of conversation, a snippet from a book or a film I’m watching. All provide a creative spark that may become a poem or blog post. So I always keep a notepad handy wherever I may be. It’s impossible to guess when inspiration will strike!

Yield  ~ to God’s will. Be obedient to what He is asking me to do. Sometimes taking a nap (or 3) is the most valuable and holy thing I can do in a day. It also means resting faith and confidence in His provision. It doesn’t depend on my health or ability as much as a willingness to show up, hear His voice, write, and release.

Now I am delighted to pass the baton on to three dear writer friends who have not only been there for me emotionally and creatively but have also impacted and inspired my life and faith journey. I encourage you to check out their sites.

Keren is a fellow M.E sufferer, contemplative Christian and deep thinker. I love her mystical side and openness to listen to the insightful words and images God shares with her. We support one another prayerfully and she has a generous heart to help others, especially those going through challenging circumstances. She describes herself thus:

“I’m a fairly quiet soul, beginner mystic and Christian contemplative. Soon after gaining my degree in  Literature I became ill and have suffered with M.E. ever since. After turning forty, I finally found my vocation in writing. The Lord is now leading me deeper into prayer and into his heart, and teaching me how to share the stories, “seeings,” understandings and theology that he graciously gives me.  I have a passion for the edification of women, church unity and the leading of people by quiet waters. I’m married with a stepson and a neurotic black and white cat.”

You can connect with Keren at her prayerful, contemplative blog, ‘Still Waters Ministries’ or at her ‘The Garden of God’s Heart’  blog where she shares daily delight in creation and life around her. Keren’s writer page can be found here at Facebook.

James was one of the first writer friends in the social media/blogging sphere to offer not only a hand of friendship but also support, encouragement, practical suggestions, and prayer to me. He is a great friend to have on your side!James writes about finding identity, divine hope, grace and encouragement in the messiness of an imperfect world.

As a person challenged by life’s circumstances, he writes with honesty about his own struggles, doubts and fears and the overcoming of them. He’s not afraid to ask the hard questions, to say he doesn’t have the answer or to debate painful issues.
You can find James writing at his blog,  ‘James Prescott’, or you can connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

Bob is an encouraging friend and a man I admire as a person of great spiritual insight and depth. He reveals, shares and lives a contemplative Christian lifestyle and is the least likely person to sing his own praises.

His major purpose in writing is to encourage other believers to not settle for anything less than all that Jesus died to give them ~ namely a wonderful, warm, close love relationship with the Father.

As he says in a recent blog post:

My purpose is not to shock, but to wake up Believers to God. Mysticism is one of those knee jerk words we’ve rejected…Mysticism is when the incarnation of God invades our lives, however God reveals Himself. It’s beyond and bigger than we could ever imagine.”
He shares his insights about spirituality that transforms at Contemplative Monk’ and can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

If you have made it thus far then you deserve a medal or a (2nd?) coffee break at least. Thank you for reading this ramble about writing. Future posts will be more concise, I promise! I leave you with a quote that echoes my own feelings and desires about writing:


8 thoughts on “Passing on the baton”

    1. Hi Marcie. Thanks for reading and leaving a kind comment! It's amazing how much writers have in common as well as how much they differ too. We all have a lot to learn from one another, don't we? Blessings 🙂 x

  1. Joy, your words touched my heart deeply as I read them just now. You are definitely being called to "comfort those who need it with the comfort you've received…" Blessings on your writing plans. I'm a newbie trusting writer who's gone and is going through "hell and back" in the journeys of my life. I share HOPE with women, parents and inter-generational spaces. My message is "the joy is in the journey." Have a fairly new soulsister blog reaching out to families in pains. All the best

    1. Adeline, your words of encouragement brought tears to my eyes. Thank you! I join you in having gone "through hell and back" in the journeys of life and in seeking to mine those dark places for gems to share with others. Hope shines brightest in the darkness. I agree that "the joy is in the journey" and it is the journey itself which makes and shapes us. May God bless all your writing endeavours to His praise and glory. 🙂 x

  2. Joy
    You are such a dear soul to me. I so enjoyed reading about your life and why you write. 🙂 You are a fabulous strong faith filled encourager.
    Love your heart to pieces!
    Ps – God speaks to me in the bathroom too. 😉 I think it's because it's quiter and I have distractions. ❤️

    1. Heather, you are equally dear to me, my friend. I'm glad that you could relate to my writing journey. Like you, I have a strong desire to offer hope and encouragement to others. And I'm also pleased I'm not alone in having God seek me out in the sacred space of the bathroom! It is certainly an area where we can switch off from distractions and are therefore more easily accessible to Him. Though I firmly believe He will use any available place or situation to capture our attention. Thanks very much for stopping by during your blogging siesta to offer such sweet support to me. I really appreciate it. 🙂 xx <3

    1. It's OK, Heather. My brain overlooked the errors and made it read right! You have the same concentration problems as I do when overtired or less well. Laughing about it is the best remedy! 🙂 xx

Your words matter. I'd love to hear from you.