The more I write about writing, about how blogging can make us feel small, and the more I read about writing, and the power of our words, the more I want to reach through this screen and just shake you.

I want to grab you by both shoulders, look you in the eyes and tell you,

“So, do you see now?”

Do you see how much your story matters? How no one can tell it quite like you. How intricate the patterns of your life are and how much He loves being the only One who can see the whole picture that makes up you.”

My friend Annie Downs put it so beautifully I wanted to cry:

“He made you once. You were worth the work that first time. Then He threw away that mold because one of you is enough for Him. You’re enough. You are the sacred painting, the original. The best bowl of onion soup in the world.
From Head To Foot: All of you living all for Him

You are. You’re delicious! (Unless of course, you don’t like onion soup and then kindly substitute beef goulash or that amazing broccoli-cheddar soup they have at Panera, or – if you’re my husband – pepperoni pizza.)

You get the point, though. Just exactly who you are is God’s idea of a once-in-a-lifetime recipe.

I have another friend, another Ann, who is also a writer. She’s funny and also a little bit Audrey Hepburn, don’t you think?

And it takes her hours and hours to write. It never comes easy or fast. She labors over her words, erasing, back-spacing, praying and often accidentally deleting what just took her eons to produce.

She has six kids and a house full of chaos just like you and me. She wonders if she’s any good at this thing we call writing and she worries about how her words will be received. She sometimes eats snickers bars at midnight.

Her life has been a messy journey so far. She’d be the first to tell you so. In fact, I believe she once called me “Messy Lisa-Jo” in a talk she gave on the topic of writing and how in sharing our messy selves with one another we simultaneously encourage the community and worship our Maker.

And as we talk about stories – how they get born and make their way into blog posts and then books – I’d love if you could visit with me and her and a bunch of other wonderful women who love to spend time in the written word. Because after six years of blogging she has a book now. And we have a book club over on (in)courage that will be reading it together. She’ll be there. Sharing insights and glimpses into what it took for her to write it. The good, the bad, and the very very hard.

And my hope is you’ll realize she’s not so different from you. Each night you both sit down to tap out the lines of your day to share with someone else. Because it’s what you feel called to. Because it’s how you honor the God that made you both. Because it’s part of what makes you the best bowl of onion soup ever.

And we’re in this thing called life that He’s given us – together – all the way.

“The table still needs to be cleared. The bowls washed. The bread put away. Snow falls in the dark white, on a barn roof. I can’t imagine what deeper layers of my wounds [giving thanks] will gently peel back to heal, but I take her sleeping hand and trace the lines of her skin and I keep counting blessings to keep on remembering to keep on walking out into the unknown.”
~ Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts.