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~Rising Up~

“Now go and write down these words.

Write them in a book.

They will stand until the end of time as a witness.”

Isaiah 30:8~NLT

Pink rises to touch the tips of the tall loblolly pines. Soon the sun will stretch high above them, shining on my wilderness place. Two morning doves set atop a rugged wooden cross, surveying the seed my husband dropped on the group for their morning feast. I listen to their sound. Their cooing, soothes me here.

God has called me into the wilderness. Taken me to the mountain top. Prepared the way ahead as my body began to crumble and fail in ways I was not expecting. We never truly expect it do we? The call into the wilderness. It’s not the place I would have chosen for myself.

Can I tell you there is beauty in the wilderness? Grace in the hard edges.

It was here I first heard the call. A quiet tugging of my heart to share what I have seen. The joy I have tasted. The grace and beauty He lays out before me. The suffering, the pain, it’s real. It. Is. Hard.

It tenders my heart to yours. I want to share with you the beauty He shows me through it. His provision and tenderness, it is breathtaking.

I didn’t understand this call. The nudging in my spirit. I’m not qualified. Though I have the gift of words (truly it’s closer to the gift of gab~smile), I can spin a tale that will leave you doubled over in laughter. I don’t have a literary degree, was never an English major. In fact, other than a few sporadic college classes, I don’t have a degree of any kind. I argued my abilities, or lack of them.

I was pressed on every side. I have found hope and joy in the hard. Peace, even when  it came through tears.

These are the gifts from my secret place with God.

The push to share these things with the hopeless became overwhelming.

That is when I created this space. I began to write, to share, to encourage. I was bombarded with doubt and insecurities, feelings of not belonging, not being good enough.

Through time and perseverance, I developed an on~line community of other faith writers. They prodded me on, encouraged me. Accepted my words.

I was embraced by Jolene Underwood and the community she built called Rise Up Writers. Her calling to encourage writers, help them grow in their writing. It was through this community I began to see myself as a writer. A real writer. Not a wanna be or a pretend writer, but an honest to goodness writer. Eventually, I was able to call myself a writer. Out. Loud.  I no longer cringe when I tell someone I write.

When Jolene graciously asked us to share what it means to Rise Up With Our Words, I was all in!

Writing is an act of obedience for me. God had placed this in my heart and their was no walking away, though I tried.

It’s a blind step of faith to lay my words out there. Open the window to my raw places and let you in. Show you, you are not alone. Point you to One greater than your circumstances.

My hope is to encourage the hopeless through sharing my story. Paint a picture of the goodness of God. Sharing his provision, his mercy, his grace.

I don’t take this calling lightly. It has become my ministry as I live in the confining space of chronic illness. As I use my words to minister to others, I often find God ministering to me. Opening my eyes, my heart to all He is doing here.

This is the space, God has called me to. The space to share His Word. The space where I have to empty myself of me, and humbly become a vessel He can use.

I picture you, fellow sojourner, on the other side of the screen, as we walk through the hard together. I pray the words I pen point you to The One who holds you in His hand.

This is what Rising Up With My Words means to me. Being a witness to all I have seen, all I have experienced, all He has and will do for me.

“The fig trees are forming young fruit, and the fragrant grapevines are blossoming. Rise up, my Darling! Come away with me, my fair one!”

Song of Solomon 2:13~NLT

Gifts of Grace

Tammy Mashburn

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