Monday, March 28, 2011


Tonight I tucked in my one-year-old the same way I do every night: Goodnight Moon followed by a reading from her Baby's First Bible.  Then we pray, give "nose kisses", swap real kisses and a hug, and lay down for night-night.

I love every part of this routine, but my favorite part is the moment where we flip to the back of the Bible and read the verse printed over a picture of Jesus surrounded by children of all races.  Lily is fascinated by these little ones.  Even at this age she knows that they are like her.  Her chubby fingers trail over their eyes, noses, hands, feet.  She asks me questions about them - questions I can't yet understand.  I answer as best I can: "that's right; there's a baby like you." 

Inevitably, every night, her fingers wander over the children's faces and land on the face of Jesus.  They linger there.  I tell her: "that's Jesus."  She repeats after me: "Je-sus" in her baby-babble way. 

This has become so routine that I take it for granted.  Tonight, however, something made me pause.  I paid attention.  I realized... I am like this.  In my purest moments of wonder, when I really stand in awe of God, when I approach Him like a little child, I just sit and gaze at His face, His features, touching them, exploring.  This is what it means to be childlike.  This is what it means to be in awe.

My lens widens.  I see more of the frame.  I am sitting on His lap, a child again, but His lap is a throne and He is King.  King.  The thought has always intimidated me, put me off.  I do not want to approach Him when He is like this.  Too stuffy, too aloof, too authoritative.  In this state I can not wonder at Him, I must be on my best behavior, I must obey with my most sincere "yes sir".  When I see Him like this, I am afraid.

I look again.  Because I am a child I do not know to be intimidated.  My eyes sparkle, just like Lily's do when she runs her fingers over my face.  I smile as I discover, the world opening up to me in a whole new way.  I giggle as I watch Him smile in return.  King or no, He is my Father.  I am found in Him.  I am safe with Him.  This is home.

Linking up with Jen at Soli Deo Gloria this week.


I peer through a glass darkly
but hope finds its way in
I find myself looking inward
around, beneath, within
I love the vision before me
rainbows produced from light
I pause to reflect on refraction
enjoying the gift of sight

Monday, March 21, 2011

Stand in the Smallness

Last night I dragged my husband to see Limitless, the new Bradley Cooper movie.  I knew it would be bad (it was), but I also knew I wanted to see it.  I'm an external processer, and I had something to process.

For exactly one week my health had been deteriorating.  The unexplained syncopatic episodes were back, fatigue was worsening by the day, and my temper was on edge.  I had had breakthrough at church that morning, but I knew there was more to think through.

The movie delivered.  It affirmed what I had hoped it would: having the ability to live beyond limits would lead to a life I would never want.  (Spoiler alert: in the movie, Bradley Cooper becomes addicted to a drug that lets him access his entire brain.  He quickly amasses wealth and power, but only does so by becoming an addict, murdering many along the way, and making morally questionable choices - and I use the word 'questionable' generously.)

We all have limits.  I mean, it's sort of dumb to even say that - stating the obvious and all.  And yet, I find that most of us act as though we don't while outwardly making sure everyone knows that we do.  Call it false humility, self-defensive self-deprecation, or whatever name you choose, we'll often say things like, "I'm so weak" or "thank God He's for me because, without Him, ...".  Of course, part of us actually believes this, says these things from a place of sincerity, but another, uglier part doesn't.  If we did, we'd ask for help more.

I've been thinking about limits a lot lately.  And decay.  This may sound depressing, but I mean it in a hopeful way: life is a process of decay.  From the moment we are born, our bodies start falling apart.  "One step closer to Jesus," is what one of my friends laughingly says every time he feels the aches and pains of getting older.  There are many ways to think of this, of course....  You could think about how dead organisms create rich soil that produces nutrient-rich food, all through a process of decay.  That is how I am choosing to think about it right now.  I want my dead places to produce life someday.

This has become very real to me this week: I am not healthy and have no idea how to become so (yet - don't worry, dear readers, I haven't given up hope!).  In a word, I am limited

I can't play with my children as much as I want, go out with friends whenever I want (or barely ever, it seems), keep the house orderly and clean, give my husband any extra help he might need, write for hours and hours on end without pacing myself.

Whereas before it might not have been a good idea to do some of these things, now I simply can't.  My body won't let me.  It literally shuts down if I don't move slowly with lots of rest stops along the way through every day.  What thirty-three-year-old do you know that can't make it through an afternoon without a nap? 

(Again, this isn't about want or preference, this is about need.  If I ignore my limits, I physically stop functioning.)

As I embrace my limits, life gets simpler.  It's as if the walls of my world are closing in on me, in a good way.  My little sphere is smaller, better defined, so I can see it better.  Up close and personal.  Every detail in high relief as the Sun shines in.

I was talking to a friend earlier today.  Her grief and dismay made me very sad.  I love her and want so desperately to help her.  All I could think was: "you need to stand in the smallness of who you are."  Embrace your limits.  As you do, the unnecessary will fall away; what remains will be clear.  You will be better able to see.

I know this.  I'm not articulating very well right now, but this is a truth I am learning and a truth I have learned.  Asking for help is crucial; letting people see our frailty is key.  The weakness is our part of the picture - we need to leave the strength part up to Him.

The picture I have is of a young woman standing in a field of wildflowers on a sunny day.  Head bowed, arms stretched wide, sun streaming down.  She is acknowledging her limits, embracing humility in the deepest, most life-giving way.  There is a smile on her face.  There is no condemnation, only joy as she receives His love.

This is my hope for all of us.

How do you cope with the limits in your own life? 

Linking up with Jen and the ladies at Soli Deo Gloria today.

My New Normal

I walked breathlessly into the sanctuary after dropping our two children at Sunday School.  Thirty minutes late, I was anxious to catch any of the sermon - I knew I had no hope of hearing its entirety.  I found a seat with my husband and tried to center myself on God.  It had been a frustrating morning.  The previous week had been horrible with regard to my health, so my capacity - and temper - were extremely diminished.  Add to that a son in the midst of the "terrible three's" and, well, you get the picture.  We had all recovered well, but I was still reeling a bit.

I knew I was upset by much more than the hard interaction with my son.  The finality of Friday's appointment with my endocrinologist was just beginning to sink in: I suffer from adrenal insufficiency - it's official.  This condition only gets worse if left untreated and has no cure.  The best I can hope for is maintenance, barring a miracle from God Himself.  I will be on medicine for the rest of my life, and I will have to closely monitor my stress and overall wellness daily.

On top of that, my body needs constant help with regard to maintaining Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D levels, both necessary and important.  The Vitamin B seems to be critical; it, along with the hormones secreted by my adrenal glands, enables my body to maintain "essential life functions" (or so the websites tell me). 

Essential life functions? I think while the sermon plays in the backgroundAm I going to die?

Irrational, I berate myself, shaking my head.  Don't go there.  But then a more rational voice speaks: you need to go there, if only to be prepared.  You have children and a husband; you need to have a plan just in case.

 WHAT THE HELL?!? the other voice screams.  I'm thirty-three years old; it's not supposed to be like this. 

A phrase from a meeting my husband and I had with our priest when we were coming to grips with what it means for Justin to have epilepsy pops into my head: "This is your new normal.  You need to re-define your expectations for the go-forward."

At that time, my husband was twenty-nine, and I was thirty-one.  Our son was nine months old.  We were in the middle of four to five seizures a day with no end in sight.  The epilepsy had come on unexpectedly in October of 2008.  After months of survival-mode, we crashed our priest's office after one particularly challenging meeting with Justin's neurologist.  Denial was over: this was not going away, and we had to learn how to deal with it.  The grief was overwhelming.

So, here we are, two-and-a-half years forward but back in the same place: time to redefine our expectations, to evaluate the new normal.  Again.

Hmmm, my new new normal involves limits.  And being born again.  Something about cycles - their necessity and their life-giving, versus life-taking, properties.

These are the thoughts that have been perculating in the back of my mind, simmering with persistence against the louder, ebb-and-flow power of the flesh-based thoughts.  The ones that contain fear and lies and despair and self-pity.  It's interesting, therefore, given this internal battle, that the one phrase I registered from the tail-end of the sermon was: wouldn't it be amazing if we could all be born again?

I have no idea what the context was (other than: Nicodemus).  I wasn't there for the Daily Readings.  I could have heard more but was preoccupied with thoughts of my own mortality.  I didn't know it at the time, but something changed in the moment I paid attention to the Word of the Day.  It wasn't a lightning bolt, "aha" moment.  It was much simpler than that, much quieter.  Something like the whisper of a breeze speaking: "pay attention little one, pay attention."

During the Prayers of the People I asked God to heal me - that's when I knew something was different.  Tears streaming down my face I realized that was the first time I had actually prayed for healing.  I've been struggling with physical ailment my entire life, and with this particular, "enhanced" version for the better part of three-and-a-half years, and I had never "put pen to paper", as it were.  I had never asked for what I know is in His power to grant, if He so chooses.

As I spoke the prayer silently I knew that it came from a deep reservoir of peace, a pool deeper than the tumult of despair I more often live from.  Somewhere way down deep inside of me the Truth lives.  I actually, truly believe.  In that place, there is hope.  And on Sunday morning, I had access to that place.  With no real, good, practical reason, I chose hope over despair, healing over chronic illness, faith over doubt.  At the end of one of my worst week's yet.

Praise God.

I'm linking up with Michelle at Hear it on Sunday, use it on Monday.  Pop over and read some of the wonderful folks that gather here weekly.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I stopped reading for a while.  More than a while...five years.  I'm hoping that, in the big picture, that time span will be a blip on the screen.  I need it to be that insignificant because I feel guilty about it.

Guilty because reading is what will help me be a better writer.  Mad that I wasted time.  Frustrated over missed opportunity.  Jealous that others made forward progress while I stagnated.  Envious still because I see fruit in their lives whereas my roots are still digging down.

(These are dark thoughts that, ultimately, lead to no good thing.  Flesh be silent so that spirit can soar!)

I knew I was called to be a writer, but I avoided that call, ignoring it to pursue other thoughts (I cannot call them dreams).  I can remember many times when my conscious self subjugated the call, openly disobeying God when He spoke in His still, small voice:

I have called you to write.  So write.

It was a simple, clear Word.  I knew it to be true but I disobeyed.  Because I felt unworthy.  Because I had no direction (what to write, exactly?).  Because I didn't believe Him - that is the real reason.

All of my excuses - especially the ones mired in self-pity and self-loathing - boiled down to this Truth: I did not believe that He could make me in such a way.  I did not (and sometimes still do not, if I am honest) believe that I could actually get to live my dream, operate out of my heart.  That He could create me in such a way that is whole, good, complete - all of me lining up: inside, outside, head, heart.  Furthermore, could He really be that good, that loving - to give me what I really want?

Even now as I labor over my novel and continue to submit my picture books, I struggle with belief. 

Could this be real?  Could I really be called to this, or am I making it up?  Who in their right mind would care what I have to say?  And besides, "they" are all so much better at this than I am.  (Insert any number of names for "they", from fellow bloggers to well-known authors.)  I can't even stop myself from mixing my metaphors or completely screwing up my grammar.

The thoughts go on.  I know if you're reading this you can relate because what human can't?  We all are plagued by sin and flesh and un-Truth.  Even the most outwardly confident of us has doubts, fears.  Unfortunately.  I wish we didn't - I long for the Garden here on Earth.  Innocenct to the point where we don't recognize our own shame, our own nakedness.

But that is not our reality.  We live with regret, just as Adam and Eve did.  We live with longing for a more perfect place.  We live with striving, toiling in our labor.

And we also live with Hope.  Hope in the Calling, Hope in the answering, Hope in the journey.

I do not have a deep, Hope-filled way of fleshing out the above paragraph.  I have no illustration that will enforce my words.  It is a faith statement.  A choice to believe what I sometimes know to be True.

There is so much life in that choice.  Even now, it gives me peace and joy to choose, to engage, to believe.

I may have tried to run from His Word but I have chosen to come home to it, to Him.  I'm trying.  With everything I have.  That's the best I can do, and I know...that is good enough. 

Monday, March 14, 2011


This is a pencil drawing that hangs above my writing desk.  It was created by a woman in the 1930's, a part of the Depression-era support for artists.  My mother gave it to me a few years back.  I treasure it for many reasons.

First and foremost, her gift made me feel very known.  I have a thing about turtles - many people who know me know this.  But I also have a passion for art, for history, for women learning to walk in whom they are called to be.  This expression embodies all of these for me.  My mother knew it would be meaningful, so she gifted it.  That means more than the gift.

Secondly, it has a turtle.  But not just any turtle - a tiny, two-inch turtle suspended in air.  This image impacts me every time I behold it.  Turtles are utterly fragile creatures with their soft underbellies.  They are also incredibly strong and resilient.  Over the millenia, they have developed strong protective measures - a thick, outer shell as it were.  I can relate to that: soft on the inside but presenting a hard shell at first glance. 

To know me, to know my softness, you have to look more closely.  You have to make me feel safe so that you can approach me and flip me over.  You have to be still and patient to draw my head out once it has retreated.

In this picture the turtle is suspended, held gently between two fingers, utterly helpless.  It can do nothing but wait.  I often think: "those fingers could so easily crush the little thing."  Crush it.  I feel frightened even thinking of it.

But, she - the woman with the fingers - doesn't crush it.  She suspends it, raising it to a height it cannot know on its own, giving it a vantage point it would never achieve via a more solitary existence.  There are many ways to interpret this moment of cradling, but I choose to interpret it with hope.  In trust.  When I look on this image, I am reminded: trust me.

The still, small voice - the one belonging to the One who could crush me if He so chose - reminds me, calls me, to trust.  He is good and gentle and worthy.  I need not be afraid.  I am in good hands.

I'm linking up with Soli Deo Gloria today over at Jen's place.  Take a minute to stop by - you won't be sorry!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

"We all have a little apple on our breath."

Today's sermon was powerful in a subtle, sneaking-in-there kind of way.  Even as our priest spoke I kept thinking, "I wish this was being recorded."  I knew I would need to listen, digest, repeat several times before the wisdom he spoke would become a part of me.  I silently prayed, "please let that which I need to receive sink in and stay with me."  My brain was having a hard time keeping up with my hungry soul.

Among the several bits of wisdom that I recall, here is one particular part I am still digesting:

Priest to congregation: What are the three reasons Eve gave Adam to eat the fruit?* 

The congregation responds: (1) juicy/tasty; (2) pleasing to the eye; (3) it will make you like God.

"It will make you like God," Father Robbie repeats.  Obviously, we had hit on something. 

He continued: "I submit to you that all sin is an attempt to do just that: make ourselves like God."  He elaborated by giving several illustrations - some extreme to make a point and some simple so we could relate but all similar in this one aspect: when we sin, or disobey God, we are trying to remake the world in our image.  In other words, we think we know best and choose to follow our design, instead of the rules/boundaries/limits God set before us to obey/respect/follow. 

I know that I should insert an example from my own life here.  That would be the sermon thing to do - the well-written essay thing to do.  The problem is, I can't think of one.

I know how that sounds.  Between my last post and that sentence, I sound ridiculous.  It's not that I don't sin - far from it.  I certainly do, just like all of us, even the very best of us.  It's just that I'm so brain-dead, kid-tired after a Sunday full of church and laundry and cleaning and picnic in the park that I can think of nothing.  Not one thing that would make sense in this post.

But I'm writing anyway because I truly felt branded by the words our priest spoke later in the sermon:

We all have a little apple on our breath.

Robbie was speaking of Adam's response to God when asked "What have you done?"  Adam immediately blamed Eve and God (Genesis 3:12).  Then, when God turned His attention to Eve, she immediately blamed the serpent (Genesis 3:13).  As Father Robbie put it, "there's been a lot of bad theology that has come out of those two verses over the years.  So let me just clear it up here and now.  Both of those people - man and woman - knew God's command full-well and both chose to disobey it.  Passing the buck is a good attempt at righteousness, but, in the end, we all have a little apple on our breath."

Father Robbie went on:

"I submit to you, in this one, first sin, that the level of destruction wrought was massive.  We see in this interaction a myriad of broken relationships...God and humankind, humankind and humankind, the specific human relationship of husband and wife, humankind and all of creation.  Furthermore, arguably the worst sin of all - murder - was not far behind this moment in history.  How long did it take, how far were we from the Garden before the first murder entered human history?"

Several in the congregation whispered: "one generation."

"That's right," Robbie said, "one generation."  The power of sin.  It is pervasive and spreads quickly.

One on our like God....  These thoughts floated in my head like clouds in the sky as I sat and listened.  Occupying the same air space were thoughts of things I believe He's bringing up in my life right now:

What does it mean to allow oneself to recover?

I'm coming to the end of myself.  To whom will I turn from here?

Train of broken is time to begin the process of repentance and restoration.

I can't further elucidate these thoughts yet.  They are still wisping past, beyond reach in the sky called my half-conscious self.  I am still an observer, waiting for a form to appear in the white fluffiness above. 

But somehow, the words that were spoken today are relevant; I know it in my spirit.  If nothing else, I know I need to turn away from self as God and toward God as Lord in some specific ways, and soon.  There are relationships to be restored.  I also know that I have so little capacity, in mind, body, and spirit, that I can do nothing in my own strength alone.  I'm learning that in a much deeper, more real, more desperate way right now.  It almost feels trite to write about it here - it's that intense.

I'm linking up with Michelle at Graceful today for her "Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday" blog community.

*Everything written about Robbie's words today is a paraphrase, written to the best of my memory.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My thoughts on Lent and other ramblings

I hate Lent.

I really have to be honest about that.  This week I've received lots of emails encouraging me to "press in" during this season.  I've also read the blogs out there.  (This is NOT a dig on those honest, sincere pieces of encouragement coming my way - this is just a very real post about how I feel about it all.  Please hear my heart.)

I'm not entirely sure why I dislike this season so much.  I absolutely love operating in seasons (one of the things I like about the Episcopal church).  And I love Advent and Epiphany, both seasons of expectation now that I think about it.  I don't dislike Lent for the obvious reason - because it's a time of sacrifice, repentance, self-examination in the hard-look kind of way.  Nope, I think it's because it feels religious to me.  Out of all the seasons in the Church calendar, why do we practice this one together?  Why do we make a big tado about it?

So, the paradox...I enjoy, and I understand the need for, setting aside seasons to focus on certain aspects of walking with Christ.  I also get the need to walk in community, to celebrate together ("celebrate" in the liturgical sense of the word).  And yet I resist the pomp and circumstance surrounding the season of Lent.  I don't like talking about it at church or on blogs or in email.  It even felt weird yesterday when I took my kids to Ash Wednesday service for the first time.  It felt way too public, exposed.  I wanted to be in a dark room lit by candles alone yet somehow able to still hear the sermon and participate in the Liturgy.  And, if there were other people with me in this made-up room in my mind, I'd want them to exist in shadow, on the edge of my vision, not really seen.

Maybe it's because Christ's forty days in the desert feel like his most solitary.  Out of all other moments in His life and ministry, this is the time He withdrew the longest and walked the most alone (I'm not a Biblical scholar - this is just what I think to be accurate).  I need Lent to be inward.  I need it to be a season I walk alone.  On Easter, I want to come forth, reborn from the ashes of Ash Wednesday and my forty days, and share what I have learned, giving and receiving encouragement in the Body at that point, but not before.  Before, I need the process to be mine alone. 

I don't know if that's selfish, superior, or just plain wrong.  Honestly, I don't think my perspective or emotions on Lent need to be that big of a deal.  I'm only writing this because I wanted to put a different voice out there (exactly contrary to the paragraph I just wrote above...hmm, I am full of contradictions, aren't I?). 

I hope this doesn't offend anyone.  This is just one way I feel about one aspect of the faith.  It doesn't represent my complete Christian identity.

Other ramblings...

I'm well into Chapter Four of my first novel.  Thank you again to all who are praying for me as I write.  I have felt so much grace since my writing retreat - more than I've ever felt in my life.  I know it's because ya'll are praying and He is listening!  Thank you!

I've been reflecting a lot lately on debt.  Have any of you done Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University?  Thoughts?

I'm also thinking about what it means to keep giving when I have nothing left to give.  What it means to truly, deeply believe that God will live in that place of emptiness and give me what I need, take care of me, provide for me.  More on that later, I'm sure.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Today, I passed by a sign on my way home from having my car inspected.  I pass by this sign at least three or four times a day.  Normally, I just laugh to myself as I glance at it.  It’s a billboard-type sign on the outside of a neighborhood church’s building.  There’s always some catchy phrase trying to be relevant, trying to lure the masses inside the church’s doors.  I laugh cynically because I think how ridiculous, how cheesy.  But then again, I always read it, don’t I?  So I think to myself again: who am I to judge their efforts?  I have no idea whom they are reaching.

The cynical laughing continues, only this time it’s aimed at me.  Will my pride know no end?

So back to my point…today there were two words on the sign that stuck with me: Exodus 5.  I can see them in black and white even now, over twelve hours later.  It’s like the sunspots you can’t stop seeing if you stare directly into the sun.  Or like a neon sign flashing brightly in my mind: Exodus 5, Exodus 5, Exodus 5.  As I climbed into bed, I decided to take a hint and read the darn chapter.

It’s early in Moses and Aaron’s career.  They have heard the call of the Lord and do their best to obey.  Obedience equals confronting Pharaoh and asking for a day off for his slaves.  Through Aaron, Moses asks for three days to make a sacrifice to the Lord in the wilderness.  Pharaoh responds with an emphatic “no.”  In fact, Pharaoh punishes the Israelite slaves for A & M’s presumption.  At the end of the chapter, Moses cries out:

“Why have you brought all this trouble on your people, Lord?  Why did you send me?  Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people.  And you have done nothing to rescue them!”  (Exodus 5:21-23)

My first thought?  I can really relate to Moses.

I flipped over to my daily reading in Romans (I still don’t understand why God has me stuck in this book…I am definitely not getting it yet.).  I reread Romans 5 (for about the fiftieth time since the New Year began…what am I missing???). 

Suffer and you’ll be glad, yea, yea, yea.  Endure and you’ll find hope, yah-de-dah-de-dah.  And to conclude: don’t be bummed that you keep getting it wrong because Jesus got it right.  He, ultimately, is the reason for your hope.  (Obviously, the paraphrasing is mine.)

My thoughts?  I know, God, but it still doesn’t make the suffering any easier.  At this risk of sounding like a whiny Moses, what the heck is the point?  You tell my husband and I to walk down one path, and it does not – by any stretch of the imagination – come to fruition.  You promise things to us, year after year, and we see no fruit come from any of it.  Are we crazy?  Are we hearing you wrong?  Are we asking the wrong questions?

The kind of suffering I’m sitting in right now is not die-of-starvation-type suffering.  It’s barely worth mentioning when compared to the things I could be dealing with.  (Heck, it’s barely worth mentioning when compared to some of the things I recently have dealt with.  Oh, how easily we forget God’s goodness.)  And yet, my heart jumps to despair at the first sign of bad news, and my flesh cries out with Moses: Why…?!?  You called, I obeyed, and you have done nothing!

Whoa, the accusation puts a bad taste in my mouth.  Pride retreats while humility surfaces.  I cannot be that arrogant, even in despair.  Even when I really, really want to whine about how much this sucks, my faith rises up and takes over.  My soul speaks the Truth:

 I love the Lord.  He loves me.  He is good.  He has given me life abundant.  There are many good purposes, both for the here-and-now and for the future, seen and unseen.  I know this to be true.

In other words: fleshy side of me, shut up!

His still, small voice reminds me: “these are treasures in heaven.” 

I fight back the urge to retort: “I’d really appreciate some treasures on earth.”

The reality is that sometimes being a follower of Christ isn’t enough.  Even the solace of knowing the only One worth knowing doesn’t wholly satisfy.  I am left feeling empty, wondering if I will ever be full. 

Is this because Christ is not enough?  No – I respond with an emphatic no.  It is because I do not see enough.  “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.” (1 Corinthians 13:12, NLV)

Oh dear Lord, have mercy on me.  Crucify my flesh.  For even though I can see where suffering has produced perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope, I clearly need some more work done (Romans 5). 

This is the true meaning of “In The Becoming”; this is the true meaning of life…always seeking and never quite attaining, yet getting to a place of peace with that harsh reality, with the fact that I might never feel fully satisfied this side of heaven.  Being able to be at rest in the midst of a process to the point that I can engage it fully, even though I know full-well that my goal must bow to my path.  I might not get what I want.  I must lose myself with no intention of ever finding me again. 

That is hard.  I’m not sure I can do it. 

But I will keep trying because I’m a girl in the middle.  And more than that, I’m a woman in love.  This journey is for His glory, even when I so desperately want it to be for mine.  Again I cry: mercy, Lord, mercy.

Linking up with Soli Deo Gloria again today.   

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I had a breakthrough today.  I was working on chapter THREE (yippee!) when negative thoughts started to block my creative flow.  I had written a few lines that reminded me of other books I've read.  I quickly re-read my entire draft and saw elements of lots of stories I've read, seen, heard.  Star Wars here, Hunger Games there, and on and on.  I started to feel disappointed, frustrated, to give up.

But then another thought came...a thought about story.  It went something like this...

Of course elements of other stories are showing up in my writing.  These other stories are a part of me.  They've been poured into me over the years, and now they're starting to come out.  To not allow them to surface, to block them, would be tantamount to treason.  Blocking them from coming out would be the same as betraying myself.  Because, as each story element comes forth, it is no longer just a regurgitation of something I have read before.  It is also a part of me, mixed with my own experiences, beliefs, hopes, dreams.  And since it has me in it, it is a new, original piece of my story.  One that I can legitimately call my own with no shame or fear.

I need not fear the old being reused and recycled because, after all, there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

This transformation - taking something negative that would knock me off course and turning it into something positive, something useful that will move me further along toward my purpose - feels really good.  Like I'm maturing as an artist somehow (Artist's Way, anyone?).  I'm thankful for it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Writing Update Post Marfa

I don't have much to say - just that I'm so excited!!!  I'm well into chapter two, and I still like what I'm writing.  Thank God for an outline!!!  Seriously.  This is a new thing for me.  Normally I just write free-flow, letting whatever come out that's going to come out.  Well, I'm notorious for starting and not finishing.  After doing a lot of research on other writers and their processes, I figured out that I need to know the end before I start the beginning.  I need to know where I'm going with my story.  So, I spent most of last weekend on the outline.  And now the writing is so much easier!  It's flowing like crazy.  YEE-HAW!

Because I'm linking up with Soli Deo Gloria today, and because I believe it's true, I'll make a spiritual parallel. 

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith...."  Hebrews 12:2

It's so much easier to know which way to turn at a crossroads when we have the end destination in mind (GPS anyone?).  It's so much easier to know how to respond in the daily when we have eternity on our hearts (should I really yell at that guy on the road in a moment of road rage, or should I take a deep breath and ask God to bless him, knowing I need God's grace just as much as he does?).  It's so much easier to "love for the day is near" when we remember how much we are loved.

I know this sounds cheesy, but I want Jesus to be the backbone of my story.  I want Him to infuse every part of my outline, guiding and directing my story as it winds its way toward completion.  My goal and my method, let it be.

So, today, let us fix our eyes on Jesus.  Let us let Him infuse every part of our lives - the daily minutia and the big picture, meta narrative, end goal stuff.

Love to all and thank you SO MUCH for your prayers!