Saturday, May 21, 2011

What Is Our Purpose?

I will be celebrating my 75th birthday in June, and two question people always ask me are how long I’ve been writing, and why I write. I’m not sure about “writing”, but I’ve been telling stories since I was five years old. At least that’s my first memory. It seems that reading and writing went hand in hand for me. As for why, I write because God laid it on my heart that I could share His message of love through my words.

I learned to read early and when I was hospitalized the summer after my fifth birthday with what they diagnosed as viral meningitis, books were my only companion while in isolation. After four spinal taps and lots of prayer, the symptoms and the disease itself disappeared, and I went home. That fall I went to kindergarten and was already able to read simple picture books on my own. Soon after that my mother got me my first library card, and once a week we made the trip to check-out books.

While many readers do so for entertainment, others do it for escape. Reading and writing soon became my way of escaping the things happening in my family. My stories had perfect parents and perfect children. My paper dolls were my family, and I lived a happy life through them and shut out the world around me.
After my parents’ very messy divorce when I was ten, writing in a diary helped me cope with the disruptions including my mother’s suicide attempt, an abusive step-father, and living with my grandparents. The Lord came into my life at age nine, and my faith became the anchor that held me steady through many stormy episodes. I set goals for myself and persevered to reach them with full confidence that God would help me accomplish them.

We all bring different backgrounds and experiences to our writing. Some are even more dysfunctional than mine and some are completely happy and free of turmoil. Whatever our situations were and are in life, we are called to write the stories God lays on our hearts. Sometimes those stories are flights of fantasy to take us to another world of the future. Others take us back to Biblical times to give a glimpse of what life may have been like in ancient days. Still more just take us back to another time in history to show us how our forefathers struggled with hardships and made a way for themselves. So many times they faced some of the same problems that we as Christians face today. Separation from God, an unforgiving spirit, running from God’s will for our life, blaming God for disappointments and failures faced them just as we face them today.
One thing we can learn from historicals is that God never changes. He took them through the rough times and brought them to the other side just as He does us today. Then in contemporary writing we see God’s hand at work in the lives of our characters and know that He will never fail us.

That’s the message our readers need to see and hear. The Jesus who performed miracles in Galilee, brought people to America, revealed himself to people of all nations, and carried the burdens of His children throughout history is the same Jesus who wraps His arms around us and carries us through the fires of adversity to become stronger and closer to Him.

It doesn’t matter how long we’ve been writing. What matters is the truth we bring to our writing. We can learn the skills, the rules, and the mechanics of writing, but none of that matters if the core message doesn’t point to the One who gave us life.

My stories have the theme of forgiveness and reconciliation. Whether the reconciliation is between God and man or man to man, hearts are touched and lives are changed. That's my purpose.

So, what is your goal or purpose in writing your stories? What do you want people to gain from your writing?


Lena Nelson Dooley said...

A very good post, Martha.

I write to help people see how allowing God into their lives will help them get through anything. Some of my books contain characters who actually are led through the salvation experience. I've found that lately my books contain an underlying theme of forgiveness--both of self and others.

I want to write stories that entertain and along the way help people's lives change.

Caroline said...

A totally touching post. Thanks for the post, Martha.

Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar said...

I love your comment about the one thing we can learn from historicals is that God never changes! AMEN! Great post, Martha.

Jillian Kent said...

Hi Martha,
Reading was a sure way of escape for me, it still is. It didn't take me long to come up with my brand, "Escape into the past . . . Find faith for the future." That's one of the things I hope to provide my readers through historical romance, whether they're sitting in a hospital room or enjoying the sun on the beach. To me, finding faith is all about hope in our awesome Lord and the shelter He provides us.

Happy early birthday.

Sandra Heska King said...

My first visit--from the loop. :)

In whatever I write, I want to help people see God in ordinary moments. I want to give them hope and learn to rest in God's sovereignty. To trust that He has a higher purpose for everything He allows to come into our lives.

JoyAveryMelville said...

I was going to post something so very close to Sandra's comment that it took my breath away when I read it.

And, it is also my first visit from the loop.

I write Womens Fiction with a touch of romance and definite 'Happy-ever-after-endings - some from personal experiences - some from what I imagine others would deal with when faced with decisions they'd rather not HAVE to make. It is my purpose to show how people who claim to be Christians face those stretching, growing times where they have to LIVE their faith as well as tell about it.

I also desire above all else to present our Savior as the only ONE who can save us and carry us through those times and will do so without ever leaving or forsaking us.

Martha - Perseverence was not a word I LIVED when it came to my writing.
I quit many times (sometimes for years)if someone or something made it too difficult to continue UNTIL the Spring of 2008.

GOD made it very clear to me that HE was calling me to write - it is NOT a hobby or a career - it IS a CALLING - not fun so much of the time, not easy most of the time but rewarding all of the time.

Thank you, Martha, for LIVING out the word Perseverance and for giving us such a fine example!

Martha W. Rogers said...

Thank you for the encouraging words and all your comments. When we write what God lays on our hearts, we can both entertain and give examples of God's all powerful love and compassion for all people. Thanks for dropping by.

Bella Rose Carlisle said...

I write because I have to--there is no other choice. I'm working on my first Inspirational stories and I hope to bring the quiet word of God to my readers so they may know and love him, find strength in him, and enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

My health has not bee good for several years and this past week I received another setback but through God I will persevere.

I want to show there is HOPE when one believes there is no hope.

As I side note, I only found your books today by accident at Books-A-Million. I'm looking forward to reading the Winds Across the Prairie Series.

Jennifer said...

My purpose as it relates to those around me is to offer hope and encouragement. I love a story that leaves you feeling a little better for having read it.