In September of 2003 I meet Marsha Marks, who is signing copies of her new book at Lifeway in Savannah, Georgia.
In we walk and there she sits, behind a table stacked with copies of her latest book, 101 Simple Lessons for Life. With impeccable posture, smiling from ear to ear, Marsha is a gorgeous blond. She sells books like a well-bred carnival barker. That’s an odd analogy, but it's the best I can do. Bear with me. Take a female carny, dress her in something modest-yet-stylish (lipstick and pearls a must), send her to charm school, put the love of Christ in her heart and a paperback in her hand, and you’ve got Marsha Marks at a book signing.
She engages us in conversation the moment we enter the store; my defenses drop immediately. She is disarming. Normally I would flee. Sales tactics/people make me nervous. I am shy. Please don’t talk to me, Aggressive Stranger. I'm also embarrassed for the poor salesperson, on whom I project the discomfort I would feel, were I her. But Marsha makes me laugh. I quietly confide that I have a book out recently as well, news she doesn't seem interested in hearing. You’re not trying to steal my spotlight, are you, Timid-Yet-Easily-Amused Stranger? I leave carrying a signed copy of her book and a scrap of paper inscribed with her e-mail address and two invitations: one to lunch, and another, to attend a Bible Study Fellowship introduction class. Perhaps she shows special interest, since my husband and I are fairly new believers.
I can’t offer enough thanks to God for directing me to Lifeway that day. Meeting Marsha proves to be one of the most profitable and momentous human encounters of my life. Although my new friend drops out of BSF almost immediately after getting me situated in the class (typical), God keeps me there and uses that ministry to provide an excellent biblical education. I serve as a leader for seven years, receiving countless hours of training. I lead group discussions, seminars, and even teach God’s word to our class of 150 women from time to time.
Over the years via countless e-mail messages, phone calls, artistic collaborations and coffee shop “business meetings,” God also uses Marsha in his refinement of me. For one thing, she teaches me to write. Sure, she gives me writing assignments so she won't have to listen to my various sagas as they unfold (smile, M); but in the end, I am taught how to write. Marsha's friendship is, on occasion, the only effective salve for my bleeding artists’ heart. We understand one another. We are prayer partners; we are friends. As an added benefit, we also happen to crack each other up.
It is my privilege to help my friend and mentor Marsha Marks celebrate and promote the release of her new e-book, 101 Amazing Things About God. And yes, I designed the cover.
As iron sharpens iron, so a (wo)man sharpens the countenance of (her) friend. ~ Proverbs 27:17