One afternoon I scribbled on a piece of scratch paper clever names for my writing/editing business. I exhausted the entire library of Write With’s, like, Write for You, Write Now, and The Write Pen but I quickly realized what I had already suspected: I am not so clever after all. Every combination I could think of was being used by someone ahead of me in line. I was late to my own coming-out party. Then it sat on my heart. Write With Grace.
Grace isn’t my name, although I answer to it when people think that it is.
Grace is unmerited favor. I’m not good at unmerited favor. I’m critical, judgmental, controlling and quick to condemn. Grace is also associated with elegance. No one has ever accused me of being graceful. I’m fairly awkward and slightly bullish.
The reaction to Write With Grace is predictable: “Oh, I love that name, what does it mean?” I didn’t know what to say. In the middle of my scribble session it felt as if someone had leaned over my shoulder and whispered in my ear, “Write With Grace.” My spirit sang the Halleluiah Chorus in recognition but my head wasn’t sure what to make of it. I just knew that it felt right. Or, write.
Wanting to give an answer, I came up with a quick explanation complete with hand motions and a spelling lesson. “Vertically, we are right with [His] graces, but, horizontally, we can spread that grace through the pages we write.” Which elicits the second, now predictable, response: “Oh, I love that!” Me, too. I just wish I knew how.
This is where it gets murky. I have thousands of words at my fingertips and enough ideas to be the poster child for A.D.D. but as soon as I sit down to explore them I immediately feel shackled and mute. The invisible restraints are unrelenting and paralyzing. There are social issues, cultural issues, political issues, religious issues, family issues, personal issues (Lord knows I have plenty of those), character issues, humanitarian issues…oh, where to begin. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, “Who am I and what do I have to offer? Where is my place? Where is my niche’? What should I write about?”
A lady in my Toastmaster group said to me, “Just write the same thing as everybody else, but write it with grace.”
Genius! I wanted to kiss her on the lips. Again, my soul sang in recognition, and again, I wondered how a critical, blunt, overly-logical person like me, with a terrible bed-side manner to boot, could write with grace about issues that get people into arguments. I’m still wondering.
“’Oh my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have called Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.’ So the Lord said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.’” Exodus 4:10-12
“The Lord God has given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He awakens me morning by morning; He awakens my ear to hear as the learned.” Isaiah 50:40
No, I am not comparing myself to Moses or Isaiah and I do not feel called to deliver an unruly people-group out of bondage. The words of comfort and admonition God spoke to them are for all of us who feel a calling and a purpose, and who feel unqualified to pull it off.
–Tara Schiro is the author of “No Arms, No Legs, No Problem: When life happens, you can wish to die or choose to live” NOW AVAILABLE on Amazon and Barnes and Noble http://www.NoArmsNoLegsNoProblem.com