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Power of the Written Word

By Judith Victoria Hensley

Plain Thoughts

The first small story I ever wrote appeared on the “King Arthur’s Court” page of the Chicago Heights Star when I was in third grade with a byline. The paper had a huge circulation and every once in a while, they would run this children’s page open for teachers to submit their students’ writings for consideration. Because of that one small success, I began to write stories to entertain myself and my best friend.

As time passed, I never lost interest in the written word. The English words, “The pen is mightier than the sword” were first written by novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839, and almost two centuries later, I believe they still hold true.

I recently heard a young man say that one video clip, one Youtube post reaches more people than a book ever will. That might be true in the moment, but the power of the written word stands the test of time.

I am a story gatherer. I have felt a genuine calling on my life over the years to listen to the stories and voices of others and attempt to give them the same gift that was given to me as a child. There is something magical about a person seeing their words and their own name in print. It silently conveys to them that they have worth, their story is important, and their words are recorded for others to read long after their life has passed.

One of my friends from South Africa told me a story this spring about an African custom in some tribes called, “The Bride Price,” by which a young man would negotiate a price to pay the girl’s father if he wanted to marry her. A story grew in my heart and mind. It is a type of Cinderella story, but is also an allegory of God’s great love for His Son, and His Son’s great love for His bride, the church.

The book is in the hands of WestBow Press. Their timeline for all things related to the book would have made it available for the Christmas buying season. However, when things began to click, everything fell in place very quickly. I got to choose images and express ideas for the cover design. I got to make suggestions for the internal layout. I approved the work the company had done and in less than a month since I submitted my first files, the book is now available for purchase on the WestBow website and other places in paperback and e-book formats.

Believing that God is the one who imparts creativity and imagination to His children, I am convinced this story is one that was truly inspired. So, now that I’ve done my part, I can release the book into God’s hands and see what He will do with it. It will be interesting to see what direction this story takes.

As a writer, I’ve never seen much financial success from any one book or from the total of books I’ve had published. That has never been the point in me giving up large blocks of time to gather stories from people and get them in print. Each story recorded is one less lost over time.

Written words have the power to change lives, inspire dreams, give hope to the hopeless, and make people think more carefully about themselves and the world they live in.

With every newspaper column, short story, or book I’ve written that makes it into print, it is my greatest desire that the words on the pages will touch someone’s heart and make a lasting impression for good.