For All The Lost Words - by Liz Carter



A couple of weeks ago I was on a little break in Hay-on-Wye, the capital of all things Book. I loved the winding bookshops with their maze of stacked corridors and shelves, stretching out into infinity and back again. Every genre under the sun, from battered Mills & Boon through to ancient niche theological tomes, all sitting there in dusky basements and sun-filled attics, longing to be found once again.

I thought about how many words were in these thousands upon thousands of books. How many forgotten words, left behind in another life, scorned and ignored in place of all that is new? How many authors slogged away at desks laden with typewriters and stacks of paper, dreaming of a time when their words might be found by others? How much work and sweat and tears went into each one of these books, lost among the myriad others closing in around them?

Maybe we sometimes feel like our work will never be found, either, and will sit somewhere in a dusky computer file, basking in obscurity. Maybe some of us have written books full of lost words, words we once upon a time sat and wrote with hope hovering on the horizon. Maybe some of us have had our work published, and yet now it sits on leaden shelves in Hay-on-Wye.

But all is never lost. All the words we have written, the dreams we had, the ideas that flowed from our pens and keyboards – they have all been part of something. They’ve been a part of what has brought us to where we are, each word weaved in with who we are and what we hope for, written with passion and love and courage and humour. 

These words, so much part of us, are never lost, because God knows the words which make us up. God knows all we have given and all we have strived for; each rejection email, every cross-fingered submission, every time we hit the ‘publish’ button on Amazon. God knows our hearts so full of words, because he put them there in us, placed them deep in the depths of who we are. God made us writers to be keepers of words and releasers of words, and every one counts.

God knows the number of hairs on our heads, so how much more does he know the lost words in our lives, in all the lives? As I reflected on this in Hay, I looked at the mazes of books differently; I saw so much creativity and passion reflected there instead of a load of dusty old tomes in a cellar. I had a sense of the Creator of the Universe sparking creativity in his creation, and instead of ashes there was beauty. Instead of dust there was glory.

Your words are never wasted. Your words count – all the words, even the hastily scribbled, even the words which don’t seem to matter. For me, that’s both a delight and a challenge. I love that God keeps all my words, but also know that I am accountable for all my words, too. I want to use them for the good, to spark hope in others, to bring joy. I want to speak life through my words.

What do you long for, with your words? Wherever you are and whatever you write, know that God loves your heart of words. He loves the way you weave them together to make something beautiful. He loves that you are living in your calling, that you bring joy and light, love and laughter, freedom and challenge, fun and adventure to people’s lives. And know that your words will never be lost, even if they end up in a higgledy pile in an old bookshop.

They’re in good company.

Liz Carter is an author and blogger who likes to write about life in all its messy, painful, joyous reality. She’s never known life without pain and sickness. She likes Cadbury’s and turquoise, in equal measure, and lives in Shropshire, UK with her husband, a church leader, and two crazy teens.
Liz is the author of Catching Contentment: How to be Holy Satisfied, which was published by IVP in November. This book digs into the lived experience of a life in pain, and what contentment could possibly mean in difficult circumstances.
 







Comments

  1. Thanks for this post, Liz, which I have just come across. It's so inspiring. I have been feeling a bit lost but recognition from other writers and a generous payout from ALCS are the stuff of hope. However, how much more important to realise that God stores up all our words like our tears for His glory. Sorry we didn't meet on 9 March, I'm loving your book.

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  2. I love this post, what you say and how you say it, Liz!

    "All the words we have written, the dreams we had, the ideas that flowed from our pens and keyboards – they have all been part of something. They’ve been a part of what has brought us to where we are, each word weaved in with who we are and what we hope for, written with passion and love and courage and humour. "

    What a cool thought!

    My Words! (by me)
    I take such joy in words
    Of those who've gone before
    And those who're writing now
    But most of all the ones I write
    That make me pause and smile.


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