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Chewed Up Pencil


I’m Expecting

Not long ago I had a love encounter,
intimate, but not sexual

My Creator planted a seed
within my soul

Pregnant with promise
the seed is beginning to grow

I feel life within me
budding, ready to burst into bloom

The formation takes time,
labor pains, pushing

The birth of a book
is not an end

It’s the beginning of
adjustments galore

Before it stands alone
for the world to read

© 2011, Arlene Knickerbocker

No doubt we all go through this process before we send our words out into the world, whether they are in written, spoken, or musical form. We must let ourselves by vulnerable. Our words will be judged, sometimes rejected.

For the past year or so, I’ve been working on a book entitled Handle with Care: Our Words can Change our World.

I usually write by assignment—I receive an invitation from a publisher, and they provide the subject and the marketing.

I believe this assignment came from God.

It all started after a friend told me how someone’s remarks had hurt her. My thoughts focused on how people toss word bombs around without realizing how much destruction they cause. The more I thought about people hurting one another with words, the more depressed I felt.

Then I started thinking about the unlimited positive power hidden within words. God can empower them so they accomplish more than we can imagine. I became excited with the impact words have and the potential that lies untapped.

I started using words to pray for those who have been hurt by words and those who threw those words. I forgave those who had hurt me and asked forgiveness for the times my words had hurt others.

Soon, my mind flooded with ideas, and I wanted to start writing. My desire was not to condemn, but to encourage. I struggled with which words to pick from the myriads of choices. Writing this book is not an easy task. It has already involved many hours of research and prayer. I have written, deleted, and rewritten hundreds of thousands of words.

God is showing me deep, life-changing truths. My prayer is that God will use the words of this book to draw readers into an intimate relationship with Him.

Years ago, I co-authored Circles of Blessing: Redemption in the Rainforest. Miracles happened that made me know God wanted me to write that book. When it was at proposal stage, I started to submit it to publishers—and received rejection after rejection. I prayed, “God I don’t understand. I know you assigned this book to me, and we’ve spent years writing it. Now I can’t market it.”

Soon after that prayer, a publisher called me. “Would you be willing to do some freelance editing for us?” he asked.

We talked a bit, and I learned that they published mission books. I asked him if he was open to a book proposal.

They published that book three months later.

Now Handle with Care is at proposal stage. So far, I haven’t found the right publisher or agent. I’m praying that God will guide my steps.

The first book I wrote with publication in mind was Family Construction: Building and Remodeling Homes so They Glorify God and Gratify Family Members. My husband Jerry and I taught its thirteen chapters in three churches. I submitted it to various publishers, and it never sold. However, fifteen years after we taught it, I received a note from one of the people who had sat in the classes. She thanked me for writing the material and credited it with helping her raise her children in a godly way. Also, I started to receive assignments for articles about subjects in the book. At least six articles and columns came almost directly from that book. I’ve spoken to several groups from that material. Now one chapter of Handle with Care is based on a chapter from that book. I believe God had a purpose for my writing Family Construction, and I may not fully know all it accomplished until I arrive in heaven.

If you’re working on a creative project of any kind, I pray that this blog will encourage you. I believe God is in control, and it is our responsibility (response ability) to follow His leading. He will work in and through us as we yield to Him. Following is another free-verse poem I wrote many years ago. I still feel the same.

A Willing Instrument

In the stillness ideas flood my mind.
I reach for an instrument to announce
and advance my plan.

Stubby, yellow pencil, you stand ready,
firm and sharp,
willing to sacrifice your innermost being.

Never offering arguments or excuses,
you move at my bidding,
leaving marks that change my world.

You inspire me to rest in God’s hand,
trusting His plan,
serving faithfully.

© 1999, Arlene Knickerbocker
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