STONE STORIES: What We Write and Why

Do you have favorite stories? Ones that have profoundly changed the way you look at the world?  My childhood favorites include Madeleine L’Engle’s A WRINKLE IN TIME and Kate Seredy’s THE CHESTRY OAK. But the story that’s had the biggest influence on how I view the world as a writer comes from the Old Testament. It’s found in the book of Joshua, chapters three and four. Here’s the gist of the story.

After wandering for forty years in the desert where God repeatedly provided for His people in amazing ways, yet repeatedly, they forgot His blessings, it was finally time to cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land. As God had done before when He parted the Red Sea so the Israelites could safely flee Egypt, He again parted the raging waters of the Jordan River so all of Israel could safely cross into the Promised Land. This time, in hopes they’d never forget His great provision, God instructed Joshua to have twelve men hoist twelve boulders from the center of the still-parted river and place them in a pile on the shore of Promised Land.  “In the future,” Joshua explained, “when your children ask why these rocks are sitting here, tell them the amazing story of how God helped us cross the Jordan River.”

The stories and poems that we write are like those stones. When read, they have the potential to leave a deep imprint in a child’s memory, serving not only as a reminder of experiences past, but offering glimpses into ways that are good, offering hope for the future, and joy in the present moment. It is my deepest wish is that the words I write, whether openly religious, or secular, point kids towards goodness, hope, joy, and God.

What about you?  Have you ever thought about why you write?  If stories are rocks, what kinds of rocks are you writing?

[Note: Because I wanted to make sure my kids knew this story, I retold it for them from the fictional point of view of a young boy crossing the Jordan River with his family.  That story, entitled “Roaring River”, appears in the November 2012 issue of Clubhouse Jr.]

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10 thoughts on “STONE STORIES: What We Write and Why

  1. I write because I have to – it seems no one, other than God, can listen like the page in front of me. It’s such a unique way to share myself, and at times I believe it blesses others.

  2. What a great way of looking at our work. I hope my rocks are encouragement for other moms, pointing them always to God (and away from ourselves, ugh). Now I’m regretting letting our Clubhouse, Jr. subscription expire!

  3. Hmmm…no one else is in it for the money, huh?

    Just kidding 🙂 Like others, I think one reason I write is to create a connection with kids, the same way I felt certain authors connected with me when I was a child. Sometimes when you don’t feel particularly connected to anyone else, a book can be there to create that feeling.

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