While writing my memoir, I tapped into a deep well of inner wisdom leading to compassion for myself and my family. I gained a new appreciation for my life path as the context for my spiritual journey, recognizing for the first time the gifts within the struggle. My heart opened to deeper expressions of love for my daughter, transforming our relationship.
I read this to my daughter and asked, “Is that true?”
She smiled and said, “Yes, it is.”
Warmed my heart.
My Author Self:
Linda A. Marshall, M.Div. is a contemplative writer who is passionate about sharing the lessons she learns and the wisdom she gains from persevering through life’s challenges. In her memoir, A Long Awakening to Grace, she imparts hope, strength, courage, and healing to her readers as she vulnerably discloses the trials she faced dealing with a rare genetic disease that went undiagnosed in her family for decades. She is known for her “heart-felt, vulnerable, courageous” writing that gives voice to feelings some find difficult to speak.
Linda A. Marshall, M.Div. wore several hats in her professional life: teacher, ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, retreat facilitator, chemical dependency family therapist, spiritual recovery group facilitator, Imago Relationship Therapist, relationship coach and trainer. In retirement, Linda has focused on contemplative writing. In 2017, she published a memoir, A Long Awakening to Grace. In 2013, she was a contributing author to Sophia’s Table: Women’s Wisdom in Five Voices. Several of her essays have been published in Story Circle Network anthologies. Her special-needs daughter lives with her in Dayton, Ohio where she reads widely and participates in spiritual growth and writing groups, contemplates life, and writes her reflections in her Emerging Grace blog at www.LindaAMarshall.com.
From an early age, Linda A. Marshall’s spiritual practice involved writing letters to the Divine in her journal.
Her first distinction as a writer came when her New Bremen, Ohio teachers selected her as the editor of the high school’s newspaper, The Crimson and Gold. While a student at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, her academic writing was praised for its clarity and the depth of her thinking. One of her academic papers was published in a University of Dayton academic journal, Explorations: Journal for Adventurous Thought. It gave her great pleasure to be thought of as an adventurous thinker.
After receiving a Master of Divinity degree with a specialization in spirituality and pastoral counseling in 1979, Marshall served as an Associate Pastor, a Living-in-Process Facilitator of spiritual recovery groups, a Family Therapist for those caught in the pain of addiction, an Imago Relationship Therapist for couples and families, and a Relationship Coach for couples and singles.
In 2001, Marshall was hired as the Director of Couples’ Programs by The Relationship Coaching Institute, a virtual organization. In that capacity she trained couples’ coaches from around the world via the internet and phone and edited a couples’ newsletter. She served for four years as Dayton’s Relationship Coach, writing a monthly column for Single Source News.
Before retiring fully in 2012, her professional path gave Marshall an appreciation for the indomitable spirit present in the midst of all people’s stories and struggles.
In retirement, Marshall reinvented herself as an author. Her memoir, A Long Awakening to Grace was published in 2017. In the process of writing it, a profound level of inner wisdom emerged from her pen as she came to understanding and compassion for herself and her family amidst the trials experienced during the twenty-two years her children’s baffling challenges remained a mystery. She describes her life path as one of continually emerging into acceptance of her humanity, especially the less-than-desirable parts of herself, while being challenged to evolve into expanded levels of consciousness and compassion.
Her first book, Sophia’s Table: Women’s Wisdom in Five Voices, a collaboration with four other women was published in 2013.
Marshall lives and writes in Centerville, a suburb of Dayton, Ohio. Her daughter’s health crisis resulted in a need to move in with her mother in June 2016. Together, they enjoy the antics of Kiko, her Siamese-mix cat and watching biographical movies and documentaries. A life-long learner dedicated to growing spiritually, Marshall enjoys participating in writing and spiritually-oriented groups.