Tuesday, May 24, 2011

God Pursues Us

But Jonah ran away from the LORD Jonah 1:3

I was so confused, so angry, so depressed.  Everything in my life had turned upside down.  For years, I’d worked to make my life better, but despite all I did, nothing changed.  Maybe they never would.

Having grown up in the church, I knew God was all-powerful, and all-knowing. So the disability threw me into a tailspin, spiritually.  “If you’re all-powerful, and all-knowing, why would You let this happen?  Why didn’t you prevent me from having a stroke?” I asked. It didn’t make any sense.  Instead, it made me angry. 

I pulled away from God.  Though I continued to attend church, I checked out mentally—unable to make myself listen to anything He might have to say to me.   Week after week, month after month.  The more time passed, the further I got from Him. 

But God didn’t let me go.  He used the height of the storm to make me return to Him, just as He did with Jonah.  Having hit bottom, both emotionally and spiritually, I nearly threw it all away.  And that scared me.  My faith was my lifeline.  If I let that go, I had nothing left. Risking potential ridicule or rejection, I talked to a close friend, sharing some emotions I’d locked deep inside that threatened to destroy me. 

Thankfully, she listened and showed that she cared.  Over and over, she was there for me.  She pointed me to others who took me further along the path of healing.  It was long road, full of twists and turns, but I took one step at a time. Over time, with the help of others, I reached the point where my relationship with God was restored. 

I had to make a choice.  I could’ve remained in my self-protective, isolating cocoon, avoiding potential disapproval from others.  It would’ve been the easy way out.  But I’d have missed the growth and healing God had for me.  I had to take a risk for God to work in me. In the process, He drew me back to Himself and showed me He’ll never let me go, even when I try to run away.  

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Surprising lessons at a conference

BRMCWC last week was my first conference and was fantastic.  I met more authors than I could have ever imagined and, in addition to all the wonderful information I learned, God revealed something even more significant.  He showed me that even my limitations, which often frustrate and embarass me, can teach me more about other people's character and compassion I'd never have known otherwise.

Far from looking down on  me for my struggles, editors and fellow conferees encouraged me to keep honing my craft, to better tell the story God has put inside me.  What a wonderful lesson to learn in addition to all the information I gleaned from others' expertise in the field of writing.  Thanks to all those who played such a role in my life.  

Friday, May 13, 2011


Just got home from a fantastic writers' conference in Ridgecrest, NC.  It was a great opportunity to meet fellow writers, learn from seasoned authors and speakers, and to worship the Lord we all work for.  Thanks to all the faculty who worked to make this such a wonderful experience.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Importance of Focus

Oftentimes, there's so much going on in our lives, it's easy to become overwhelmed.  Or focused on the negative things in life.  God convicted me of this a while ago through a letter.  To remember what He said, I wrote it in a devotion.

 The Importance of Focus
Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back. (Phil. 3:13-14 The Message)
I opened a quarterly e-mail today from my investment company. The first line really caught my attention, not because of its content, but rather its significance.
Don't let this 90-day report affect your long-term goals
“The first thing you'll look for when you open your quarterly statements is whether your investments are up or down. If you find a significant change in the value of your investments, it's going to mess with your head.”
I stopped right there. Wow! What a thought. How many times did I do that with other things in my life? The long commute to work, frequent interruptions, laundry that still hasn’t been done. Any of these can get me worked up. ‘

When I focus on those, they can mess with my head too. And inevitably I fail to notice the blessings God has given me—waking up in a comfortable home, having enough food to eat, and having family and friends who love me.

It’s not just the little things that can do that to us though. Occasionally life throws some real curve balls at us. It’s only natural, normal, and legitimate to become upset or worried. Some might wonder whether we were in touch with reality if we didn’t. Issues like serious health problems, threats of foreclosure, or never-ending family conflicts are significant problems. Surely we aren’t supposed to just ignore all this, are we? Of course not.

Paul lived through some horrendous experiences—shipwrecks, floggings, hunger and thirst for days on end. Yet, he persevered in his faith and service to God. So how did he do it? What was his secret? 

My guess is that it was his focus. Despite his circumstances, he kept his eye on what God had called him to, remembering what God had done for him in the past.

Yet, it’s so easy to forget all those things as we go about our days. Maybe we don’t actually forget. We just push them to the back of our minds as life happens. Perhaps that’s why it’s so important to keep going back to God throughout the day, so He can remind us of Who He is, and that He’s faithful to care for us as His children.