{Sign Up for the Story Circle through (in)couragers Today!}

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Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reading several works-in-progress, offering little bits of free-time for writing proposals, editing prologues line-by-line, and helping writers dream in the right direction.

The novelist with her first draft, the photographer and her poignant captions, the memoirist with her hard days on paper, the children’s writer/illustrator with a fresh idea. As I sift through their work, an old verse comes to mind, the one that talks about how each of them is God’s poeima. But when I go to look up the verse, I barely get into the sentence before I’m held in place by the smallest word. If only I had the flourescent yellow highlighter from my college days, that one word would be glowing…we.

The pronoun we is plural, and so is the nominative poeima. The Wycliffe Bible Commentary says in classical Greek, the word poeima described deeds, acts, poetry or a body of fiction. As we try to picture whether each of us is a stanza in an epic poem or a poem all its own in a broader collection, either way, the we means something. The word choice here shows the importance of each of us bringing our work into community and not holding it back for ourselves.

For we are God’s poeima. Not you. Not I. We.

I have a sweet friend who gives me the honor of speaking truth to her when she can’t speak it to herself. She texts or calls, from work or home or even the waiting room of the stress center. I read her the poetry I penned in a tea shop in Asia, where I pulled tapioca beads through a thick straw, scribbled red-inked memories in the margin of a self-help book, and gulped hard to hold back stinging tears. She exhales on the line. Then, she asks out loud why when left to our own devices, our brains seem to send us so easily toward despair. I tell her our brains weren’t meant to function alone.

We. Together. We are His poeima, words woven together to heal wounds.

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It’s not just a polite sentiment when you hear someone say we all need your story. Your lines, whether lived out or chatted over a cup of tea or written on paper, show each of the rest of us a bit of God’s glory that we may not have noticed otherwise. It’s like the way one friend brings out a whole different part of another’s personality. C.S. Lewis wrote in The Four Loves, “By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets.” And for this reason, “Two friends delight to be joined by a third, and three by a fourth….”

Think of Jesus’ closest friends during His years of public ministry, how each wrote from a unique angle to tell the whole story. For the Jews, Matthew combed through prophecy and brought to light that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah. For Roman citizens, Mark showed Jesus as a servant and man of action. Luke detailed the days of Jesus public ministry in the careful journalistic style so appreciated by the Greeks. John wrote as an eyewitness and close friend, bringing out the tenderness of Jesus and the beauty of the Word made flesh who dwelt among us. Each wrote what they saw with their own two eyes, what they heard with their own ears, what made their hearts race, and we know Jesus better because they each shared their story as part of the whole.

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When we think of it that way, things feel more like a cooperative and less like a competition, as Lisa-Jo Baker often reminds those of us on the (in)couragers team.

Are you craving the we of God’s poeima? Today marks the start of a new round of (in)couragers online community groups, where you can find a safe place to build friendships and share your story. There are groups for artists, empty nesters, abuse survivors, military wives, writers, stay-at-home moms, women with chronic illness, mothers of prodigals, singles, adoptive families…the list goes on.

While being God’s poeima doesn’t mean we all have to be poets, or writers at all for that matter (He’s the great Author here), there’s a special place in my heart for the ones who do the work of lassoing deep thoughts and feelings into a sensible sequence of words, the ones who often end up wondering if those words will ever be heard.

In The Story Circle, co-lead by my friend, Sheila, you’ll find a fun, safe place to connect with other writers and take the next step in your writing journey. From February to April, a group of 30 of us will meet/chat via Facebook to (1) explore what gets in the way of telling our individual parts of the big story, (2) take action and get better at telling our individual stories, and (3) focus on telling our stories together, becoming a tight-knit group of women who are brave enough both to share our gifts and to cheer others on in doing the same. We’d love to have you join us by registering through the (in)couragers page today. I’m looking forward to re-connecting with current group members and welcoming in the new friends coming our way…all of us together.

For we are God’s poeima.

Don’t miss a post here at Message in a Mason Jar!

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