MESSAGE ON REPEAT

I’ve spent the last week cleaning out and organizing files. These are veritable snapshots of my life and quite insightful.

I have come across over twenty years of letters my husband has written me. Sweet love notes that he would write when we both worked outside the home. Now I get a “hey..” holler from the other room. Romance must be fleeting. At least when you are together nearly 24/7. Maybe I should go find a Starbucks to work at so he has a chance to miss me again.

I’ve also read through nearly 30 years of journal entries. Fortunately for me I was never faithful with my journal writing as an adult so that didn’t take too long. I only wrote when I was extremely happy or extremely upset. Apparently, mundane me doesn’t journal.

In those journals (spread out over 47 notebooks) there was also  creative writing and poetry. Happy me never wrote spontaneous notebook poems but Ticked off me was quite the wordsmith. I kinda felt bad for the girl who was so mistreated and misunderstood. She apparently had it rough.

The creative writing was interesting. Children’s books I’ve since submitted to publishers, book ideas that I can work with, short stories, songs, chapters of fiction that made me cry even though they were fictional characters I created myself! I found skits I’d done in my classrooms and my library programs; I found pages that made no sense to me at all. I found one book I’d started writing in 1995! I’d hoped it would become a timeless coming-of-age classic one day but realized by sending my main character to Blockbuster, I completely dated the work! Who would have known?

Some of this work I’m impressed with; others are sheer garbage. I should save all of it but I’m trying to declutter. I’ve made files and some of my handwritten rough drafts will be in the file cabinet for safekeeping if the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators has a temporary museum on my work one day. (Kids, these are in the 2nd drawer down if my success occurs posthumously. The great ones are never appreciated in their own time.)

The rest will reside in a landfill somewhere until it disintegrates. Don’t feel bad for it; most of the rejected pages have already outlived my memories of writing it.

But the stuff that really grabs my attention are the notes on things the Lord has shown me. Words other people have given me, revelation from my studies and prayer life, discernment of my walk with Him.

And I see some of the same messages over and over again.

The main one is how excited I get in the Lord and I just take off like the Roadrunner with my feet spinning and kicking up dust. That’s not a bad thing but I tend to outrun, and eventually forget all about, Him. In my quest to serve Him. Ironic, isn’t it?

It is a message He has given me repeatedly.

Not so surprisingly, this is where I am right now.

I’ve got so many irons in the fire, excited about new opportunities, that I’m in danger of forgetting Who I’m doing all this for.

He understands and I know He loves my enthusiasm.

But He also loves ME and wants me to slow down and just spend time with Him.

I’m hoping that this time I can do it right…and maybe not see the same message over and over again the next time I organize files.

Like when they want to put my handwritten notes into a museum somewhere….

November Picks

This month’s MEDIA PICKS are all about Jeremy Camp, who I knew little about before now. And what a shame that was! He is incredible.

I had the opportunity to see an advance screening of his movie I Still Believe, from the same producers who made the story of Bart Millard’s life in I Can Only Imagine. It is every bit as powerful.

The movie trailer…

(Bonus: I’m a HUGE Britt Robertson fan from her short-lived series Life Unexpected.)

based on the 2013 book…

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named for the hit song…

 

about still believing in God after the death of a loved one.

I’ve been there, I know. You can run toward Him or away from Him.

Always choose toward Him.

I’ve always told people that the death of my daughter is the single hardest thing I’ve been through in my entire life. And trust me, I’ve been through A LOT. But there is something so unnatural about the death of a child that it just cuts through your heart.

Tomorrow I will attend the funeral of a dear friend’s grandson. The baby was my Kacey’s age, had barely begun to live when the Lord called him home.

I know all the wrong things not to say but what about the right things TO say? How do you come up with words that will comfort at a time when someone’s world has been torn in two?

My daughter has been gone for over 25 years and there’s still a seismic shift in my life, a chasm in which all events fall before or after her death. It is the emboldened marker in the timeline of my life.

Grief is no respector of persons; it affects us all at some point in our lives. Some find comfort in their faith while others question it. Some even fall from their faith, not understanding a God who would allow such things to happen.

I can’t tell them why this happened. I WON’T tell them the baby is in a better place (yes, it’s true but that statement infuriated me more than any other when well-meaning people tried to comfort me) or that God needed him more than they do (#2 on my list of things you don’t tell a grieving mother).

I will tell them that I understand. And I’m here.

And like Jeremy Camp said, I still believe….

GEAR UP: SACRIFICE

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It’s Sunday night! Time to gear up for a new week. As always, the best way to do that is to PUT ON THE ARMOR OF GOD (Ephesians 6:10-18) but we also will focus on ONE area to strengthen our walk with the Lord. Just one focus to help us grow a faith that cannot fade with the demands of life and the pressures of this world. This week we will focus on SACRIFICE!

 

Sacrifice is a hard thing. We grow accustomed to our “things”- our phones, our tablets, our midday snack, our morning coffee. We all have something we look forward to or even believe we can’t live without. These are the things we need to lay down the most because the only thing we should not be able to live without is Jesus.

Catholics do this act of sacrifice annually during Lent. They give up something that means a lot to them for the period between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, about six weeks. Even though I grew up in a Catholic school, I was raised Baptist, so I didn’t have to participate in Lent.

It’s too bad.

Because every now and then I have to lay something down temporarily because it has taken a place of importance in my life that hinders my relationship with God. It also helps me develop discipline, something that carries over into my spiritual and prayer life.

I’ve put down my Amazon Fire tablet, Coca-Cola, and television. (None permanently, just enough to see that I can live without it.)

This week pick ONE thing to sacrifice. A food, an activity, whatever…

When you find yourself struggling to stay away from that item, read your Bible or pray instead. That small victory you will find at the end of the week for having discipline and for having honored your commitment to God will be an immeasurable thrill that I guarantee will have better internal rewards than the item itself.