Sacred Writings
Sandy Willoughby
"and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." 2 Timothy 3:15

Dear Sisters,

I have stopped my spring cleaning to write. I cannot tell you why I stopped what I needed to be doing and I have no idea why my hands found the keyboard before a reason materialized for it... but I am here.

Perhaps there are too many writing topics not yet written and they are crowding inside in need of release. Maybe I let one too many days go by without writing, journaling, or just about anything else? It could be that God led me here but I can't say that for I truly don't know. If I haven't confused you... bless you. If I have done so... bless you, too.
There are so many "things & thoughts" on my mind today that I will just "hand" them to you through here and hope that there might be something you can relate to in the meanwhile.

"Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart." Proverbs 3:3

"I, Tertius, who write this letter, greet you in the Lord." Romans 16:22

I planned to begin again writing letters and note cards to all of those not living close as well as those who are. This kind of writing is becoming a lost art and it should not be so. What joy does it fill us with to receive a hand written word from a friend/relative?
There was a time when this form of communication was all anyone had and it was serious business. Shared in these letters, often long and detailed, were the events of life; notifications of marriages, births, deaths, and other happenings.
Some of our history is known all in thanks to corresponding with the written word.
Along came telephones, vehicles, and even the computers enabling us to write anyone in the world practically for free.
I wonder if we lose touch with ourselves a bit because of this?
I mean, writing wasn't only good for the receiver but equally so for the sender. Thoughts, deeds, feelings, encouragements, and more were poured out and not locked in to build up inside. Letter writing was a form of journaling and we read more and more of how healing this practice... this "art" can be. Now there are countless books available of published letters, diaries, and journals. I guess it is still "big business" in a sense.
"and regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction." 2 Peter 3:15-16

In the Bible times letters were even more important than at any other time. It was in these letters that Jesus was taught, guidelines for all of life were printed and sent out, hope was administered, discipline was given ("All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness." 2 Timothy 3:16), messages of faith, of coming visits to preach, words of motivation were mailed ("Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, since I know that you will do even more than what I say." Philemon 21)and lots more. "I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; but in case I am delayed, I write so that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth." 1 Timothy 3:14-15

I tend towards two extremes: I will either procrastinate to the point of never getting some things done OR I will not rest until others are completed. This is something I am constantly in need of improvement on.
The extreme I find myself in with writing correspondence is the procrastination side. I'll either put off the writing itself until it can be witty, charming, funny, touching, encouraging, witnessing, and... "perfect"... OR I will write a stack at once and not mail them for months, if ever!
Once, when my fourth child was in pre-school my dad received a letter talking of my pregnancy and my dad had to read the entire letter to realize it had been written three  years before I mailed it! I don't even know WHERE that letter was KEPT for that long! It is not good, I know. I am working on it. Failing miserably for the most part, but there is always hope for success:).
Last week I had some people on my mind and I sat down and wrote note cards out to each of them. There were only a few so I was thinking I would get them out. Especially did I think so considering the fact that they had STAMPS already in place. Well, they are still in my vehicle and haven't been mailed!
Moses wrote and Jesus spoke of it:  "For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote of Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My Words?" John 5:46-47
I know what will be on my week's "to-do" list:).
I encourage you today to plan a few minutes at some point this week to write someone. It can be a long letter filled with details about your life... one to encourage with Scriptures, or a quick note that says "I'm thinking about you"... or "I really love you". We need to pour out our feelings and not waste energy painting a perfect picture for others to read about. If you really cannot bear the thought of hand writing these... type them up and print them out using your computer. This is still special when it comes from the heart!
It is quite amazing to realize that the Bible was written mostly in letters and journal style writings. There is even mention of God writing! "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws upon their heart, and upon their mind I will write them." Hebrews 10:16 and "And when he had finished speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God." Exodus 31:18 --- In 2 John 12 we read of more letter writing: "Having many things to write to you, I do not want to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, that your joy may be made full."  May we keep this in mind while writing our letters this week!
"You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts." 2 Corinthians 3:2-3

Letter Writing Basics:

Stationery. As many of you have probably already learned... sometimes you can buy the most beautiful stationery ever created --- just to find it too pretty and perfect to "mess up" with your hand writing! The thing to look at here is getting something onto any paper and not worrying about what it looks like. If you worry too much about appearance... your letter writing will not be very valuable by the time it's done. Fresh white/lined notebook paper in college or wide ruled (college is my favorite!) holds up for any kind of letter writing. It can be left as is, the lines keep it neat enough to read, or it can be decorated with stickers or free hand art. I have found it neat to write the letter in basic black or blue ink and then draw one red heart after a name or special thought... a bright colored tiny star, underlining sweet sentiments with a pretty pastel and so on.
Plain white/cream paper with or without a "texture" is great for anyone who can write anything without lines. I have tried and tried but have such a hard time with this that now I only use something with no lines if I only have one or two things to write! This "freestyle" paper is wonderful for lots of scribble art (basically just a line of smiley faces, vines and little leaves and flowers, and anything else you can draw).
Buying or making beautiful stationery is a luxurious treat in one condition... and that is if you USE it. If you use it... someone will be touched by the beautiful "gift" of the letter sent with matching envelopes!

Pens. Anything that doesn't skip goes. I have used pencils, fine tip markers, ball point pens, roller pens, gel ink pens and just all kinds of writing utensils. Most people can read basic black or deep blue easier than other colors and it is a good idea to keep this in mind when writing anyone on your list of those to send something to. You can use all the colors you want in decorating the sheet/envelope but the main writing calls for these more basic colors.

Creativity. One of the best things I ever got interested in for writing pretty letters WHEN I HAVE THE TIME to do it is lettering. Lettering is something a lot of scrap book and memory book makers learn to make really neat pages. When I first got interested in this, I got carried away with the lettering and that has been what I've stuck with more than anything else! There are lots of books in the craft section of Wal-Mart's and other such stores. They show you different ways to write the letters in the alphabet, show you step by step how to make easy trailing vines, happy rose buds, little bumblebees, fireflies, and more. If I can manage some of these... chances are GREAT that ANYONE can. I can't even draw good stick people, okay?
Dotting/sprinkling the paper where no ink is with genuine essential oils, fragrances, and/or perfumes makes the experience grand for both sender and receiver.

Organized Letter Writing
Find a spot in your home --- one can be created in the smallest of living spaces, trust me.
Jot down a simple list of what you need to keep handy:
Ideas ~
* Stationery
* Pens, pencils, colored pencils, markers, crayons, and so on
* Stamps & Stickers
* Fresh, white paper (lined, unlined, or both)
* Writing tablet for keeping a no frills "to do" writing list. This works great because if you are writing one person and someone else comes to mind you can write a note to yourself to write the other person later. If you are reading your Bible and a Scripture says just what your friend needs, grab your little tablet and make a note to send it to her in a note or a postcard.
* A folder/file for magazine articles, clipped newspaper segments, kids' art, new bookmarkers, and anything else small enough to place in a card or letter.
* Purchased stationery, note cards with matching envelopes, and so on.
* All occasion card selection for quick sending as they come.

What to write?

* Your memories of that person. Your thoughts at the moment concerning that person. Your hopes, desires, and dreams for that person.
* Your daily life. Some of the prettiest and most cherished letters ever written described tasks as simple as washing up the dishes, sweeping clean the porch and shaking the rugs, sparkling all the windows, and singing all the while. Sharing any new rituals or routines recently established in your day.
* Just as good for those reading are honest and raw emotions with what you are really feeling and what you are truly going through at the time. Ex." I grieved so deeply today. I mourned with such sorrow over what is here and going on... and at the exact same time over who is not here and what is NOT going on anymore. I feel like I could just hide from the world..." These sharings open up the gift for others to be able to encourage you.
* Your family. Share what your family is doing and what you feel about it all. This can fill up a few pages alone with little effort!
* Poems. If you've ever written these... pray for God to pour some rhyming or not and create a simple symmetry to send:). If you have never written poetry... try it! I have tons of it that I stored away when I quit writing it at all. Why? Because I didn't sense those around me liked it and I thought it wasn't good. I was wrong. It was good.  It was good because it was good for me.
* Quotes. You can add quotes you find online, in books, and so on to the tops of your letter, to anything throughout that a Scripture comes to mind on, and ending each letter. I do this with Scripture and quotes and enjoy it!

I hope this has provided you with some ideas & inspiration in your letter writing!

Please enjoy a poem I wrote to my oldest son a few years ago. I chose this one because it was among the first I came to in my files. The other and more real reason? I guess I can use this picture:
I am lying on a shore of sand letting the waves rush and roll over me. I get a good breath before the waves come crushing down again. I can't rise up long enough to see what the weather is like or to think of how to change/help the situation.
This is what having a 16 year old son feels like some days.
Basically, I don't make sense. Period. I don't care if I got a reward for knowing something with a signature from everyone in this world on it... he would still fully believe I don't. He will be the kid I've been raising his entire life one minute and this eye rolling, exasperated sighing, completely dis-interested stranger the next... it can be quite lively:).


You seem to have gone from a little boy
To a little man overnight.
You grow more handsome every day
And I see a glimpse of what you will be
As a grown and independent man.
I wanted you to know that I am proud,
Of who YOU are,
Of what YOU stand for,
Of what YOU believe in
And of what YOU dream to be.
I am proud of your gentle smile
And heroic heart.
I am proud of your giving spirit
And forgiving soul.
I am proud... of YOU.
Copyright 1999

 Love, Sandy:)

©SandyWilloughby 1999-2002

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