Sunday

The Call of the Mountains

I spent last week at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Still tender from the experience, I thought I'd share a bit of my heart.



If you had asked me 20 years ago, I’d have said I was a beach girl. Growing up on the shores of Narragansett Bay, the scent of the sea has always drawn me.

But then I discovered the Blue Ridge Mountains. Part of the Appalachian Trail, these verdant peaks exude a magnetism all their own. Musical streams wind silver threads through otherwise silent forests. Soil damp with leaves, and moss, and dew carpet the paths, inviting me deeper. 


God walks among these hills, and it is here that I most often catch a glimpse of him. A flash of his diadem in the sunbeam that strikes the water. The crimson of his pierced brow in a flower petal. The whisper of his voice in the trees, and the water, and the wind. 

I first heard his call to write in these mountains. And here I first uttered the words I’d been too afraid to say before: 

I am a writer. I write for God. 

There’s no turning back from statements like this. 

My mountain path winds always upward, defying the forces of gravity that seek to pull me back. Busyness, discouragement, family responsibilities. I can’t neglect those I love and say I write for God. That would be blasphemy.  

Sleep is often the gift I lay upon God’s altar. “It’s better to be sleep-deprived than God-deprived,” Becky Tirabassi once said, and it is true. 

My early morning writing time becomes my worship. First I read his Words, then I write my own. Lord, speak through my sluggish brain and stumbling fingers. Help me create something beautiful. 

On busy days when I cannot write, something deep inside me aches. My soul grows restless, longing to find release in expression. “If you can do anything else and be happy,” a writing colleague once said, “do it.” 

But I cannot. I am besotted. 

And so I press on. I pour myself out. I plant a thought and examine it. Weed or flower? Worthy or worthless? Hours of labor land in the compost heap to be ground into mulch and tilled under to feed the next seedling. 


Occasionally a blossom rises from the earthy soil. It startles me. An acceptance letter. A publishing credit. An email from a reader saying thank you. Or, wonder of wonder, a book contract. 

Do these affirmations change anything?


No. 


I am a writer. I write for God – the God who sees what I do in secret and promises to reward me. 

“God is not unjust;” his Word assures. ”He will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them” (Heb. 6:10). 

Where I live, I cannot see the mountains. If I’m not careful, I forget they’re there. 


So I return every year to the place of my calling. To remember. To reflect. To rest.  
To pick up my staff again and set my face toward the summit. 

One day, like Moses on Mt. Nebo, God will call me home. 

But until then, I am a writer. I write for God.











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