Tag Archives: woman writers

Woman of faith: 48 years of diamonds

Joni Eareckson TadaBe encouraged and lifted up by the quotes from Joni Eareckson Tada:

“I can’t believe I’ve lived in a wheelchair for almost 50 years. At times it is hard. God has taken me down a rough road – living with paralysis isn’t easy. But on that rocky path, I have discovered many diamonds in the dust, slivers of scripture packed with power – a fragment from a biblical proverb or a snippet of a Psalm…”

“As I look back on 2015, I am so grateful for God’s abundant blessings — blessings like the stamina to have been “on the road” 102 days this year, where I had the privilege of joining Pastor Chuck Swindoll for a Sunday service interview; speaking before international disability leaders at our Joni and Friends Global Access Conference; and attending our wonderful Family Retreat in Texas. Plus, the blessing of having recorded over 8,000 radio programs after 33 years on the air! Not to mention the opportunity to have written on important issues, such as the dangerous right-to-die bill in California. And of course, I praise the Lord for having been declared cancer-free! Wow, what an amazing year it has been! It’s why I want to be like the tenth leper in Luke 17, who came back to Jesus with loud praise, thanking Him for what He had done. Will you join me…”

“The Psalms wrap nouns and verbs around our pain better than any other book.”

“Suffering provides the gym equipment on which my faith can be exercised.”

“We rant and rave against God for the evil we have to endure but hardly blink at the evil in our own hearts.”

“God wants us to be a good example to others who are observing us.”

“There is this fine line between presenting to You all of my weakness and thinking that it can’t be done. In Your strength, I find my own.”

“Here at our ministry we refuse to present a picture of “gentle Jesus, meek and mild,” a portrait that tugs at your sentiments or pulls at your heartstrings. That’s because we deal with so many people who suffer, and when you’re hurting hard, you’re neither helped nor inspired by a syrupy picture of the Lord, like those sugary, sentimental images many of us grew up with. You know what I mean? Jesus with His hair parted down the middle, surrounded by cherubic children and bluebirds.

Come on. Admit it: When your heart is being wrung out like a sponge, when you feel like Morton’s salt is being poured into your wounded soul, you don’t want a thin, pale, emotional Jesus who relates only to lambs and birds and babies.

You want a warrior Jesus.

You want a battlefield Jesus. You want his rigorous and robust gospel to command your sensibilities to stand at attention.

To be honest, many of the sentimental hymns and gospel songs of our heritage don’t do much to hone that image. One of the favorite words of hymn writers in days gone by was sweet. It’s a term that don’t have the edge on it that it once did. When you’re in a dark place, when lions surround you, when you need strong help to rescue you from impossibility, you don’t want “sweet.” You don’t want faded pastels and honeyed softness.

You want mighty. You want the strong arm an unshakable grip of God who will not let you go — no matter what.”

“AS a matter of fact, God isn’t asking you to be thankful. He’s asking you to give thanks. There’s a big difference. One response involves emotions, the other your choices, your decisions about a situation, your intent, your ‘step of faith.”
A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty

“But that’s the same for everyone if we let society determine our value,” Steve explained as he sat down on the piano bench. “We always lose when we evaluate ourselves according to some one else’s ideas or standards. And there are as many standards as there are people. A jock measures you by your athletic ability; a student by your brains; a steady by your looks. It’s a losing battle,” he said, striking a sour piano chord for added emphasis. “We have to forget about what people say or think, and recognize that God’s values are the only important ones.” ―  An Unforgettable Story

“That truth set me free, along with other truths like leaning daily on God’s grace and realizing that God’s children are never victims. Everything that touches their lives, he permits. The irony is, you can’t imagine a more victimized person than Jesus. Yet when he died, he didn’t say, “I am finished” but “It is finished.” He did not play the victim, and thus he emerged the victor. Forget the self-pity. True, your supervisor may be trying to push you out of your job. Your marriage may be a fiery trial. You might be living below the poverty level. But victory is ours in Christ. His grace is sufficient. Know this truth and it will set you free. This day, Jesus, I can feel sorry for myself or victorious in you. Show me how to choose the latter.”
More Precious Than Silver: 366 Daily Devotional Readings


FROM WEBSITE: In 1967 Joni Eareckson Tada was injured in a diving accident at 17 years old, leaving her in a quadriplegic state with minimal use of her hands. After two years of rehabilitation, Joni re-entered the community with new skills and a fresh determination to help others in similar situations.

Joni and Friends began in 1979 at Joni’s house as she and her friends responded to the many questions and needs pouring in from families affected by disability who read Joni’s books or had seen the movie of her life. From the beginning, Joni, her staff, and volunteers devoted their energies to developing Christ-centered programs and services which would help meet the spiritual and practical needs of disabled people and their families, including Family Retreats, the distribution of wheelchairs and Bibles worldwide to people affected by disability, and church training at local and national disability ministry conferences. Joni and Friends continues to reach out around the world to people and families affected by disability with the love of Christ and the practical help they need.


Please visit the web-site of Joni Eareckson Tada at http://www.joniandfriends.org/


Marilynne Robinson: “There is no justice in love”

alice munro n marilynne robinson

Alice Munro and Marilynne Robinson in 1983

Christian women are generally not as well known as Christian men globally. I did a search in the internet recently and found some names and write-ups on some. I shall post excerpts and quotes on some of them at random. Today we read about Marilynne Robinson (born November 26, 1943), an American novelist and essayist. She has received several awards including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2005 and the 2012 National Humanities Medal. She received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Washington in 1977. She has been writer-in-residence or visiting professor at many universities. She currently teaches at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and lives in Iowa City.

QUOTES AND EXCERPTS: “Robinson is a Christian whose faith is not easily reduced to generalities. Calvin’s thought has had a strong influence on her. Her novels could also be described as celebrations of the human—the characters that inhabit them are indelible creations.”

Quotes from her book: Gilead  (the novel Gilead, won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize)

Love is holy because it is like grace–the worthiness of its object is never really what matters.”

“These people who can see right through you never quite do you justice, because they never give you credit for the effort you’re making to be better than you actually are, which is difficult and well meant and deserving of some little notice.”  

“It all means more than I can tell you. So you must not judge what I know by what I find words for.”

“There is no justice in love, no proportion in it, and there need not be, because in any specific instance it is only a glimpse or parable of an embracing, incomprehensible reality. It makes no sense at all because it is the eternal breaking in on the temporal. So how could it subordinate itself to cause or consequence?”

“I’m writing this in part to tell you that if you ever wonder what you’ve done in your life, and everyone does wonder sooner or later, you have been God’s grace to me, a miracle, something more than a miracle. You may not remember me very well at all, and it may seem to you to be no great thing to have been the good child of an old man in a shabby little town you will no doubt leave behind. If only I had the words to tell you.”

“There are two occasions when the sacred beauty of Creation becomes dazzlingly apparent, and they occur together. One is when we feel our mortal insufficiency to the world, and the other is when we feel the world’s mortal insufficiency to us.”

“It seems to me people tend to forget that we are to love our enemies, not to satisfy some standard of righteousness but because God their Father loves them.”

“Nothing true can be said about God from a posture of defense.”

“Christianity is a life, not a doctrine . . . I’m not saying never doubt or question. The Lord gave you a mind so that you would make honest use of it. I’m saying you must be sure that the doubts and questions are your own.”


ON religion: “The first obligation of religion is to maintain the sense of the value of human beings. If you had to summarize the Old Testament, the summary would be: stop doing this to yourselves. But it is not in our nature to stop harming ourselves. We don’t behave consistently with our own dignity or with the dignity of other people. The Bible reiterates this endlessly. ”

ON teaching writing: “I try to make writers actually see what they have written, where the strength is. Usually in fiction there’s something that leaps out—an image or a moment that is strong enough to center the story. If they can see it, they can exploit it, enhance it, and build a fiction that is subtle and new. I don’t try to teach technique, because frankly most technical problems go away when a writer realizes where the life of a story lies. I don’t see any reason in fine-tuning something that’s essentially not going anywhere anyway. What they have to do first is interact in a serious way with what they’re putting on a page. When people are fully engaged with what they’re writing, a striking change occurs, a discipline of language and imagination.”

Writing and Publishing: a random list of women

woman-writing-spiritual-memoir1Who are some Christian women of worth today? Here is a list of Christian woman writers (in excerpts):

Writing and Publishing

Ann Voskamp: Author and Blogger

As a Canadian farmer’s wife and homeschooling mother of six, Ann Voskamp presides over schoolwork and an unending pile of laundry. She also maintains a popular blog and contributes to Laity Lodge’s The High Calling site. In 2011, Zondervan released her first book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, which quickly became a New York Times best seller, with Publishers Weekly describing her as a “publishing phenom.”

Since then, Voskamp has been in demand in media and has appeared on television, radio, and the conference circuit, including Women of Faith. Her book and talks respond to the conundrum of the biblical injunction to “rejoice” in a broken world. Voskamp has found joy through gratitude, leading her readers into the practice of seeing and recording glimpses of God, “flaming bushes” in the everyday moments of life. Voskamp blends raw memoir with a contemplative, poetic style she calls “prosetry,” enriched with quotes from such notables as C. S. Lewis, Henri Nouwen, and Annie Dillard.

 “How do you rejoice in a world where babies die and diagnoses startle and your life can be upended in a moment?” Voskamp asks. “Where in the world, in all this world, do we find joy?” Voskamp’s own reflection on her meteoric and improbable fame reveals the humility that permeates her work and her presence. “When you know you are so broken and something is entirely in spite of you, it lays you right low,” she told CT in an e-mail.

Her followers on social media, numbering in the tens of thousands, describe her as “authentic,” “pure-hearted,” “tested by suffering,” “a gentle spirit.” In an age of acrimonious public discourse outside the church and much ego-driven sermonizing within, Voskamp quietly invites rather than incites. And as American women enter the fourth decade of (self-reported) declining levels of happiness, her invitation to practice eucharisteo, giving thanks, “right where you are,” provides a needed goad and balm.

To be sure, poetic writing that stretches some metaphors has created controversy in some quarters. But none can deny her growing influence.—Leslie Leyland Fields, editor, The Spirit of Food

Margaret Feinberg: Author and Speaker

Margaret Feinberg’s biblical knowledge, passion, quick wit, and turn of phrase have drawn in readers. And her emphasis on experiencing a personal relationship with God resonates with Christians from many persuasions. The Dallas Morning News has said, “She has a knack for leading us to an ‘aha’ insight or a reflective ‘hmmm.’ ”

Feinberg is a relational teacher who longs to connect with her audience and welcomes interaction and feedback through her books and Bible studies.

While researching for Scouting the Divine, the book that put her on the radar, Feinberg spent time with a beekeeper, a shepherdess, a farmer, and a vintner. She asked them to comment on biblical passages, not from a theological perspective, but as experts in their trade. Along the way, she gained insight about how Scripture applies to life today and discovered answers to puzzling questions: Do sheep really know their shepherd’s voice? How often does a grapevine need to be pruned? What does it mean for a land to be described as flowing with honey?

She writes of her experience feeling the first shearing, what a shepherdess considers the finest fleece. “For the first time in a long while, maybe ever, I had felt with my own hands what God desired from sacrifice,” she writes. “In asking for the first fleece, God isn’t asking for the biggest. He wants the smallest and the softest. He doesn’t want more. He wants the best.”

Feinberg turns exegesis into an art, delivering findings that invite the audience to touch, taste, smell, and see God’s handiwork throughout the Scriptures and in their own lives.—Ed Stetzer, president, LifeWay Research

 Rachel Held Evans: Author and Blogger

Since starting her blog in 2007, the Dayton, Tennessee, native has tackled religious pluralism, Love Wins, biblical literalism, biblical inerrancy (the word biblical, for that matter), the earth’s age, and gender (the focus of her second book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, Thomas Nelson). Evans, who grew up in nondenominational churches in the South, regularly questions traditional evangelical stances. “We aren’t looking for a faith that provides all the answers,” Evans writes about fellow young Christians. “We’re looking for one in which we are free to ask the questions.”

“A period of intense doubt and questioning” led to her blog, a first book (Evolving in Monkey Town), and eventually leaving her local church, a decision Evans recounts in one of her most-read blog posts. (She and her husband tried unsuccessfully to start a house church last year.)

Evans’s contrarian approach treads the path of many other “post-evangelicals,” and her essays often read like Exhibit A for Barna Group’s unChristian. With 1.2 million unique visitors to her blog in the past year, Evans is clearly striking a chord.—Katelyn Beaty, associate editor, Christianity Today


Marilynne Robinson
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gilead (Saint Martin’s Press), Marilynne Robinson is a famed novelist and essayist. Influenced by John Calvin, Emily Dickinson, and Henry David Thoreau, Robinson published her first novel, Housekeeping (Farrar, Straus Giroux), in 1980. Her 2008 novel, Home (Macmillan), won the Orange Prize for Fiction.

Elisabeth Elliot
The widow of martyred missionary Jim Elliot, Elisabeth Elliot has written what have become staple books in many evangelical homes. She is the author of over 20 books, including Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot (HarperCollins) and Passion and Purity (Revell).

Lauren Winner
A professor of Christian spirituality at Duke Divinity School, Lauren Winner writes and lectures widely on Christian practice, the history of Christianity in America, and Jewish-Christian relations. Her books include Real Sex (Brazos) and, most recently, Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis (HarperOne).

Luci Shaw
Author of 10 volumes of poetry, Luci Shaw has been a writer in residence at Regent College (Vancouver) since 1988. She lectures on art and spirituality, the Christian imagination, poetry-writing, and journaling as an aid to artistic and spiritual growth. Her books include Breath for the Bones (Thomas Nelson) and The Genesis of It All (Paraclete). Shaw is poetry editor of quarterly journal Radix and poetry and fiction editor of Crux, a journal published by Regent.

Amy Julia Becker: Author and Speaker

At 34, Amy Julia Becker has stirred one of the great philosophical conversations of our time: “What does it really mean to be perfect?”

In 2011, she authored A Good and Perfect Gift (Bethany House), highlighting her struggles with perfectionism as she chronicled the months before and the years after learning that her firstborn daughter, Penny, has Down syndrome.

Becker’s book reminded readers that Jesus, though truly perfect, also had bodily limitations. Each of us, with our limitations and imperfections, has gifts to offer the church, in dependence on one another and on God.

“Penny is both created in God’s image and fallen from grace—like everyone else,” she wrote for CT. “By giving me a new understanding of God’s view of perfection, Penny has offered us a way to participate more fully in the body of Christ as we become more and more human and more whole.”

The Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary graduate juggles writing during the most time-consuming, energy-draining first years of rearing three young children. Becker is widely admired for balancing her various callings and responsibilities as mother, wife, and writer. “Being fully human implies understanding ourselves as creatures,” she wrote. “A major aspect of recognizing my humanity meant recognizing that I am vulnerable, needy, dependent, and limited. Just like my daughter.”—Gabe Lyons, founder, Q


Please visit the following link for the full article and list of notable women in many other fields.