Sunday, June 4, 2023

The Writer’s Critical Choice

by Audrey Frank @AudreyCFrank

Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Ninevah, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord (Jonah 1:1-3).

Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord (Jonah 3:1-2).

…And the people of Nineveh believed God (v.5).

I did not want to share my words. They were mine. My own special place, my own hiding place. Since I can remember, I wrote words out long and lean, sometimes short and fat, always with a force that broke the lead again and again in the orange number two pencils Mom bought me to use for school. 

Where do all your pencils go? she’d ask.

It wasn’t until I left for college that she found the hundreds of yellow legal pads I’d stuffed under beds and high on closet shelves, full of words.

Writing was private. Not for others to see.

But that all changed when I moved to a village deep in the bush of Africa where most women could not read or write. They had no private hiding place to wrangle out their words.

One day as I sat under a baobab tree pounding out my hiding-place words, a shepherd girl named Kapili plopped down beside me. Shining from the heat of the day, she leaned back against the rough wood and closed her eyes.

Give me your words, Mama Chizi, she murmured.

I usually “gave my words” on Wednesdays when we had the children’s gathering around my big cowhide drum. Today wasn’t that day. It was my private time, just me and my words. They weren’t for other people, not even a child.

Hard heart, mine.

Come back Wednesday, I replied.

I need them today, she answered.

Begrudgingly (honest heart, mine), I began to tell her the story of another Shepherd, One who left the ninety-nine to go get the one He loved that was lost.

A nasty horsefly buzzed around my head and sunk its needle nose into my neck. I deserved it.

Jesus was a shepherd like me?

I almost missed her question.

Yes, He was. And He loves you so much He’d leave all your brothers and sisters just to go find you if you were lost out in the savannah.

I want to trust Him like you said last week, Mama Chizi. Can I?

Kapili believed that day. All because I shared my words.

Writer, we can flee and hide our words away, or we can arise and go, speaking the words of belief to those who need them. The truth is, God gives us words to share. They don’t really belong to us at all. 

What if the words you’re holding today are just what someone needs to believe God?

Lord, give me courage to rise and go, sharing the words You give. Amen.


Audrey Frank is an author, speaker, and storyteller. The stories she shares are brave and true. They give voice to those whose words are silenced by shame, the hard things in life that don’t make sense, and the losses that leave us wondering if we will survive. Audrey and her family have spent over twenty years living and working among different cultures and world views, and she has found that God’s story of redemption spans every geography and culture. He is the God of Instead, giving honor instead of shame, gladness instead of mourning, hope instead of despair. Although she has three different degrees in communication and intercultural studies, Audrey’s greatest credential is that she is known and loved by the One who made her.

Audrey is the author of Covered Glory: The Face of Honor and Shame in the Muslim World (Harvest House Publishers), an outpouring of Audrey’s heart to introduce others to the God of Instead. Shame is not unique to the developing world, the plight of the women behind veils, young girls trafficked across borders; shame is lurking in hearts everywhere. Through powerful stories from women around the world, Covered Glory illuminates the power of the Gospel to remove shame, giving honor instead. Available at favorite booksellers: BARNES & NOBLE , BOOKS A MILLION, AMAZON.

Featured Image: Photo by Angelina Litvin on Unsplash


  1. "Wow!" What a powerful post! Thank you, Audrey. This one is unforgettable!

  2. I agree, powerful! They hit me right where I live.

  3. When we least expect to be used, God us. Thank you.

  4. I spent many years keeping my writing private for those same reasons. Sharing makes us vulnerable, but sharing also opens doors we might never imagine. Thank you for telling this beautiful story to remind us what it's really all about.

  5. Such a powerful reminder that they aren't our words. They're His. Thank you Audrey.