Meet the Writers – Gretchen Toler Debus

by Beth Richardson on April 21, 2015 · 0 comments

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Meet Gretchen Toler Debus, contributor in the March/April 2015 issue, “Brokenness.” Her poem, “The Offering” appears on page 29. To get a copy of this issue or to order a subscription to Alive Now, call 1.800.972.0433 or order online.

Alive Now: What inspired you to write the article or poem in the current issue?
Gretchen: I wrote ‘The Offering’ for a friend. No, I wrote it for me. Well, both.

On really bad days during a time of brokenness, I was comforted by the image of Artistic God painstakingly creating a new thing from the fragments. On really, really bad days, I could only hope that Recycling God would find me in the trash heap and think to Recycling Godself, ‘Hmmmm….this one might come in handy someday.’ As usual, God’s grace stretches beyond my timid expectations.

AN: Who or what inspires you?
G: Writing is a form of grace: prevenient inspiration justified in words and perfected in obsessive editing. What inspires me? No idea. Inspiration blows where it will into the most random, ordinary moments. Who inspires me? John Donne. Emily Dickinson. Isaac Watts. Henri Nouwen. James Agee. Mark Love.

AN: Who is your mentor?
G: My wonderful friend, Rev. Patsy Brundige, pastor, writer and encourager of writers.

AN: How did you meet Alive Now? What does it mean to you?
G: I first picked up a copy of Alive Now years ago and found the poem “Saturday” by Nancy Hightower. Her stark depiction of fear and doubt between the cross and resurrection totally blew away my understanding of Easter.

AN: Tell us what is going on in your work and ministry
G: Work=ministry. As a physician, I have the privilege of caring for what is fearfully and wonderfully made. It’s good work.

AN: What is your current passion?
G: Learning to sing in German.


Gretchen Toler Debus is an internal medicine physician from Dallas, Texas. She and her husband, John (also a physician) have two college kids, Ben and Sarah (in the photo above). They live with a couple of perpetually muddy terriers and an elderly rabbit. Gretchen is a member of Oak Lawn UMC in Dallas and enjoys singing, writing, reading, and daydreaming of a kitchen floor without paw prints.

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