An author friend and mentor of mine, Marion Ueckermann, passed away two weeks ago, another victim of the Covid-19 pandemic. Her death was a shock for all who knew her and her absence is felt by many. For myself, I shall miss Marion's immense energy and inspiring creativity; she not only wrote hugely popular Christian fiction, but she also non-fiction devotions and poetry; she designed and produced book covers used by authors around the world; she could paint and crochet.
My last (Whatsapp) conversation with Marion was about my novel Given Lives She gave me advice on the best way to format it and then went on to tell me how she pleased she was that I was starting to write fiction. I showed her my book cover which I designed myself; she told me it was great, and she should know! And she was excited by my idea to develop a series of historical novels.
You may know Marion's name. She was one of the contributing authors in the devotional boxed set I participated in, In All Things. Each of us chose a different aspect to African living from which we drew inspiration. Marion wrote about the ocean and its surrounds.
One of her seven devotions was entitled 'Reflections in Pebbles' - you may have read it. It concluded with these words, quoting from Senator Robert F Kennedy - '"It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."
When David slew Goliath, he picked up five smooth stones and put them in the pocket of his shepherd's bag. Five...yet it took only one small stone to bring down the Philistine giant.
God has chosen you to be His pebble in the sea of humanity. What ripples of hope could emit from the splashes of your life? What giants could tumble from the impact of one small stone, one random act of kindness?'
As I read that, I was amazed. Had Marion been reading my notes?! I was in the middle of preparations for a message I was to preach at our local church. I had decided to tell people the basic story around which Given Lives is centred. I sat wondering how best to frame the story, how to make a four-hundred-year-old event relevant to them as they listened. And it occurred to me; those the story is about are just the same as those who hear of them.
They were ordinary people faced with a situation beyond their control, but a situation that needed addressing. Decisions had to be made, consequences suffered. Little would they think that four centuries later, those decisions would still be spoken of or their courage still admired.
And I got to thinking. How many of us, in our daily, ordinary lives, go about our business little thinking that one day our actions might inspire, or even change, others? It might not be today, it might not be tomorrow. It could even be years, decades or centuries later.
And that led me to think about pebbles and the ripples they leave when dropped into water. A large stone, when plopped with sufficient force into a lake or pond, can create ripples that spread out far beyond the point of impact. The smallest pebble, when wielded by the hand of an expert 'skimmer' can leave ten or twenty ripples in its wake.
I had the theme for my message. And I had a title for a series. Ripples Through Time. The small and the simple leaving an impact far beyond anything expected or imagined. The timelessness of our Heavenly Father and His eternal ways. The ordinary become extra-ordinary through the love and grace of Jesus.
And Marion provided the confirmation.
Given Lives is the first novel in the Ripples Through Time series. A series dedicated to Marion Ueckermann and her lasting impact on my life.
Did you miss out on getting a copy of In All Things when it was available on Kindle? This collection of 13 devotions written by 11 authors of Africa is still available as a paperback. You can order through my website here.
Help launch Given Lives, and the Ripples Through Time series...
I would love for as many people as possible to read the inspiring true story of Given Lives. I want the ripples of their lives to continue to spread and extend. For that to happen, I'm going to need a little help! Yours!
I want you to join my Book Launch Team.
What will you need to do?