Write from the Deep Places

Far down, under the ground many of us walk on day in and day out, are roads and buildings and the remnants of long-ago lives and loves. Underground cities, they’re called. I’ve visited the one in Seattle. Peered down through the dark and dust and imagined people, horses, carriages…life.

Under our feet.

In the deep.

I’ve been to other deep places, too, but these weren’t quick visits. Nor were they as entertaining as those old buildings and crumbling streets. These deep places are everywhere.

In us.

They’re the places we find ourselves in when life and faith meet struggle and uncertainty. The darkness where we wonder if we’ll ever see the light again. The soul deepness that rises from the core of who we are and wrestles our confidence and peace to the ground. Yes, I’ve been there. Am, in fact, there yet again even as I write this, perched as I am on a sit-down-but-don’t-stay-too-long chair in the Intermediate Care Unit. I’m watching my dad as he sleeps–this towering, redwood of my childhood who carried me when I was weary, who lifted me so high in child play I was sure I could touch God’s smile…who lived faith and truth every day, teaching and guiding me until I turned to the Lord he loved so dear and opened my heart to Him as well…who still stands tall as a octogenarian, so respected and enjoyed by those he’s encouraged and blessed…

Today, Dad is weary. Laid low by some rogue infection that I’ve decided to hate. And as I watch my dad cocooned in heated blankets, trailing the wires and cables feeding information to the monitors, I don’t know what will happen. Not two weeks ago I laughingly informed him he had to stick around for Don’s and my 50th anniversary. “You’ll only be 100, Dad,” I told him. “No sweat.”

The echo of our laughter that day ricochets around me in this deep place, this darkness of not knowing. And, like so many in our world, I want out. I want to be back in the light. Back on the mountaintop. Back where I can lift my face to the bright sun and revel in freedom and blessing and truth. But even as I long for escape, I know…

God is in the deep. His truth, His light…Him. He’s there, and it’s only in these places, these deep, often hard places, that I see Him clearly. That all the dogmas and preconceived ideas and arguments fall away empty, and I’m left murmuring with Paul, “I know nothing but Christ and Him crucified.”

That’s it. Christ. His sacrifice. His presence.

So why am I telling you all this? Because you are writers. And at some point, if it hasn’t happened already, you will understand. You will face your own deep places. Your own dark. And if you’re anything like I am…

You’ll want out.


And that’s okay. Go ahead and feel that way. But then…stay. Embrace the deep places. Rest in the One beside you. And let Him use that place to draw you deeper into Him. Into trust. Into truth.

Because when you do that, you will find something amazing. It’s in the deep that we find our truest story. The story that will permeate what we write and speak and teach. The story that will change us first, and then others. Because it’s from a place of deep truth.

If, like me, you’re in the deep right now, know this: you’re not alone. There are a lot of people there with you, even if you can’t see them. And while their particular deep places may differ from yours, you…we all share a Guide. And we can trust Him.

Every step of the way.

For writers in the deep, or those wanting to go deeper into God, there is a new haven: a podcast to care for your writer’s heart, and a website for encouragement, resources, and refreshment—all from writers, for writers. Come join us at

Leave a Comment

Not All Words Are Created Equal

Twice in the last few weeks something happened that got me thinking about how very careful we need to be when revising, either our own work or someone else’s. First, during a worship team practice, the leader changed the words of a song from “You give and take away,” referring …

Read More

The Power of a Single Word

According to various sources there are about one million words in the English language. Approximately 750,000 of them are technical or scientific. That leaves us with 250,000 words with which to communicate. But the Oxford English Dictionary Unabridged has only 170,000 words in it. And I doubt any of us …

Read More

The How-To of Legacy

Wonderful thoughts last week.  Thanks so much for sharing your experiences, honesty, and wisdom. Just one of the many reasons I so admire you folks. So here are my thoughts on this topic. As Connie Almony wrote, it’s not about the big things we do, it’s the small, everyday things. …

Read More

The Accidental Theologian

I’m stepping far outside my theological pay grade today so you will need to test and weigh the words of this post. After forty years of knowing Jesus, I find myself challenging my assumptions about many things on a regular basis, attempting to see myself as God sees me. What …

Read More

An Amazing Legacy

I just visited my younger brother and his family. Kirk and his wife, Lyn,  both went to Seattle Pacific University, so it was no surprise when Kirk shared a video made to honor Paul Lee, an SPU student killed in the campus shooting last year. What did surprise me was …

Read More

The Myth of God’s Goodness

I’m in the process of developing a program with a friend to minister to writers who are in deep places in their lives. I’ve been asking God to show me how to encourage and share His truth with those who feel lost, abandoned, worthless, like they’ve wasted their gifts…those who …

Read More

I Was Wrong

“I was wrong.” Three words that are really hard to say…especially in public. In the business community and the marketplace it takes courage to admit mistakes. A Famous “Oops” One of the most famous business mistakes came when Coca-Cola tried to retire the “old Coke” and release a “new Coke” …

Read More

Add Something Good for Lent

We are nearing the end of the annual season of Lent, a time from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, set aside to prepare and focus believer’s hearts and minds on the death and wonderful resurrection of Jesus. Some use this as a time to forego chocolate or some other pleasure, a sort of fasting …

Read More

Tools from the Front Lines of Life: Authenticity

Some things have happened in my life in the last few months that, were I to put them in a novel, readers would say, “That’s just not believable. No way all that happens to one person!” Yeah. Wouldn’t that be nice? But here’s the thing: Hard times, good times…struggles, peace…abundance, …

Read More