I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Monday, January 31, 2011

Like a River: How Life Influences Writing

Reading Heidi's recent blog regarding the car accident that almost took her life made me thank God again for the times He has given me my life back. Though usually less dramatic, each of my five dual-chamber pacemaker surgeries has rewired me Energizer Bunny style. Medical technology has extended my life, bringing a renewed sense of purpose and destiny that makes lesser challenges seem easily surmountable by comparison.

Life's major milestones don't have to equal life and death for them to define and deepen us.

As a child, I remember loving words and reading, and finally writing my first piece. I was a writer.

I remember submitting writings until one was published. I was an author.

I remember not knowing how to dance, not even imagining how, and then one day, lifting my foot and moving forward--maybe not gracefully, but expressing happiness in motion. I was dancing.

I remember forsaking all others and voicing marriage commitment. I moved from being single to being married. I was a bride.

I happily interacted with many children, and then had my own. I was a mother.

Major milestones are not reversed. Even if tragedy strikes and we experience loss, we do not return to being non-writers, non-dancers, non-brides, non-mothers. These are measurable life experiences that deepen us and move us forward like tributary streams pouring into a major river, increasing its power and voice. Each sweeping curve and surge adds to our writing reservoir, increasing who we are and what we have to share.

Do we face more challenges ahead? Further goals? Yes--life would be boring without them. But we gather strength from those accomplishments and testify of God's presence and inspiration during the process.

When climbing mountains, every hill climbed adds momentum for cresting the next. And God graciously gives us companions for our journey, other mountaineers roped together for the climb. Or, to complete the earlier analogy, other lively tributaries adding their waters to our streams (and ours to theirs), until we all flow into God's thundering river bringing the world song and melody and message.

Delores Topliff

Photo by Beth K. Vogt


  1. Beautiful post, Dee. Even though life is hard, these experiences strengthen us. We make the personal choice of how to deal with them. A friend told me recently that I was walking through the same valley as my current character. Maybe that's why God allowed me to walk through here--to understand my character's discouragement. But you know what? When you're in the valley, you can only look up! He is the Rock that is higher than I.

  2. When we're in the valley, we see the mountains most clearly. I think God does do things like your comment re. you walking your character's story line, Lisa--interesting.

  3. Eloquent & beautiful, Delores, a thoughtful devotion to help carry us through the coming week.

  4. Dee, I love this post, especially love the last line and the thought that God can use me to bring song and melody and message into the world. Very encouraging. Thanks!

    Aren't you having knee surgery today? I'm praying for you!

  5. My husband read this post and said, "She's very wise."
    I agree. I love the insight you bring to the Ponderers, Dee.

    And I'm praying all goes well for your knee surgery today too!

  6. I love your post, Dee, especially about God giving us companions for our journey. I know because He's put a beautiful group of writer friends in my life to climb those mountains with me. Lifting you up as you have surgery today!

  7. Delores, what a wonderful post. I loved how you shared the different changes in your life with an identification (writer, author, bride, mother....). You're so right. Though situations in our lives change (and at times grow hard), we never go back to what we were. God uses every experience to draw us closer to Him, to enable to see Him more clearly (see the mountains clearly from the valley, I believe you said? :)). Thanks for sharing your wisdom and fervor in your post!

  8. Great Post Dee!
    I try to remind myself, every challenge (change in life etc.) is in truth an "opportunity". Each opportunity strengthens my knowledge of God and his protection and love.

    Alena T.

  9. Dee, amazing, as always. I love the tributary analogy. So nice that the things we've done won't be taken away, and that we can continue learning and growing.

    I also would like to comment on our very own photo-journalist TEE's amazing photography...kudos to you too!

  10. Dee, I agree with TEE's husband. :) Love this: Each sweeping curve and surge adds to our writing reservoir, increasing who we are and what we have to share.

  11. Thanks for this, Delores. Loved the word pictures.
    You reminded me anew of the feeling I had when I stopped saying I was a writer and started saying I was an author.
    That first book contract wasn't just a piece of paper, it was affirmation that I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. Even though it didn't come as quickly as I first hoped, I kept "climbing that mountain," grateful for the fellow mountaineers God provided for the journey.

  12. Some nice feedback comments here and I appreciate.